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Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001


  • Allen M. Poteshman

    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


After September 11, 2001, there was a great deal of speculation that the terrorists or their associates had traded in the option market on advanced knowledge of the impending attacks. This paper generates systematic information about option market activity that can be used to assess the option trading that precedes any event of interest. Examination of the option trading leading up to September 11 reveals that there was an unusually high level of put buying. This finding is consistent with informed investors having traded options in advance of the attacks.

Suggested Citation

  • Allen M. Poteshman, 2006. "Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1703-1726, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jnlbus:v:79:y:2006:i:4:p:1703-1726
    DOI: 10.1086/503645

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    Cited by:

    1. Pei Peter Lung & Pisun Xu, 2014. "Tipping and Option Trading," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 671-701, September.
    2. Acharya, Viral V. & Johnson, Timothy C., 2010. "More insiders, more insider trading: Evidence from private-equity buyouts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 500-523, December.
    3. Andy Fodor & Kevin Krieger & James Doran, 2011. "Do option open-interest changes foreshadow future equity returns?," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 25(3), pages 265-280, September.
    4. J. W.B. Bos & M. Frömmel & M. Lamers, 2013. "FDI, Terrorism and the Availability Heuristic for U.S. Investors before and after 9/11," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/850, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    5. Kallberg, Jarl & Liu, Crocker H. & Pasquariello, Paolo, 2008. "Updating expectations: An analysis of post-9/11 returns," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 400-432, November.
    6. Helena Chulia & Francisco Climent & Pilar Soriano & Hipolit Torro, 2009. "Volatility transmission patterns and terrorist attacks," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(5), pages 607-619.
    7. Almaqableh, Laith & Reddy, Krishna & Pereira, Vijay & Ramiah, Vikash & Wallace, Damien & Francisco Veron, Jose, 2022. "An investigative study of links between terrorist attacks and cryptocurrency markets," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 177-188.
    8. Les Coleman, 2012. "Testing equity market efficiency around terrorist attacks," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(31), pages 4087-4099, November.
    9. Chen, Yangyang & Hu, Gang & Yu, Danlei Bonnie & Zhao, Jingran, 2019. "Catastrophic risk and institutional investors: Evidence from institutional trading around 9/11," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 211-233.
    10. Chesney, Marc & Crameri, Remo & Mancini, Loriano, 2015. "Detecting abnormal trading activities in option markets," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 263-275.
    11. Dai, Rui & Massoud, Nadia & Nandy, Debarshi K. & Saunders, Anthony, 2017. "Hedge funds in M&A deals: Is there exploitation of insider information?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 23-45.
    12. Yang, Chih-Yuan & Jhang, Ling-Jhen & Chang, Chia-Chien, 2016. "Do investor sentiment, weather and catastrophe effects improve hedging performance? Evidence from the Taiwan options market," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 35-51.
    13. Patrick Augustin & Menachem Brenner & Marti G. Subrahmanyam, 2019. "Informed Options Trading Prior to Takeover Announcements: Insider Trading?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(12), pages 5697-5720, December.
    14. Driouchi, Tarik & So, Raymond H.Y. & Trigeorgis, Lenos, 2020. "Investor ambiguity, systemic banking risk and economic activity: The case of too-big-to-fail," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    15. Ramiah, Vikash & Wallace, Damien & Veron, Jose Francisco & Reddy, Krishna & Elliott, Robert, 2019. "The effects of recent terrorist attacks on risk and return in commodity markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 13-22.
    16. Fich, Eliezer M. & Nguyen, Tung & Petmezas, Dimitris, 2023. "The effects of terrorist attacks on inventor productivity and mobility," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(1).
    17. Augustin, Patrick & Brenner, Menachem & Grass, Gunnar & Subrahmanyam, Marti G., 2016. "How do insiders trade?," CFS Working Paper Series 541, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    18. Agrawal, Anup & Cooper, Tommy, 2015. "Insider trading before accounting scandals," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 169-190.
    19. Blanco, Iván & García, Sergio J., 2021. "Options trading and the cost of debt," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    20. Hu, Jianfeng, 2014. "Does option trading convey stock price information?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 625-645.

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