FTSE 350 directors sell £10m of shares on Brexit bounce

Jake Cordell
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More than £10m of shares were sold by FTSE 350 directors in the past few weeks
More than £10m of shares were sold by FTSE 350 directors in the past few weeks (Source: Getty)

The bosses of the UK's largest listed firms may be losing confidence in the post-Brexit stock market rally, according to fresh data on insider dealing.

Directors at FTSE 350 firms sold £10.5m worth of shares in their own companies in the final days of July and first weeks of August, according to financial data firm Olivetree - cashing in on a 16 per cent rally across the index.

The sell-off marks a reversal of the trend which took hold immediately after the referendum, where board members at the UK's top firms snapped up a net £14.3m worth of stocks in their own firms as share prices plummeted in late June.

Between the end of July and mid-August only £1.6m of shares were bought by company directors, resulting in a net sell-off of around £9m.

The biggest disposal came from Edward Bonham Carter, vice chairman at Jupiter Fund Management, who offloaded £4.2m worth of shares. Shares in Jupiter dropped by 26 per cent in the week after the UK voted to leave the EU, but have since recorded to pre-referendum levels.

Bella Brandon, a strategist at Olivetree, said: "[We are] starting to notice a few director sells creeping into the FTSE now, as the FTSE 350, in sterling terms, nears all-time highs ... It's clearly a very different picture from before."

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The chairman of FTSE 250 equipment rental firm, Ashtead Group, also sold £300,000 worth of shares in his first ever disposal, with shares standing at an all-time high of £12.31, up by more than one-fifth over the last year.

The FTSE 100 has hit 14-month highs in recent weeks off the back of the sharp depreciation in the value of sterling. Since around four-fifths of all earnings on the index come from outside the UK, many companies' bottom lines have been buoyed by the weaker pound. The FTSE 250 has also recovered to its pre-referendum levels despite its heavier exposure to the UK economy.

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