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Decoding Inside Information

Author

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  • Lauren Cohen
  • Christopher Malloy
  • Lukasz Pomorski

Abstract

Using a simple empirical strategy, we decode the information in insider trades. Exploiting the fact that insiders trade for a variety of reasons, we show that there is predictable, identifiable "routine" insider trading that is not informative for the future of firms. Stripping away these routine trades, which comprise over half the entire universe of insider trades, leaves a set of information-rich "opportunistic" trades that contains all the predictive power in the insider trading universe. A portfolio strategy that focuses solely on opportunistic insider trades yields value-weight abnormal returns of 82 basis points per month, while the abnormal returns associated with routine traders are essentially zero. Further, opportunistic trades predict future news and events at a firm level, while routine trades do not.

Suggested Citation

  • Lauren Cohen & Christopher Malloy & Lukasz Pomorski, 2010. "Decoding Inside Information," NBER Working Papers 16454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16454
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16454.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bettis, J. C. & Coles, J. L. & Lemmon, M. L., 2000. "Corporate policies restricting trading by insiders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 191-220, August.
    2. Ke, Bin & Huddart, Steven & Petroni, Kathy, 2003. "What insiders know about future earnings and how they use it: Evidence from insider trades," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 315-346, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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