Executive Stock Option Exercises and Inside Information
This article examines whether insiders use private information to time the exercises of their executive stock options. Before May 1991, insiders had to hold the stock acquired through option exercise for 6 months. Exercises from that regime precede significantly positive abnormal stock performance, suggesting the use of inside information to time exercises. By contrast, we find little evidence of such timing since insiders have been able to sell acquired shares immediately. Now, such timing should show up as negative abnormal stock returns after option exercise. However, we find negative stock performance only after exercises by top managers at small firms. Copyright 2001 by University of Chicago Press.
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