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Do Short Sellers Trade on Private Information or False Information?

51 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2008 Last revised: 15 May 2011

Amiyatosh K. Purnanandam

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

H. Nejat Seyhun

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Date Written: May 12, 2011

Abstract

We investigate whether short sellers contribute towards informational efficiency of market prices by trading on their private information or destabilize market prices by trading on rumors and false information. We do so by projecting a firm's short-selling activities on contemporaneous trading activities of its insiders - our proxy for the potential availability of private information. We find that short-selling activities are considerably informative about future stock returns when there is a higher likelihood of private information in stocks. Short-sellers also bring considerable additional information to the market, especially for smaller stocks, that is not fully captured by contemporaneous insider trading. Overall, these results suggest that on average short sellers bring informational efficiency to the market rather than destabilize them.

Keywords: Short sell, insider trading

JEL Classification: G14

Suggested Citation

Purnanandam, Amiyatosh K. and Seyhun, H. Nejat, Do Short Sellers Trade on Private Information or False Information? (May 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1004155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1004155

Amiyatosh Purnanandam (Contact Author)

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

H. Seyhun

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
734-763-5463 (Phone)

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