Seattle is Different. We’re Totally Immune.

Dow, Nasdaq, S&P500
Dow, Nasdaq, S&P500 - 02.27.2007
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Microsoft & Boeing
Microsoft & Boeing - 02.27.2007
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Update: By request, here is a graph of today’s stock performance for a handful of other locally-based companies.

Other Seattle-Area Companies
Seattle-Area Stocks - 02.27.2007
Click to enlarge

For those of you keeping score at home:

  • Boeing: -1.95%
  • Microsoft: -4.12%
  • Amazon: -5.00%
  • Starbucks: -3.94%
  • Nordstrom: -7.59%
  • Costco: -3.48%
  • Washington Mutual: -2.25%

Some immunity.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Kaleetan says:

    What a silly business model…these companies actually think people will buy computers and fly in the future.

  2. 2
    MisterBubble says:

    Correction: they think that people will buy these things from them.

    Both assumptions are dubious.

  3. 3
    Ouch! says:

    I mentioned to my husband last week that our hometown hero, Mr. Gates, had sold a lot of MSFT lately.
    What luck that he sold before the big crash, I mean, correction.

  4. 4
    Eleua says:

    If China is up in a big way over the past year, there is still quite a bit of potential energy in their market. This could get interesting.

  5. 5
    The Tim says:

    RE: Gates selling MSFT

    Holy crap!

    He’s sold 15 million shares, for a total cash-out of over $4.375 billion, all in just the last three weeks?

    I’m no financial analyst, but that sure doesn’t seem like the actions of a man with a strong confidence in the future performance of the company.

  6. 6
    Eleua says:

    Vista is a bomb and everyone except the entire memory manufacturing food chain knows it.

    In three weeks, we won’t be talking about today’s action. There is a lot of excitement dead ahead.

    Stay strong. Stay short. Stay solvent.

  7. 7
    Bubble says:


    Can you double-check your figure of $4.375 billion? According to my calculation, from 6-Feb-07 to 22-Feb-07, he sold a total of $437,556,000. It seems that your sum is off by one digit, even though your total number of shares is correct. 15 million shares x (approx $29 / share) = $435,000,000.


  8. 8
    Pegasus says:

    He who panics first panics best.

    An old Wall Street adage that may soon apply to the real estate market.

    I am told the credit crunch is starting to spread beyond the 30 percent hit that the subprime market took in the last three months. Spreading now to mortgages above subprime. If that continues and the “predicted” recession arrives shortly, there will be blood in the streets beyond the stock market. There is nothing better to expose the frauds than a declining real estate market.


  9. 9
    WTF says:

    Gates also sold $531,159,000.00 worth of stock in the first half of November. I wouldn’t read “too much” into him selling off a big chunk of stock. Wish I had that problem.

  10. 10
    WTF says:

    P.S – that’s from the same link that The Tim had provided

  11. 11
    The Tim says:


    You’re right. I copied it into Excel, and the superscript ‘2’ was tacked onto the end of every dollar amount. Whoops.

    Still, $437 million? Why?

  12. 12
    Richard says:

    When Microsoft announced their big stock repurchase plans last year I had to wonder if it was at least partially motivated by a desire to allow certain employees and shareholders a cash out opportunity.

    Cash is really the only thing MSFT has going for it these days. Innovative products that increase revenues and market share are in short supply. The only “hit” they’ve had lately is the X-Box & 360- and while that helped market share, it’s not exactly a revenue driver.

    Tim – no chart for AMZN? They also took a 5% haircut today.

  13. 13
    WTF says:


    Because he can.

    Gates actually looks pretty consistent:
    May 2005 – 20 million
    July 2005 – 9 million
    August 2005 – 12 million
    November 2005 – 20 million
    February 2006 – 20 million
    July/August 2006 – 20 million
    November 2006 – 20 million
    February 2007 – 15 million

    I’m just saying that I wouldn’t read too much into Gates selling shares. He have been doing this routinely despite the economic climate.

  14. 14
    WTF says:

    *have = has

    I don’t want to come off as totally illiterate.

  15. 15
    The Tim says:

    Fair enough, but still, if the numbers you just posted are the entirety of his sales since May ’05, he has sold over three times as many shares (by dollar amount) in just the last three weeks than he did in the entire prior 21 months.

  16. 16
    T,V & Mr.B says:

    Hey, I noticed Jubek stated earlier this week that he had heard rumors that Wamu was possibly gonna be bought, by… damn it I forgot who it was….and that is why he isn’t shorting it. I wonder how many jobs will be relocated,lost…oh yeah, it was JP Morgan. Don’t think they will hold onto the home loan division.

  17. 17
    WTF says:

    May 2005 – $501,695,000
    July/August 2005 – $552,697,933
    November 2005 – $542,300,000
    February 2006 – $539,207,000
    July/August 2006 – $484,631,950
    November 2006 – $580,944,000
    February 2007 – $437,556,000

  18. 18
    WTF says:

    The guy can’t be more consistent…he only missed selling in May 2006.

  19. 19
    The Tim says:

    Ok, fair enough. I still can’t help but wonder why he’s selling that much stock, consistently or not.

  20. 20
    WTF says:

    Yeah, I don’t know. I guess if you’re worth $40+ billion, this is part of your financial strategy.

  21. 21
    SourMash says:

    Ok, fair enough. I still can’t help but wonder why he’s selling that much stock, consistently or not.


    You’re focusing on the value of the shares. Gates doesn’t care about the fluctuations in the market because he clearly is selling off over time. Like wtf pointed out, if you look at the number of shares, it looks pretty consistent. Dull, drab, consistent diversification.

    Not that it matters, really. What Gates does with his money is hardly an economic indicator. It’s one man’s portfolio.

  22. 22
    WTF says:

    It might be more interesting to look at the other insiders….see if they have a “bump” in their sales recently.

  23. 23
    T,V & Mr.B says:

    Just curious, but how many of you are doing all this on a PC or Mac?

  24. 24
    WTF says:

    For all non-GATES WILLIAM H III insider sales of stock…survey says:

    March 2005 – 664,444 – $16,931,000
    May/June 2005 – 648,004 – $16,340,624
    August/September 2005 – 273,052 – $7,364,853
    November 2005 – 2,886,437 – $79,537,781
    Jan/Feb/Mar 2006 – 895,674 – $24,165,350
    July/August 2006 – 100,000 – $2,425,200
    Nov/Dec 2006 – 648,820 – $18,940,283
    February 2007 – 0 – $0

    I don’t see anything telling in this data, other than a big dump in November of ’05 – they launched Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006 at that time…did those tank?

  25. 25
    Alan says:

    Maybe Bill is planning to buy a new house in Seattle and needs the extra cash.


  26. 26
    WTF says:


  27. 27
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    You guys realize MS makes more than operating systems, right? ;)

  28. 28
    WTF says:

    They make Twinkies(r) right?

  29. 29
    Chris says:

    You guys need to realize that Gates’ sales are:

    1. Immaterial to the overall market cap of MSFT

    2. Immaterial to his net worth, estimated at $80B.

    3. He still owns 999,499 MILLION shares (worth $27.8B), so these sales are also immaterial to his total MSFT holdings.

    Any inside traders have to file a plan with the SEC in which they declare, in advance, the planned sales of securities in which they are considered to be insiders.

    This is very common for large owners of most publicly traded companies. Its in their best interest to diversify their holdings.

    For refererence, look at what the Google guys have sold. Their liquidations of shares far surpass Gates’.

    I guess we would all like to see high inside owners that never sell, like Buffett, but he’s a rare breed.

  30. 30
    WTF says:

    None of the insiders, including Gates, are exhibiting any Martha Stewart tendencies regarding selling shares…

    Be interesting to see what develops in the market in the next few days.

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