Should “TailSpotting” Be on Your Stock-Research Checklist?

From a new working paper by David Yermack, an economist at NYU/Stern, called “Tailspotting: How Disclosure, Stock Prices and Volatility Change When CEOs Fly to Their Vacation Homes” (abstract; older version in PDF):

This paper shows close connections between CEOs’ vacation schedules and corporate news disclosures.  I identify vacations by merging corporate jet flight histories with real estate records of CEOs’ property owned near leisure destinations.  Companies disclose favorable news just before CEOs leave for vacation and delay subsequent announcements until CEOs return, releasing news at an unusually high rate on the CEO’s first day back.  When CEOs are away, companies announce less news than usual and stock prices exhibit sharply lower volatility.  Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work.  CEOs spend fewer days out of the office when their ownership is high and when the weather at their vacation homes is cold or rainy.

I can only imagine the mental gymnastics that some investors might be putting themselves through as they figure out how to take advantage of this phenomenon. Anybody heard of any good such stories?

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  1. Ryan says:

    Best example I can think of was Bud Fox in Wall Street. TailSpotting was instrumental identifying the target of a buyout Gekko could take advantage of.

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