Sears Executives Take Stock and Sell

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A handful of Sears, Roebuck and Co. executives have dumped $15.7 million in company stock since its merger with Kmart Holding Corp., Troy, MI, was announced last month, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune yesterday.

Sears' chief financial officer, general counsel and top personnel executives were among those who have sold the Hoffman Estates, IL-based retailer's stock, realizing total profit of $5.5 million, Thompson Financial told the newspaper.

Prior to the announced merger, top Sears executives had sold $2.58 million in stock during 2004. No company insiders have made open-market purchases of Sears stock since the deal was announced.

Stock trades such as these are common during a merger as employees who may lose their jobs choose to cash out. Another reason could be that Sears stock is back in the $50 range. As recently as Oct. 21, Sears stock traded at $33, down from $55 last December.

But these trades also could reflect a pessimistic view of Sears' future by the executives, an investment banker told the Tribune.

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