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Keywords:

  • Insider trading;
  • Earnings predictability;
  • Market-based accounting accruals;
  • Analyst forecasts;
  • Information asymmetry
  • G10;
  • G14;
  • M41

Abstract

This paper examines whether the ‘external governance’ imposed by comparative financial accounting standards reduces the trading advantage of insiders. We do this by directly comparing insider trading returns and insider’s ability to predict future earnings from accruals in Spain and Australia. Results show higher excess returns and greater prediction of future earnings from conditioned insider trading in Australia that is then utilized by financial analysts to lower forecast errors – particularly in contrarian-based accruals trading. Possible explanations include: (i) a high asymmetric quality for market-based accruals, (ii) information transfer from informed insiders to uninformed insiders and financial analysts and (iii) a more timely dissemination of financial information in Spain through different ownership and governance structures.