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The Profits to Insider Trading: A Performance-Evaluation Perspective

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Listed:
  • Leslie A. Jeng
  • Andrew Metrick
  • Richard Zeckhauser

Abstract

This paper estimates the profits to insiders when they trade their company's stock. We construct a rolling "purchase portfolio" that holds all shares purchased by insiders over the previous year and an analogous "sale portfolio" that holds all shares sold by insiders over the previous year. We then analyze the returns to these value-weighted portfolios using performance-evaluation methods. This approach allows us to study the returns to insider transactions beginning on the day after their execution, and is free of the statistical difficulties that plague event studies on long-horizon returns. Using a comprehensive sample of reported insider transactions from 1975-1996, we find that the purchase portfolio earns abnormal returns of about 40 basis points per month, with about one-sixth of these abnormal returns accruing within the first five days after the initial transaction, and one-third within the first month. The sale portfolio does not earn abnormal returns. Our portfolio-based approach also allows for straightforward decompositions of the purchase and sale portfolios by various characteristics. We find that the abnormal returns to insider trades in small firms are not significantly different from those in large firms, and that top executives do not earn higher abnormal returns than do other insiders.

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie A. Jeng & Andrew Metrick & Richard Zeckhauser, 1999. "The Profits to Insider Trading: A Performance-Evaluation Perspective," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1858, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1858
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Juan Wang, 2011. "Transient institutional investors and insider trading signals," International Journal of Accounting and Information Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(2), pages 118-145, June.
    2. repec:eco:journ1:2017-03-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Malcolm Baker & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2000. "The Equity Share in New Issues and Aggregate Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2219-2257, October.
    4. 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.
    5. Juha-Pekka Kallunki & Henrik Nilsson & Janne Peltoniemi, 2009. "Regulated and unregulated insider trading around earnings announcements," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 285-308, June.
    6. repec:eee:corfin:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:72-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Frankel, Richard & Li, Xu, 2004. "Characteristics of a firm's information environment and the information asymmetry between insiders and outsiders," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 229-259, June.
    8. Vajda, István, 2003. "Bennfentes kereskedelem
      [Insider trading]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(3), pages 235-253.
    9. Etebari, Ahmad & Tourani-Rad, Alireza & Gilbert, Aaron, 2004. "Disclosure regulation and the profitability of insider trading: Evidence from New Zealand," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 479-502, November.
    10. Firth, Michael & Leung, T.Y. & Rui, Oliver M., 2010. "Double signals or single signal? An investigation of insider trading around share repurchases," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 376-388, October.
    11. David Howden, 2014. "Knowledge flows and insider trading," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 45-55, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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