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Execs divesting in weak market

Cisco, Gateway, and Oracle executives plan to sell a number of their shares at a time when their firms' stocks have been flat for weeks.

Cisco chief executive John Chambers and several Cisco directors have filed plans to sell a sizable number of their shares in the company, at a time when its stock has been flat for weeks.

The executives were among a host of corporate insiders who have filed plans to divest this month, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

Chambers, whose company is among the tech stock bellwethers, has filed to sell 390,000 shares with a value of $38.5 million, according to the regulatory filings. His planned sale represents 32 percent of his holdings, according the company's latest proxy statement. The CEO still has 1.4 million options--outside of his current holdings--that have yet to vest.

Cisco stock, which climbed from around $75 a share in early June to peak at a 52-week high of $104.50 in mid-July, since has dropped to the mid-90s range--where it has hovered for the past several weeks.

Other Cisco insiders who plan to sell include directors Robert Puette, with 30,000 shares valued at $2.97 million; Selby Wellman, with 54,532 shares valued at nearly $4.3 million; and Steven West, with 22,500 shares valued at $2.23 million.

"I think, prior to this selling, Cisco's insiders have been fairly reluctant to part with their shares," said Craig Columbus, an insider analyst with Disclosure. "There hasn't been this level of selling since February or March.

Meanwhile, Gateway chairman and CEO Ted Waitt has filed to sell 375,000 of his shares in the company, which are valued at $20.5 million. Waitt, who still had 605,00 unvested options when the company filed its 1997 proxy, plans to sell at a time when Gateway's share price has fallen from around 65 in mid-July to close at 56.6875 today, down 0.4375.

Also, Oracle's Robert Shaw, vice president of the database company's worldwide consulting and vertical markets, plans to sell 83,200 shares valued at $2.2 million. His sale comes as the stock has been fairly flat--since May--closing at 23.8125 today, down 0.6875.