Court narrows 'insider' stock trading rules

The Supreme Court narrowed guidelines under which stockbrokers and company employees may be punished by the Securities and Exchange Commission for violating insider-trading rules.

The court ruled 6 to 3 that a person who has private inside information that might result in a change in a firm's stock prices may pass that information to others if he does not knowingly act from ''a motive of personal gain.''

The high court overturned the SEC's censure of financial analyst Raymond Dirks in connection with the 1973 Equity Funding Corporation of America fraud scandal on Wall Street.

In a major civil rights victory, the court also ruled that minorities suing for discrimination under a key federal law must prove only that they were victims of a discriminatory practice, not that the bias was intentional.

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