Mon. 8 Aug 2022, 11:51am ET Benzinga News, Insider Trades, Top Stories, Trading Ideas

The CEO of the largest asset management company in the world recently sold a large number of shares. Could the sale be a foreshadowing of what’s to come in the markets?

What Happened: BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK) CEO Laurence Fink sold 44,500 shares of the company Aug. 5 at a price of $684.61 each. The sale was valued at $30.5 million, according to Benzinga’s insider transactions page.

After the sale, Fink owns 563,771 shares of BlackRock. Fink’s stake is valued at $393.8 million based on the Monday share price. Fink is worth $1.2 billion according to Benzinga’s research.

The recent sale by Fink is the largest reported sale by Fink by dollar amount in years and marks the largest sale by number of shares since early 2020.

Fink sold BlackRock shares in February, May, October and December of 2021. The sales were worth $20 million, $30 million, $25.3 million and $15.1 million respectively.

The BlackRock CEO and co-founder was granted shares of BlackRock in January and February 2022 prior to the sale.

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Why It’s Important: The transactions show that Fink regularly sells shares of BlackRock every year with transactions typically occurring every quarter.

The sale being potentially the largest by dollar amount by Fink and the largest since early 2020 could signal some alarm bells as it comes from the CEO of the world’s largest asset manager.

BlackRock manages $10 trillion in assets and could have one of the best insights into the global markets and what’s happening. With talk of a recession picking up in the U.S., Fink’s sale could come ahead of another leg down for the market.

Fink placed two large sales of 46,700 shares ($25.1 million) and 44,300 shares ($25.1 million) in January and February 2020, respectively. Both sales came before the market saw a large decline from the concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed at $321.73 and $338.34 on Jan. 31, 2020 and Feb. 19, 2020. Two months later, the SPY closed at $222.95 on March 23, 2020, down 31% from Fink’s first sale.

While insiders are allowed to sell stock and it could be done for a number of reasons, including for tax purposes, Fink’s sale could also be a sign of more weakness ahead for the markets.

BlackRock President Robert Kapito sold 37,600 shares of BlackRock on July 25 worth $23.8 million. BlackRock's insider transactions in 2022 have primarily been sales.