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Informed or speculative: Short selling analyst recommendations

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  • Blau, Benjamin M.
  • Wade, Chip

Abstract

Christophe et al. (2010) find evidence of abnormal short activity prior to analyst downgrades and argue that short sellers may be violating SEC insider-trading laws by trading on information obtained from analysts about upcoming downgrades. However, observing abnormal shorting prior to downgrades is not tantamount to determining that short sellers are trading on tips from analysts unless shorting is abnormally low prior to upgrades. This paper revisits this issue. While we observe abnormal shorting prior to downgrades, we also find markedly higher shorting prior to upgrades. In fact, the short-selling patterns surrounding both downgrades and upgrades are remarkably symmetric indicating that short sellers during the pre-recommendation period are not unusually informed about the direction of upcoming recommendation changes. If anything, our findings indicate that short selling prior to analyst recommendations is more likely speculative than informed.

Suggested Citation

  • Blau, Benjamin M. & Wade, Chip, 2012. "Informed or speculative: Short selling analyst recommendations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 14-25.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:36:y:2012:i:1:p:14-25
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2011.06.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chague, Fernando & De-Losso, Rodrigo & De Genaro, Alan & Giovannetti, Bruno, 2014. "Short-sellers: Informed but restricted," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 56-70.
    2. Sébastien Galanti & Zahra Ben Braham, 2017. "Information efficiency on an emerging market: analysts' recommendations in Tunisia," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 37(1), pages 377-390.
    3. Pando Sohn & Ji-Yong Seo, 2015. "Investor heterogeneity and asymmetric volatility under short-sale constraints: Evidence from Korean fund market," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 42(1 Year 20), pages 21-51, June.
    4. Pao-Yu Huang & Yen-Sen Ni & Chi-Min Yu, 2012. "The Microstructure of the Price-Volume Relationship of the Constituent Stocks of the Taiwan 50 Index," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(0), pages 153-168, July.
    5. Lin, Tse-Chun & Lu, Xiaolong, 2015. "Why do options prices predict stock returns? Evidence from analyst tipping," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 17-28.
    6. Olivier Rousse & Benoît Sévi, 2016. "Informed Trading in Oil-Futures Market," Working Papers hal-01410093, HAL.
    7. Bae, Kwangil & Kang, Jangkoo & Lee, Soonhee, 2016. "Bullish/bearish/neutral strategies under short sale restrictions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 227-239.
    8. Alldredge, Dallin M. & Blau, Benjamin M. & Brough, Tyler J., 2012. "Short selling after hours," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 64(6), pages 439-451.
    9. Chakrabarty, Bidisha & Shkilko, Andriy, 2013. "Information transfers and learning in financial markets: Evidence from short selling around insider sales," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1560-1572.
    10. repec:eee:finmar:v:33:y:2017:i:c:p:102-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Pao-Yu Huang & Yen-Sen Ni & Chi-Min Yu, 2012. "The Microstructure of the Price-Volume Relationship of the Constituent Stocks of the Taiwan 50 Index," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(0), pages 153-168, July.
    12. repec:eee:empfin:v:42:y:2017:i:c:p:240-255 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. 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.
    14. Swastika, Putri & Dewandaru, Ginanjar & Masih, Mansur, 2013. "Does Restricted Short Selling Bring Benefit to Stocks Listed in Islamic Capital Market? New Evidence from Malaysia based on Dynamic Panel Heterogeneous Techniques," MPRA Paper 58833, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Short selling; Informed trading; Analyst recommendations; Tipping;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G19 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Other

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