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Bezos just sold billions of Amazon shares. This doesn’t mean you should sell too.

Published: February 12, 2024 at 3:43 p.m. ET

Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos sold $2 billion worth of shares of the e-commerce giant last week, but that doesn’t mean investors should join him in selling.

Bezos, currently the company’s executive chairman, sold nearly 12 million shares of Amazon AMZN at an average price just north of $170 in a series of trades on Wednesday and Thursday. The sales, which were disclosed in a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, were its first since it sold 60 million shares in 2021.

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Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos sold $2 billion worth of shares of the e-commerce giant last week, but that doesn’t mean investors should join him in selling.

Bezos, currently executive chairman of the company, sold nearly 12 million Amazon shares

AMZN

at an average price just north of $170 in a series of trades made on Wednesday and Thursday. The sales, which were disclosed in a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, were its first since it sold 60 million shares in 2021.

More sales could be on the way, said Ben Silverman, vice president of research at VerityData, as Bezos recently adopted a new trading plan that allows him to sell up to 50 million shares by end of January 2025. The latest sale of 12 million shares is part of this 10b5-1 plan, which was put in place to trigger sales under certain predetermined conditions.

The business plan mandated a 90-day cooling-off period after it was signed into law, according to Silverman, and Bezos’ sales last week began the day that window expired.

“Bezos typically focuses his activity over multiple days instead of engaging in weekly or monthly sales, so we expect more sales in the short term,” Silverman wrote in a recent report.

The stock was down 1.3% Monday afternoon.

See also: Nvidia is now worth more than Amazon as its shares continue to soar

Amazon shares are trading about 8% below their July 2021 high, and Silverman noted that Bezos’ latest sales came at the highest price he has ever sold shares at, after adjusting for account for stock splits.

Investors sometimes view stock sales by executives or board members, even those made as part of trading plans, as signs that the insider is making an valuation. But Silverman noted that Bezos’ past selling moves “have not been good predictors” of Amazon’s stock performance.

While Bezos has been reluctant to sell shares in 2022 and 2023, Silverman noted that he has donated 14.6 million shares to nonprofits since his last stock sale in November 2021. The most recent donations were made in November 2023, based on a review of public records from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bezos continues to own more than $168 billion in Amazon stock based on current prices.

Amazon declined to comment on the latest stock sales.

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