Dividend Initiations, Information Content and Informed Trading in the Options Market
48 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2015 Last revised: 18 Jan 2016
Date Written: November 24, 2015
We find that informed trading in the option market prior to dividend initiation is negatively related to announcement period price reactions. This relation is more prevalent among firms with abnormal trading in call options, higher stock price runup, and higher option liquidity. We also find improvements in stock liquidity following dividend initiation. The improvement in stock liquidity is positively related to the increase in institutional investors’ holdings, and negatively related to the relative size of the dividend initiation payment and preannouncement option trading. We further find positive abnormal earnings following dividend initiation. Overall, these findings indicate that dividend initiation conveys information regarding sustainable future earnings and improvements in liquidity, and informed traders are active in the option market prior to dividend initiation.
Keywords: Dividend initiations, options trading, O/S, call/put options, volatility surface, abnormal earnings, stock liquidity
JEL Classification: G12, G13, G14, G32
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