Anthrax makes insider filings late to SEC

January 10, 2002|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service is belatedly delivering thousands of insider-trade reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, paper filings delayed when anthrax contaminated Washington's postal center three months ago.

The reports of executive stock transactions from October through early December are just now arriving at the SEC, where they are studied by investors as a sign of how company insiders view the strength of their companies' stock.

"You can truly see what people are doing with their own funds," said Mark Buckingham, an analyst with Muzea Consulting LLC, a firm that tracks insider data for institutional investors. "If you believe in your company and you are willing to put your money where your mouth is, that is a stronger testament than words."

About 1 million letters and packages were quarantined when the Postal Service shut down the Brentwood, N.J., mail-sorting facility on Oct. 21, after an envelope containing anthrax was delivered to the office of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Two Brentwood postal workers died from inhalation anthrax in what authorities described as a likely terrorist attack.

The quarantine and an irradiation treatment applied to Brentwood letters created a backlog in paper filings going to the SEC and other U.S. government agencies.

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