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Short Sale Constraints and Stock Returns

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  • Charles M. Jones
  • Owen A. Lamont

Abstract

Stocks can be overpriced when short sale constraints bind. We study the costs of short selling equities, 1926-1933, using the publicly observable market for borrowing stock. Some stocks are sometimes expensive to short, and it appears that stocks enter the borrowing market when shorting demand is high. We find that stocks that are expensive to short or which enter the borrowing market have high valuations and low subsequent returns, consistent with the overpricing hypothesis. Size-adjusted returns are one to two percent lower per month for new entrants, and despite high costs it is profitable to short them.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8494.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8494

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  1. Liu, Jun & Longstaff, Francis A, 2000. "Losing Money on Arbitrages: Optimal Dynamic Portfolio Choice in Markets with Arbitrage Opportunities," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt48k8f97f, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
  2. Miller, Edward M, 1977. "Risk, Uncertainty, and Divergence of Opinion," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1151-68, September.
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  5. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," NBER Working Papers 5167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  7. Figlewski, Stephen & Webb, Gwendolyn P, 1993. " Options, Short Sales, and Market Completeness," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 761-77, June.
  8. James L. Davis & Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, . "Characteristics, Covariances, and Average Returns: 1929 to 1997," CRSP working papers 359, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  9. Duffie, Darrell, 1996. " Special Repo Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 493-526, June.
  10. Figlewski, Stephen, 1981. "The Informational Effects of Restrictions on Short Sales: Some Empirical Evidence," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 463-476, November.
  11. Diamond, Douglas W. & Verrecchia, Robert E., 1987. "Constraints on short-selling and asset price adjustment to private information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 277-311, June.
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