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The Disposition Effect and Momentum

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  • Mark Grinblatt
  • Bing Han

Abstract

Prior experimental and empirical research documents that many investors have a lower propensity to sell those stocks on which they have a capital loss. This behavioral phenomenon, known as 'the disposition effect,' has implications for equilibrium prices. We investigate the temporal pattern of stock prices in an equilibrium that aggregates the demand functions of both rational and disposition investors. The disposition effect creates a spread between a stock's fundamental value -- the stock price that would exist in the absence of a disposition effect -- and its market price. Even when a stock's fundamental value follows a random walk, and thus is unpredictable, its equilibrium price will tend to underreact to information. Spread convergence, arising from the random evolution of fundamental values, generates predictable equilibrium prices. This convergence implies that stocks with large past price runups and stocks on which most investors experienced capital gains have higher expected returns that those that have experienced large declines and capital losses. The profitability of a momentum strategy, which makes use of this spread, depends on the path of past stock prices. Crosssectional empirical tests of the model find that stocks with large aggregate unrealized capital gains tend to have higher expected returns than stocks with large aggregate unrealized capital losses and that this capital gains 'overhang' appears to be the key variable that generates the profitability of a momentum strategy. When this capital gains variable is used as a regressor along with past returns and volume to predict future returns, the momentum effect disappears.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8734.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8734

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kaustia, Markku, 2004. "Market-wide impact of the disposition effect: evidence from IPO trading volume," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 207-235, February.
  2. Du, Ding, 2008. "The 52-week high and momentum investing in international stock indexes," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 61-77, February.
  3. Newton, Da Costa Jr & Carlos, Mineto & Sergio, Da Silva, 2006. "Disposition effect and gender," MPRA Paper 1848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Grinblatt, Mark & Moskowitz, Tobias J., 2004. "Predicting stock price movements from past returns: the role of consistency and tax-loss selling," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 541-579, March.
  5. Luis Muga & Rafael SantamarĂ­a, 2009. "Momentum, market states and investor behavior," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 105-130, September.
  6. Seow Ong & Poh Neo & Yong Tu, 2008. "Foreclosure Sales: The Effects of Price Expectations, Volatility and Equity Losses," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 265-287, April.
  7. Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "From Efficient Markets Theory to Behavioral Finance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 83-104, Winter.
  8. Glaser, Markus & Weber, Martin, 2002. "Momentum and Turnover: Evidence from the German Stock Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 3353, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Locke, Peter R. & Mann, Steven C., 2005. "Professional trader discipline and trade disposition," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 401-444, May.
  10. Mihir A. Desai & James R. Hines Jr., 2002. "Expectations and Expatriations: Tracing the Causes and Consequences of Corporate Inversions," NBER Working Papers 9057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Croonenbroeck, Carsten & Matkovskyy, Roman, 2013. "Is the market held by institutional investors? The disposition effect revisited," Discussion Papers 338, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
  12. Wang, Daxue, 2008. "Are anomalies still anomalous? An examination of momentum strategies in four financial markets," IESE Research Papers D/775, IESE Business School.

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