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Short selling around dividend announcements and ex-dividend days

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  • Blau, Benjamin M.
  • Fuller, Kathleen P.
  • Van Ness, Robert A.

Abstract

We examine short selling around dividend announcements and ex-dividend dates. Contrary to our initial expectation, we do not find abnormally high short-selling activity prior to announced dividend decreases, which runs counter to the argument that short sellers have the ability to acquire private information before its public dissemination. However, we find that the common negative relation between current short selling and future daily returns prior to unfavorable dividend announcements is similar to the negative relation during non-event times, suggesting that dividend announcements do not provide unusual trading opportunities for informed traders (Gonedes, 1978, and Benartzi et al., 1997). Around ex-dividend dates, we do find abnormal short selling, which may be explained by the return pattern around ex-dividend days documented by Lakonishok and Vermaelen (1986), who suggest that demand for a particular stock by dividend capture traders drives stock prices above their fundamental value thus providing a profitable trading opportunity for short sellers. Consistent with this conjecture, we find that both the level of short selling and the return predictability of short selling is markedly higher on and after the ex-dividend day than during non-event times.

Suggested Citation

  • Blau, Benjamin M. & Fuller, Kathleen P. & Van Ness, Robert A., 2011. "Short selling around dividend announcements and ex-dividend days," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 628-639, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:17:y:2011:i:3:p:628-639
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ming-Chang Cheng & Ching-Hwa Lee, 2016. "Trading Activities Around Ex-Dividend Days: Evidence from the Taiwan Stock Market," Review of Pacific Basin Financial Markets and Policies (RPBFMP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 19(01), pages 1-17, March.
    2. Feng, Xunan & Chan, Kam C., 2016. "Information advantage, short sales, and stock returns: Evidence from short selling reform in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 131-142.
    3. Blau, Benjamin M. & DeLisle, Jared R. & Price, S. McKay, 2015. "Do sophisticated investors interpret earnings conference call tone differently than investors at large? Evidence from short sales," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 203-219.
    4. Chip Wade & Andre Liebenberg & Benjamin M. Blau, 2016. "Information and Insurer Financial Strength Ratings: Do Short Sellers Anticipate Ratings Changes?," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(2), pages 475-500, June.

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