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Investing Research Articles

Technical Analysis as Folk Medicine

Is there a way to end the endless debate on the merits of technical analysis? In his September 2006 paper entitled “On the Analogy Between Scientific Study of Technical Analysis and Ethnopharmacology”, Waldemar Stronka proposes bringing technical analysis into the financial economics fold in a manner analogous to the successful incorporation of folk medicine by pharmacology. Specifically, he notes that: Keep Reading

Do Mutual Funds That Practice Behavioral Finance Principles Outperform?

Do mutual funds that implement the tenets of behavioral finance, in defiance of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, outperform? Can they find and exploit systematic behavioral mispricings? In their August 2006 paper entitled “Behavioral Finance: Are the Disciples Profiting from the Doctrine?”, Colby Wright, Prithviraj Banerjee and Vaneesha Boney assess whether expert investors have validated the principles of behavioral finance by examining the aggregate performance of a group of mutual funds that practice them. Using equal-weighted data for 16 mutual funds most visibly associated with behavioral finance (see table below), they find that: Keep Reading

Essential Ingredients for a Stock Market Boom

What kind of economic environment makes a stock market boom? What changes in that environment lead to bust? In their September 2006 paper entitled “When Do Stock Market Booms Occur? The Macroeconomic and Policy Environments of 20th Century Booms”, Michael Bordo and David Wheelock examine the economic and policy conditions that supported equity market booms in ten developed countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States) during the 20th century. Using monthly inflation-adjusted stock prices from these countries, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Does Technical Trading Work for Certain Kinds of Stocks?

Can technical traders make money if they focus on stocks that are small, illiquid or in specific industries? In their September 2006 paper entitled “Is Technical Analysis Profitable on U.S. Stocks with Certain Size, Liquidity or Industry Characteristics?”, Ben Marshall, Sun Qian and Martin Young test three widely used technical trading rules: (1) the variable length moving average rule: (2) the fixed length moving average rule; and, (3) the trading range break-out rule. Using daily close data for 1,065 NYSE and NASDAQ stocks trading over the entire period 1990-2004, they find that: Keep Reading

Stock Price Impacts of Management Changes

A reader observed and asked: “I read today that Peter Dolan, the CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), left the company…BMY was up nearly 4% at the open. How many other times have CEOs of unprofitable/unloved publicly traded companies gotten sacked and the share price rises on the news? Could this be a market inefficiency that market makers and traders (i.e., hedge funds) exploit to the chagrin of individual and institutional investors (mutual funds)? Does a publicly traded company with a stock price stagnant for years get a trader’s premium when a management change occurs?” Keep Reading

Spam Spasms: This Stock Ready to Explode!

Does touting of penny stocks via email spam work? If so, for whom? In their July 2006 paper entitled “Spam Works: Evidence from Stock Touts and Corresponding Market Activity”, Laura Frieder and Jonathan Zittrain assess the impact of unsolicited email touting on Pink Sheet stock prices. They also investigate who wins and who loses from such attempted manipulation. They construct their test sample from 75,415 unsolicited email messages touting a total of 307 mostly Pink Sheet stocks between January 2004 and July 2005, along with associated price and volume data for these stocks. They then create a control sample of randomly selected comparable Pink Sheet stocks. By comparing the test and control samples, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Buying and Selling Noise?

If noise is a significant component of stock prices, does a portfolio that favors large market capitalization stocks automatically underperform? In the May 2006 draft of their paper entitled “Pricing Noise, Rejecting the CAPM and the Size and Value Effects”, Robert Arnott and Jason Hsu examine the implications of a very simple model that assumes stock prices deviate from fundamental value based on a single source of unknown risk (noise). They assume the deviations revert to a mean of zero, with no long-term effect on stock returns. Based on this model, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Hedge Fund Success: Timing or Stock Picking?

Do equity hedge fund managers achieve positive alpha by timing the market or by picking (for or against) the right stocks? In their July 2006 paper entitled “How Hedge Funds Beat the Market”, Craig French and Damian Ko investigate the degrees to which these two potential sources of excess returns contribute to market outperformance by hedge fund managers. Using monthly returns for a sample of 157 long-short equity hedge funds reporting over the entire period 1996-2005, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Hedge Funds Strongest Around the Turns of Odd Years?

Do hedge funds eliminate, or even reverse, seasonal effects in the returns of the stock market? In his September 2006 paper entitled “Seasonality in Hedge Fund Strategies”, Yan Olszewski investigates general seasonal effects for various hedge fund strategies. Using monthly excess return data during 1990-2005 for 30 of the 37 equally-weighted Hedge Fund Research strategy indexes encompassing over 1600 funds, he finds that: Keep Reading

Dynamics of Size and Value Investing

As companies evolve, their characteristics may migrate from one category to another (for example, from small to large, or from growth to value). Does such migration, in aggregate, help explain differences in average returns for different categories of stocks? In the August 2006 draft of their paper entitled “Migration”, Eugene Fama and Kenneth French investigate how migration of firms across categories contributes to the size effect and the value premium. Specifically, at the end of each June from 1926 through 2004 they construct six value-weighted portfolios of stocks from the major U.S. exchanges based on market capitalization and price-to-book ratio. They then examine the effects on portfolio returns of four kinds of annual rebalancing actions: (1) firms that do not move (Same); (2) firms that change size (dSize); (3) firms that improve toward growth, or are acquired (Plus); and, (4) firms that deteriorate toward value, or are delisted (Minus). Using subsequent-year return data for 1927-2005, they conclude that: Keep Reading

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