Insider Trading in Martha’s Insider Trading Case

One delicious irony in Friday’s decision against Martha Stewart is how MSO stock behaved in the period leading up to the announcement. The guilty verdict crossed the wires at 15:08:09, but not before MSO stock was up almost 18% in the preceding hour.

Why? Because word was out that the Martha Stewart verdict was being released soon, and people were buying the stock, thinking she would be acquitted. As early as 14:28 CNBC tipped that the verdict was imminent, but by then MSO stock had already been jumping for twenty minutes.

The upshot? Someone somewhere at the SEC, the attorney’s office, or the courts leaked. There was, in other words, insider trading in this supposed insider trading case. Oh, the irony of it all …