Big Insider Stock Buys at Microsoft, Lowe’s, and Walmart

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Insiders at Microsoft, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Keurig Dr Pepper recently made million-dollar stock purchases.

Gerard Julien/AFP via Getty Images

As the stock market rose to record levels in recent weeks, insiders at some large companies have made large purchases of stock.

Directors at


(ticker: MSFT), Lowe’s (LOW), and


(WMT), and an executive at

Keurig Dr Pepper

(KDP) have made million-dollar open-market purchases of stock. For all of them, it was their first stock purchases as company insiders on the open market.

Emma Walmsley
paid $1 million on March 10 for 4,300 Microsoft shares, an average per-share price of $236.80. She now owns 5,026 shares of the software giant, according to a form she filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Walmsley, the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), joined Microsoft’s board in December 2019.

Microsoft stock has gained 3.6% year to date, compared with the 4.2% rise in the

S&P 500 index,

a broad measure of the market. Microsoft’s earnings have been strong. Earlier this month, an analyst wrote an upbeat report about the shares.

Walmsley declined to comment on her recent purchase of Microsoft stock beyond the filing.

David Batchelder paid $1 million for 6,250 Lowe’s shares on Feb. 26, a per-share average price of $159.48. He made the purchases through a trust that now owns 28,250 shares of the home-improvement retailer.

Batchelder, a Lowe’s director since 2018, was a founder, principal, and member of the investment committee at Relational Investor. Lowe’s didn’t respond to a request to make him available for comment on his stock purchase.

Lowe’s stock has risen 11.8% so far in 2021. Shares have performed well during the coronavirus pandemic, and at least one analyst thinks Lowe’s stock can rise as the economy reopens. A housing recovery looks set to benefit the retailer as well.

Randall Stephenson
 joined Walmart’s board, effective March 3. Less than a week later, on March 8, he paid $1 million for 7,725 shares of the retailing giant, a per-share average price of $129.63.

Walmart didn’t respond to a request to make Stephenson, a former chairman and CEO of AT&T (T), available for comment on his stock purchase.

Walmart stock has slipped 8.6% so far in 2021. Mixed fourth-quarter earnings, reported in February, sent shares sliding. We’ve noted that Walmart could make a big splash in banking soon.

Justin Whitmore joined Keurig Dr Pepper effective March 1 as chief strategy officer. Two weeks later, on March 15, Whitmore paid $1.2 million for 37,384 shares of the beverage company, an average price of $33.30 each.

Keurig Dr Pepper didn’t respond to a request to make Whitmore available for comment on his stock purchase.

Shares have gained 6.7% so far in 2021. After a mixed fourth-quarter report in January, Keurig Dr Pepper CEO
Robert Gamgort
pointed to the company’s “strong market execution across our entire portfolio.” Earlier this month, an analyst downgraded Keurig Dr Pepper stock to Equal Weight from Overweight, and wrote that the valuation was “no longer compelling.”

Inside Scoop is a regular Barron’s feature covering stock transactions by corporate executives and board members—so-called insiders—as well as large shareholders, politicians, and other prominent figures. Due to their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.

Write to Ed Lin at [email protected] and follow @BarronsEdLin.

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