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The Profits to Insider Trading: A Performance-Evaluation Perspective

  • Leslie A. Jeng
  • Andrew Metrick
  • Richard Zeckhauser

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6913.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6913.

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Date of creation: Jan 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6913
Note: AP
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  1. Kothari, S. P. & Warner, Jerold B., 1997. "Measuring long-horizon security price performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 301-339, March.
  2. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
  3. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 6213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 1998. "Venture Capital Distributions: Short-Run and Long-Run Reactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2161-2183, December.
  6. Josef Lakonishok & Robert W. Vishny & Andrei Shleifer, 1993. "Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk," NBER Working Papers 4360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Finnerty, Joseph E, 1976. "Insiders and Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1141-48, September.
  8. Conrad, Jennifer S & Hameed, Allaudeen & Niden, Cathy, 1994. " Volume and Autocovariances in Short-Horizon Individual Security Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1305-29, September.
  9. Josef Lakonishok & Inmoo Lee, 1998. "Are Insiders' Trades Informative?," NBER Working Papers 6656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  11. Michael S. Rozeff & Mir A. Zaman, 1998. "Overreaction and Insider Trading: Evidence from Growth and Value Portfolios," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(2), pages 701-716, 04.
  12. Jaffe, Jeffrey F, 1974. "Special Information and Insider Trading," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(3), pages 410-28, July.
  13. Seyhun, H Nejat, 1992. "Why Does Aggregate Insider Trading Predict Future Stock Returns?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1303-31, November.
  14. Rozeff, Michael S & Zaman, Mir A, 1988. "Market Efficiency and Insider Trading: New Evidence," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 25-44, January.
  15. Seyhun, H Nejat, 1988. "The Information Content of Aggregate Insider Trading," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-24, January.
  16. B. Espen Eckbo & David C. Smith, 1998. "The Conditional Performance of Insider Trades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(2), pages 467-498, 04.
  17. Loughran, Tim & Ritter, Jay R, 1995. " The New Issues Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 23-51, March.
  18. Chan, Louis K. C. & Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Lakonishok, Josef, 1995. "Evaluating the performance of value versus glamour stocks The impact of selection bias," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 269-296, July.
  19. Meulbroek, Lisa K, 1992. " An Empirical Analysis of Illegal Insider Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1661-99, December.
  20. Barber, Brad M. & Lyon, John D., 1997. "Detecting long-run abnormal stock returns: The empirical power and specification of test statistics," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 341-372, March.
  21. Lin, Ji-Chai & Howe, John S, 1990. " Insider Trading in the OTC Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1273-84, September.
  22. Brav, Alon & Gompers, Paul A, 1997. " Myth or Reality? The Long-Run Underperformance of Initial Public Offerings: Evidence from Venture and Nonventure Capital-Backed Companies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 1791-1821, December.
  23. Barclay, Michael J. & Warner, Jerold B., 1993. "Stealth trading and volatility : Which trades move prices?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 281-305, December.
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