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Asymmetric timing of gain and recognition and insider trading profitability

Tang, M.
Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance. May 4, 2021

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We provide evidence that the profitability of corporate insiders’ trading decreases in the degree of asymmetric timely loss recognition (TLR) of their firms’ financial reporting. Consistent with TLR reducing insiders’ information advantage over outside shareholders regarding future negative news about the firm, we find that reduced insider trading profitability is mainly driven by (a) stock sales, as opposed to purchases; (b) the price change component of trading, as opposed to its volume; and (c) insiders’ nonroutine trades, as opposed to less information driven routine trades. Although CEOs/CFOs are more likely to influence TLR, the effect is more pronounced for non-CEO and non-CFO insiders, inconsistent with reverse causality. Overall, our findings suggest that TLR reduces managers’ ability to extract rents from investors via insider trading.