Informed trading before analyst downgrades: Evidence from short sellers
This paper studies short-selling prior to the release of analyst downgrades in a sample of 670 downgrades of Nasdaq stocks between 2000 and 2001. We find abnormal levels of short-selling in the three days before downgrades are publicly announced. Further, we show that this pre-announcement abnormal short-selling is significantly related to the subsequent share price reaction to the downgrade, and especially so for downgrades that prompt the most substantial price declines. Our findings are robust to various controls that might also affect short-selling such as pre-announcement momentum, three-day pre-announcement returns, and announcement-day share price. In addition, the results are independent of scheduled earnings announcements, analyst herding, and non-routine events near downgrades. Further evidence suggests that tipping is more consistent with the data than the prediction explanation which posits that short sellers successfully predict downgrades on the basis of public information about firms' financial health. Finally, we present evidence that downgraded stocks with high abnormal short-selling perform poorly over the subsequent six months by comparison with those with low abnormal short-selling. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that short sellers are informed traders and exploit profitable opportunities provided by downgrade announcements.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Karl B. Diether & Kuan-Hui Lee & Ingrid M. Werner, 2009. "Short-Sale Strategies and Return Predictability," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(2), pages 575-607, February.
- Green, T. Clifton, 2006. "The Value of Client Access to Analyst Recommendations," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 1-24, March.
- Stephen E. Christophe & Michael G. Ferri & James J. Angel, 2004. "Short-Selling Prior to Earnings Announcements," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1845-1876, 08.
- Hemang Desai & K. Ramesh & S. Ramu Thiagarajan & Bala V. Balachandran, 2002. "An Investigation of the Informational Role of Short Interest in the Nasdaq Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 2263-2287, October.
- Bhushan, Ravi, 1989. "Firm characteristics and analyst following," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2-3), pages 255-274, July.
- Patricia C. O'Brien & Maureen F. Mcnichols & Lin Hsiou-Wei, 2005. "Analyst Impartiality and Investment Banking Relationships," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(4), pages 623-650, 09.
- Asquith, Paul & Pathak, Parag A. & Ritter, Jay R., 2005. "Short interest, institutional ownership, and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 243-276, November.
- Welch, Ivo, 2000. "Herding among security analysts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 369-396, December.
- Mark T. Bradshaw, 2002. "GAAP versus The Street: An Empirical Assessment of Two Alternative Definitions of Earnings," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 41-66, 03.
- Narasimhan Jegadeesh & Joonghyuk Kim & Susan D. Krische & Charles M. C. Lee, 2004. "Analyzing the Analysts: When Do Recommendations Add Value?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(3), pages 1083-1124, 06.
- Dechow, Patricia M. & Hutton, Amy P. & Meulbroek, Lisa & Sloan, Richard G., 2001. "Short-sellers, fundamental analysis, and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 77-106, July.
- Ekkehart Boehmer & Charles M. Jones & Xiaoyan Zhang, 2008. "Which Shorts Are Informed?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(2), pages 491-527, 04.
- Brad Barber, 2001. "Can Investors Profit from the Prophets? Security Analyst Recommendations and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 531-563, 04.
- Diamond, Douglas W. & Verrecchia, Robert E., 1987. "Constraints on short-selling and asset price adjustment to private information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 277-311, June.
- Loughran, Tim & Ritter, Jay R., 2000. "Uniformly least powerful tests of market efficiency," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 361-389, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:95:y:2010:i:1:p:85-106. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.