July Fourth by the Numbers…

July 6, 2009

The markets (and the SEC) may have been closed for the Fourth of July on Friday, but there was no shortage of numbers. Macy’s (M) set off 45,000 pounds of fireworks over the Hudson River from six barges. That same day Nathan’s (NATH) held its annual hot-dog contest where the winner ate 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Not to be outdone, we here at footnoted decided to do a little number-crunching of our own. Though we’ve long thought that companies tend to take advantage of long holiday weekends to file all sorts of stuff with the SEC and have certainly seen enough anecdotal evidence over the past few years, we’ve never actually done the math. But this weekend we did and we were shocked — shocked — by the results.

Between 4 pm (after the market closed) and 5:30 pm eastern on Thursday (when the SEC stops accepting most filings), companies filed a whopping 324 8-Ks. That’s 3.6 filings per minute. We compared that to the previous Thursday (6/25) when 248 8-Ks were filed during those 90 minutes (and when the market was open the next day). That’s a 30% increase! While many of the filings were from little-known companies, there were also some interesting filings from several footnoted frequent flyers including Crocs (CROX), UTStarcom (UTSI) and First Marblehead (FMD). We’ll be talking about some of those filings in greater detail on FootnotedPro where a separate report will be available for purchase.

In addition to the 8-Ks, which felt like a better measure than 10-Ks or 10-Qs since those are a bit less flexible in terms of deadlines, we also took a look at Form 4s, which we don’t normally spend much time looking at. Unlike other filings, the SEC actually accepts Form 4s until 9:30, so the window is a bit larger. But the results were even more shocking: after the market closed on Thursday, we counted over 1,700 Form 4s filed between 4 pm and 9:30 pm. Compare that to just 324 that were filed all day on June 25. That’s a more than four-fold increase.

Now maybe this is all just due to chance and we (or even better — someone else) probably needs to look at other holidays over several years. But it certainly seems more than just a strange coincidence.

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