436 research outputs found

    China and the World Financial Markets 1870-1930: Modern Lessons From Historical Globalization

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    China began to borrow in the world capital markets in the late 19th century, issuing bonds to pay for defense as well as for large-scale economic development. Particularly interesting is the role that the clash between domestic and international investors played in China's 1911 revolution. The protection of external investor rights was perceived at the time as an infringement on Chinese sovereignty. In this paper we interpret the conflict over foreign investor rights in terms of a disequilibrium in the development of financial markets. Europe's high level of investor diversification put her investors at a relative advantage in bidding for development projects in China, while European investor expectations about protection from expropriation and default, lowered Chinese cost of capital, but also led to erosion of national sovereignty and a dramatic, grassroots political backlash. Despite fundamental differences between China today and China 100 years ago it is still important to consider the dangers of an imbalance between domestic and international investor markets, and the mismatch between domestic and foreign expectations about investor protection. The lessons of the last century suggest that China today should consider opening Chinese investor access to foreign capital markets in order to equilibrate the level of diversification between foreign and domestic investors. In addition, protection of domestic corporate investor rights is at least as important as protecting foreign investor rights.

    Index Funds and Stock Market Growth

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    In the present paper we analyze the relationship between index funds and asset prices. In particular, our analysis of daily index fund flows indicates a strong contemporaneous correlation between fund inflows and S&P market returns. We also document a strong negative correlation between fund out flows and S&P market returns with the exception of outflows from a fund with very high initial investment requirement. These effects may be interpreted in two ways. Either investor supply and demand affects S&P market prices, or investors condition their demand and supply on intra-day market fluctuations. To sort out these effects, we examine trailing investor reaction to market moves. Our results suggest the market reacts to daily demand. However, only negative reactions appear due to past returns. We investigate whether index investor demand shocks are permanent or temporary by examining the related behavior of the S&P futures index. Clear evidence supports the hypothesis that they are permanent. This result may help explain the unusual recent relative performance of the S&P 500 index. Using the average market-timing newsletter recommendation over the period, we find that investors appear to react to expert' advice about the market. Bullish newsletter sentiment is associated with greater inflows, although outflows are not well explained by newsletter advice. Dispersion in advice is associated with lower inflows. We find a high correlation among a number of variables used as a proxy for investor disagreement.

    Disposition Matters: Volume, Volatility and Price Impact of a Behavioral Bias

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    In this paper, we estimate the behavioral component of the Grinblatt and Han (2002) model and derive several testable implications about the expected relationship between the preponderance of disposition-prone investors in a market and volume, volatility and stock returns. To do this, we use a large sample of individual accounts over a six-year period in the 1990's in order to identify investors who are subject to the disposition effect. We then use their trading behavior to construct behavioral factors. We show that when the fraction of irrational' investor purchases in a stock increases, the unexplained portion of the market price of the stock decreases. We further show that statistical exposure to a disposition factor explains cross-sectional differences in daily returns, controlling for a host of other factors and characteristics. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that trade between disposition-prone investors and their counter-parties impacts relative prices.

    The Bias of the RSR Estimator and the Accuracy of Some Alternatives

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    This paper analyzes the implications of cross-sectional heteroskedasticity in repeat sales regression (RSR). RSR estimators are essentially geometric averages of individual asset returns because of the logarithmic transformation of price relatives. We show that the cross sectional variance of asset returns affects the magnitude of bias in the average return estimate for that period, while reducing the bias for the surrounding periods. It is not easy to use an approximation method to correct the bias problem. We suggest a maximum-likelihood alternative to the RSR that directly estimates index returns that are analogous to the RSR estimators but are arithmetic averages of individual returns. Simulations show that these estimators are robust to time-varying cross-sectional variance and may be more accurate than RSR and some alternative methods of RSR.

    Equity Portfolio Diversification

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    In this paper we examine the portfolios of more than 40,000 equity investment accounts from a large discount brokerage during a six year period (1991-96) in recent U.S. capital market history. Using the historical performance for the equities in these accounts, we find that a vast majority of investors in our sample are under-diversified. Even accounting for the likelihood we have selected on speculators, the magnitude of the diosyncratic risk taken by investors in our sample is surprising. Investors are aware of the benefits of diversification but they appear to adopt a 'naive' diversification strategy where they form portfolios without giving proper consideration to the correlations among the stocks. Over time, the degree of diversification among investor portfolios has improved but these improvements result primarily from changes in the correlation structure of the US equity market. Cross-sectional variations in diversification across demographic groups suggest that investors in low income and non-professional categories hold the least diversified portfolios. In addition, we find that young, active investors are over-focused and hold under-diversified portfolios. Overall, our results indicate that investors realize the benefits of diversification but they face a daunting task of 'implementing' and maintaining a well-diversified portfolio.

    Rain or Shine: Where is the Weather Effect?

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    Saunders (1993) and Hirshleifer and Shumway (2001) document the effect of weather on stock returns. The proposed explanation in both papers is that investor mood affects cognitive processes and trading decisions. In this paper, we use a database of individual investor accounts to examine the weather effects on traders. Our analysis of the trading activity in five major U.S. cities over a six-year period finds vistually no difference in individuals propensity to buy or sell equities on cloudy days as opposed to sunny days. If the association between cloud cover and stock returns documented for New York and other world cities is indeed caused by investor mood swings, our findings suggest that researchers should focus on the attitudes of market-makers, news providers or other agents physically located in the city hosting the exchange. NYSE spreads widen on cloudy days. When we control for this, the significance of the weather effect is dramatically reduced. We interpret this as evidence that the behavior of market-makers, rather than individual investors, may be responsible for the relation between returns and weather.

    Hedge Funds With Style

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    The popular perception is that hedge funds follow a reasonably well defined market-neutral investment style. While this long-short investment strategy may have characterized the first hedge funds, today hedge funds are a reasonably heterogeneous group. They are better defined in terms of their freedom from the constraints imposed by the Investment Company Act of 1940, than they are by the particular style of investment. We study the monthly return history of hedge funds over the period 1989 through to January 2000 and find that there are in fact a number of distinct styles of management. We find that differences in investment style contribute about 20 per cent of the cross sectional variability in hedge fund performance. This result is consistent across the years of our sample and is robust to the way in which we determine investment style. We conclude that appropriate style analysis and style management are crucial to success for investors looking to invest in this market.
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