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. 

The Best Trader in the World Worked for Bernie Madoff

The night Bernie Madoff got caught for running a $60 billion Ponzi scheme I got a call from my friend “Eddie” (not his real name) who for many years worked for Madoff. I couldn’t tell if he was crying but he was very upset. “I can’t believe it,” he said, “Bernie was like a father to me. Mark Madoff was like a brother to me.” We spoke on and off all night as more news came in and he came to grips with the new world he was living in.

I called Eddie yesterday and said I wanted to write an article about him and how I thought he was the best trader I ever knew. I’ve met and worked with over a thousand traders. I traded for hedge funds. I ran a fund of hedge funds. I’ve written five books on trading. And Eddie is the best trader I've ever come across.

Putting the "I" in "IPO"

Cathal Morrow, who's in the midst of a year without unhappiness following his year without lying, has a new project: "Me Me Me Plc, a company he plans to float on the London Stock Exchange by selling shares in himself. It's ?10 a share, which gets you a photograph of Cathal in lieu of a share certificate."

Looking to Twitter for a Market Edge?

If you're looking for a hot stock tip, consider Twitter. A new paper by Timm O. Sprenger and Isabell M. Welpe looks at the effects of microblogging on stock prices.

Recanting a Small Part of Lifecycle Investing

On page 9 of Lifecycle Investing, Barry Nalebuff and I write:

"[B]efore you invest in stocks, first pay off all your student loans and credit card debts."

On reflection, we were only half right. You should pay off your high-interest-rate credit card loans before investing in stock. But in this post from our Forbes blog, Barry and I show why young investors need not pay off their student loans before investing in stock.

Did Paul Samuelson Support Leveraged Lifecycle Investing?

Here is a post coauthored with Yale School of Management professor, Barry Nalebuff, regarding Paul Samuelson's criticisms of our Lifecycle Investing strategy.

The Quiet Danger of Non-Inflation-Adjusted Stock Returns

In today's Wall Street Journal, E.S. Browning has written a quietly important article (gated) about the fact that stock-market returns are almost never adjusted for inflation. While most shrewd investors factor in this omission, my sense is that a great many people never think about it, and therefore significantly overestimate their investment gains.

Are the Lakers a Sure Thing?

For the 20-year period ending in 2007, the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship record did a surprisingly good job of reflecting the stock market.

Fantasy Stocks

For those who are still too scared to invest in the stock market, you can buy some imaginary stock at UpDown, a "practice investing" site that simulates the stock market and lists real-life companies without meting out real-life consequences.

More Good News

Just before Christmas, I reported that the CBOE's Volatility Index (^VIX) had fallen from “an apocalyptic 80 percent” to a merely extraordinary 45 percent.
And I said:

When it drops below 30 percent, it will be a strong indication that the market correction is complete and we're back to business as usual.

Happily, we're going to get a chance to see if I was right.