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Investing Research Articles

Loss of Momentum?

Has the focus of investors/traders (especially hedge funds) on stock return momentum, the persistence of outperformance and underperformance, killed the effect? In their March 2007 paper entitled “The Disappearance of Momentum”, Soosung Hwang and Alexandre Rubesam investigate trends in the momentum effect over a long period. Their baseline analysis examines sets of ten momentum-ranked portfolios formed on past five-month returns and held for six months, with an intervening month skipped. Using monthly return data for a large number of individual NYSE, AMEX and Nasdaq stocks over the period July 1926 through December 2005, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Recent Evidence on Individual Investor Performance

What is the recent evidence on the performance of individual investors? Do some persistently outperform and, if so, why? In the February 2007 draft of their paper entitled “The Performance and Persistence of Individual Investors: Rational Agents or Tulip Maniacs?”, Rob Bauer, Mathijs Cosemans and Piet Eichholtz examine the performance and persistence of individual investors trading at a Dutch online broker. Using a database consisting of more than 68,000 accounts and eight million trades in stocks, bonds and derivatives during January 2000 to March 2006, they find that: Keep Reading

Net Flow of Cash from Company to Investors as a Return Indicator

Are company stock buybacks equivalent to cash dividends for stockholders? Conversely, are company sales of stock “undividends” for stockholders? A forthcoming article in the April 2007 Journal of Finance addresses these questions. In the underlying September 2005 paper entitled “On the Importance of Measuring Payout Yield: Implications for Empirical Asset Pricing”, Jacob Boudoukh, Roni Michaely, Matthew Richardson and Michael Roberts compare the predictive powers of several alternative measures of company payout encompassing dividends, stock repurchases and stock issuances. Using a maximum sample period of 1926-2003 (with stock repurchase data available only since 1971), they find that: Keep Reading

What Puts Brits in the Mood (for Buying or Selling Stocks)?

Do macroenvironmental variables affect stock returns by influencing aggregate investor mood? In their February 2007 paper entitled “Mood and Uk Equity Pricing”, Michael Dowling and Brian Lucey investigate the relationship between between a variety of mood variables (temperature, precipitation, wind speed, geomagnetic storms, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Daylight Savings Time Changes and lunar phases) and returns for a broad UK stock index and a small-capitalization UK stock index. Using daily data for the period 12/12/04-11/10/04, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Fear Factor?

In one of the financial markets alternate universes, anchored on the Fama-French three-factor model, the central explanatory theme is reward-for-risk derived from market (equity) premium , the value premium and the size effect. Within this model, each factor presents to investors an opportunity to boost mean return in exchange for bearing more violent variation of return. The Carhart four-factor model adds a momentum effect as an additional risk factor. Should implied market volatility (the “investor fear gauge”), as measured by such variables as the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) be a fifth risk factor? In their February 2007 paper entitled “Fear and the Fama-French Factors”, Robert Durand, Dominic Lim and Kenton Zumwalt examine the case for adding investor expectations for overall market volatility (a “fear factor”) to establish a five-factor model of equity market behavior. Using daily data for the period 2/93-12/03, they find that: Keep Reading

Rise of the Machines? Attack of the Clones?

Do real live hedge funds beat mechanical trading systems designed to replicate their statistical return distribution and diversification properties? In their February 2007 paper entitled “Replication-Based Evaluation of Hedge Fund Performance”, Harry Kat and Helder Palaro update their comparison of the after-fee performances of a wide range of hedge funds to the performances of mechanical replicants. In short, they attempt to isolate true hedge fund outperformance by pitting each actual fund against a replicant that mechanically trades a basket of Eurodollar, 5-year note, 10-year note, S&P 500, Russell 2000 and GSCI futures. Their replication process assumes an existing investor portfolio (to be hedged) that is 50% S&P 500 index and 50% long-term T-bonds. Using return data for 2073 individual hedge funds and 875 funds of hedge funds through November 2006, they find that: Keep Reading

Bear Claus

As the esteemed, erudite chorus of the downside constantly reminds us, Bear Claus: Keep Reading

The Quarterly Earnings Forecast Walk-Down

How do analyst earnings forecasts vary across financial reporting periods? Does the desire of analysts to maintain a good relationship with firm management affect earnings forecasts? In their February 2007 paper entitled “Relationship Incentives and the Optimistic/Pessimistic Pattern in Analysts’ Forecasts”, Robert Libby, James Hunton, Hun-Tong Tan and Nicholas Seybert report the results of controlled blind experiments involving experienced sell-side financial analysts that address these questions. Using information gained from “training sessions” for a group of 47 analysts from a single large investment banking/brokerage firm and 34 analysts from a medium-sized regional brokerage firm, they conclude that: Keep Reading

The Diversity and Persistence of Quacks

Suppose quack financial advisors offered their services to naive investors. What would happen? In the December 2005 version of his paper entitled “The Market for Quacks”, Ran Spiegler applies game theory to a scenario that fits by analogy. He imagines a group of “quacks” in a price competition to attract and retain “patients” who recover with some probability, regardless of whether they pay a quack for “treatment.” If the patients were rational, they would induce that the quack services are worthless and would acquire none. However, if the patients succumb to anecdotal evidence (random, casual stories rather than statistically reliable analyses), he deduces that: Keep Reading

Buy Stocks of Companies Experts Hate?

Are the most admired companies the best investments? Or, is current state of admiration a contrarian indicator for future returns? In their February 2007 paper entitled “Stocks of Admired Companies and Despised Ones”, Deniz Anginer, Kenneth Fisher and Meir Statman test these hypotheses. The authors define state of admiration using Fortune magazine’s annual survey-based lists of “America’s Most Admired Companies.” Survey respondents are senior executives, directors and securities analysts, and the questions asked seemingly relate indirectly or directly to the investment value of the companies named. Using these lists for April 1983 (survey inception) through March 2006, associated stock return data and a separate survey of high-net worth investors, they conclude that: Keep Reading

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