Jeff Bezos’ $4 billion stock sale doesn’t signal the end of the tech market rally

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Jeff Bezos is back on the market. For the first time since late 2021, Amazon’s founder and executive chairman is selling shares of the company, adding billions of dollars to his net worth.

So far this month, Bezos has offloaded about $4 billion in stock. But the sudden sale doesn’t mean a vote of no confidence in the future value of Amazon’s stock.

True, rising stock prices are prompting executives to sell more tech stocks after a quiet couple of years. In October, Apple CEO Tim Cook made the largest stock sale in two years. A month later, Mark Zuckerberg sold Meta shares worth about $400 million. Since December, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has sold shares five times.

But if you look at transactions based on the number of shares sold rather than their dollar value, they appear more conventional. Take the Bezos sale. The filings show that it plans to sell up to 50 million Amazon shares by February 2025. At today’s price, that would equate to about $8.5 billion.

Bezos has made bigger sales than this in the past. In 2020, the year after the divorce, he sold 80 million shares. Note, too, that this year’s sales are part of planned sales, known as 10b5-1 plans, rather than knee-jerk reactions to market highs.

What has changed is Amazon’s market value, which has doubled since the end of 2022. Sales also stand out because 2022 and 2023 were so quiet. Amid a sell-off in tech stocks, company insiders sold less than $11 billion in tech stocks in 2022, less than a third of the total sold the previous year, according to data from Verity, which tracks stocks. filed practices.

Super salespeople, executives at big tech companies who receive much of their pay in the form of stock, have led the change. Bezos has decided to stop selling stocks for the first time in ten years. The exception was Elon Musk, who made large sales of Tesla stock to finance his purchase of Twitter.

Massive cost-cutting efforts, a pause on interest rate hikes and excitement over the potential gains from artificial intelligence have prompted a recovery in the sector’s stock prices. A better way to gauge how long insiders think it will last might be to look at any changes in their holdings in these companies.

Bezos has cut his share year after year. The latest stock sale produced no notable changes. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang sold shares last September for the first time in over a year after exercising options. But his stake in the company has changed little in the past five years. Both remain the largest individual investors in their companies.

All of this should give other shareholders confidence that these share sales do not signal a market top.

The Lex team produces timely commentary on capital trends and big businesses. We’d love to hear more from readers. Please tell us what you think in the comments section below or via email

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