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Shorting the Bear: A Test of Anecdotal Evidence of Insider Trading in Early Stages of the Sub-Prime Market Crisis

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Listed:
  • Les Coleman

    (University of Melbourne)

  • Adi Schnytzer

    () (Bar-Ilan University)

Abstract

This article uses trading data in the options market for shares in The Bear Sterns Companies (BSC) during the early stages of the US sub-prime crisis as a laboratory to examine the incidence of insider trading. We take the perspective of a regulator making use of hindsight to identify the most propitious periods for insider trades and to identify market activity indicative of insiders. Half the value of options traded were on 19 percent of the days, mostly in contracts in or close-to the money and near to expiry. We find persuasive evidence that insiders could have been active in trading Bear Sterns stock during this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Les Coleman & Adi Schnytzer, 2011. "Shorting the Bear: A Test of Anecdotal Evidence of Insider Trading in Early Stages of the Sub-Prime Market Crisis," Working Papers 2011-11, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2011-11
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jana P. Fidrmuc & Marc Goergen & Luc Renneboog, 2006. "Insider Trading, News Releases, and Ownership Concentration," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2931-2973, December.
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    4. Seyhun, H. Nejat, 1986. "Insiders' profits, costs of trading, and market efficiency," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 189-212, June.
    5. Cornell, Bradford & Sirri, Erik R, 1992. " The Reaction of Investors and Stock Prices to Insider Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1031-1059, July.
    6. Thaler, Richard H & Ziemba, William T, 1988. "Parimutuel Betting Markets: Racetracks and Lotteries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 161-174, Spring.
    7. Schnytzer, Adi & Shilony, Yuval, 1995. "Inside Information in a Betting Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 963-971, July.
    8. Meulbroek, Lisa K, 1992. " An Empirical Analysis of Illegal Insider Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1661-1699, December.
    9. Les Coleman, 2007. "Just How Serious is Insider Trading? An Evaluation using Thoroughbred Wagering Markets," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 1(1), pages 31-55, February.
    10. Camerer, Colin & Loewenstein, George & Weber, Martin, 1989. "The Curse of Knowledge in Economic Settings: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1232-1254, October.
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    Keywords

    insider trading; forensic finance; Bear Sterns;

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