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The Profits to Insider Trading: A Performance-Evaluation Perspective

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Author Info

  • Leslie A. Jeng
  • Andrew Metrick
  • Richard Zeckhauser

Abstract

This paper estimates the profits to insiders when they trade their company's stock. We construct a rolling "purchase portfolio" that holds all shares purchased by insiders over the previous year and an analogous "sale portfolio" that holds all shares sold by insiders over the previous year. We then analyze the returns to these value-weighted portfolios using performance-evaluation methods. This approach allows us to study the returns to insider transactions beginning on the day after their execution, and is free of the statistical difficulties that plague event studies on long-horizon returns. Using a comprehensive sample of reported insider transactions from 1975-1996, we find that the purchase portfolio earns abnormal returns of about 40 basis points per month, with about one-sixth of these abnormal returns accruing within the first five days after the initial transaction, and one-third within the first month. The sale portfolio does not earn abnormal returns. Our portfolio-based approach also allows for straightforward decompositions of the purchase and sale portfolios by various characteristics. We find that the abnormal returns to insider trades in small firms are not significantly different from those in large firms, and that top executives do not earn higher abnormal returns than do other insiders.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1858.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1858

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References

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  1. Conrad, Jennifer S & Hameed, Allaudeen & Niden, Cathy, 1994. " Volume and Autocovariances in Short-Horizon Individual Security Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1305-29, September.
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  3. Lakonishok, Josef & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. " Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1541-78, December.
  4. Barclay, Michael J. & Warner, Jerold B., 1993. "Stealth trading and volatility : Which trades move prices?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 281-305, December.
  5. Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 1998. "Venture Capital Distributions: Short-Run and Long-Run Reactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2161-2183, December.
  6. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691, August.
  7. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
  8. Andrew Metrick, 1999. "Performance Evaluation with Transactions Data: The Stock Selection of Investment Newsletters," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1743-1775, October.
  9. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
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  11. Finnerty, Joseph E, 1976. "Insiders and Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1141-48, September.
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  13. Meulbroek, Lisa K, 1992. " An Empirical Analysis of Illegal Insider Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1661-99, December.
  14. Josef Lakonishok & Inmoo Lee, 1998. "Are Insiders' Trades Informative?," NBER Working Papers 6656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Brav, Alon & Gompers, Paul A, 1997. " Myth or Reality? The Long-Run Underperformance of Initial Public Offerings: Evidence from Venture and Nonventure Capital-Backed Companies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 1791-1821, December.
  16. Seyhun, H Nejat, 1992. "Why Does Aggregate Insider Trading Predict Future Stock Returns?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1303-31, November.
  17. Loughran, Tim & Ritter, Jay R, 1995. " The New Issues Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 23-51, March.
  18. Rozeff, Michael S & Zaman, Mir A, 1988. "Market Efficiency and Insider Trading: New Evidence," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 25-44, January.
  19. Chan, Louis K. C. & Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Lakonishok, Josef, 1995. "Evaluating the performance of value versus glamour stocks The impact of selection bias," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 269-296, July.
  20. Seyhun, H Nejat, 1988. "The Information Content of Aggregate Insider Trading," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-24, January.
  21. Barber, Brad M. & Lyon, John D., 1997. "Detecting long-run abnormal stock returns: The empirical power and specification of test statistics," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 341-372, March.
  22. Lin, Ji-Chai & Howe, John S, 1990. " Insider Trading in the OTC Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1273-84, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Malcolm Baker & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2000. "The Equity Share in New Issues and Aggregate Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2219-2257, October.
  2. Juha-Pekka Kallunki & Henrik Nilsson & Janne Peltoniemi, 2009. "Regulated and unregulated insider trading around earnings announcements," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 285-308, June.
  3. Juan Wang, 2011. "Transient institutional investors and insider trading signals," International Journal of Accounting and Information Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(2), pages 118-145, June.
  4. Michael Firth & T. Y. Leung & Oliver M. Rui, 2008. "Double Signals or Single Signal? An Investigation of Insider Trading Around Share Repurchases," Working Papers 222008, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  5. Jana P. Fidrmuc & Marc Goergen & Luc Renneboog, 2006. "Insider Trading, News Releases, and Ownership Concentration," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2931-2973, December.
  6. Etebari, Ahmad & Tourani-Rad, Alireza & Gilbert, Aaron, 2004. "Disclosure regulation and the profitability of insider trading: Evidence from New Zealand," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 479-502, November.
  7. David Howden, 2014. "Knowledge flows and insider trading," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 45-55, March.
  8. Vajda, István, 2003. "Bennfentes kereskedelem
    [Insider trading]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(3), pages 235-253.
  9. Fidrmuc Jana P. & Goergen Marc & Renneborg Luc, 2005. "Insider Trading, News Releases and Ownership Concentration," Working Papers wpn05-03, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.

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