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Amazon Executives Shed Shares

Five insiders dump some $17.7 million worth of their shares.

Updated from 7:13 p.m. EDT


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insiders sold off some $17.7 million worth of their shares in the company in the past two days, the biggest burst of insider selling the company has seen this year.

CFO Tom Szkutak and seven other officers -- including senior vice presidents Jeffrey Wilke, Diego Piacentini, Jeffrey Holden, Michelle Wilson, Jason Kilar and Richard Dalzell, as well as director Tom Alberg -- unloaded a total of 394,729 shares in the past two days, according to the company's filings with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

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. Those shares are equal to 0.13% of Amazon's float.

CEO Jeff Bezos didn't join the insider sellers, but he did donate 6,300 shares to nonprofit organizations this month -- a charitable impulse that apparently wasn't shared by his underlings.

As of last December, Amazon's directors and executive officers controlled 106 million shares of Amazon's stock, or a 25.7% stake in the company, according to the company's Proxy statement. But Bezos owned 101 million of them. The non-Bezos insiders held 4.5 million Amazon shares.

The number of shares sold in the past two days is equal to 9% of that 4.5 million figure, but likely includes some stock options exercised since December.

The biggest stake was sold by Dalzell, who sold $6.3 million in stock received from executive stock options. Dalzell, who is Amazon's chief information officer, also received a salary of $212,000 last year. Following him was Deigo Piacentini, who oversees worldwide sales. Piacentini, who took in $675,000 in salary and bonus last year, sold $5 million worth of stock.

Insider selling can be seen as a sign that executives see tough times ahead, or it can simply come from pent-up selling after a company pulls out of a rough patch. Amazon recently halted a streak of disappointing earnings that pushed down its stock, posting a

strong second-quarter report late last month.