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Do Stock Market Investors Overreact?


  • Gishan Dissanaike

    (Judge Institute of Management Studies, University of Cambridge)


This paper investigates the evidence on the stock market overreaction hypothesis (ORH), which holds that, if stock prices systematically overshoot as a consequence of excessive investor optimism or pessimism, price reversals should be predictable from past price performance. The ORH stands in contradiction to the efficient markets hypothesis which is a cornerstone of financial economics. This study is unique in the overreaction literature because it is restricted to larger and better-known listed companies, whose shares are more frequently traded. This restriction more or less eliminates two alternative explanations to the overreaction hypothesis: it minimises the influence of bid-ask biases and infrequent trading, and reduces the possibility that reversals are primarily a small-firm phenomenon. The paper also investigates a third alternative explanation, namely that time-varying risk explains the reversal effect. The study employs unbiased methods of return computation and uses data from 1975 to 1991 for nearly 1,000 UK companies. Overall, the evidence appears to be consistent with the overreaction hypothesis, subject to certain qualifications. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1997.

Suggested Citation

  • Gishan Dissanaike, 1997. "Do Stock Market Investors Overreact?," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 27-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:24:y:1997-01:i:1:p:27-50

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    Cited by:

    1. Dumitriu, Ramona & Stefanescu, Razvan & Nistor, Costel, 2012. "Reactions of the capital markets to the shocks before and during the global crisis," MPRA Paper 41540, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Jan 2012.
    2. repec:spr:empeco:v:52:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1101-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hon, Mark T. & Tonks, Ian, 2003. "Momentum in the UK stock market," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 43-70, February.
    4. Inga Chira, 2014. "Bad news and bank performance during the 2008 financial crisis," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(18), pages 1187-1198, September.
    5. Lasfer, M. Ameziane & Melnik, Arie & Thomas, Dylan C., 2003. "Short-term reaction of stock markets in stressful circumstances," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(10), pages 1959-1977, October.
    6. Baytas, Ahmet & Cakici, Nusret, 1999. "Do markets overreact: International evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 1121-1144, July.
    7. Galariotis, Emilios C. & Holmes, Phil & Ma, Xiaodong S., 2007. "Contrarian and momentum profitability revisited: Evidence from the London Stock Exchange 1964-2005," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 432-447, December.
    8. Patricia Fraser & Martin Hoesli & Lynn McAlevey, 2008. "House Prices and Bubbles in New Zealand," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 71-91, July.
    9. Madura, Jeff & Bers, Martina K., 2002. "The performance persistence of foreign closed-end funds," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 263-285.
    10. Hisham Farag, 2014. "Investor overreaction and unobservable portfolios: evidence from an emerging market," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(20), pages 1313-1322, October.
    11. Dimitris Kenourgios & Nikolaos Pavlidis, 2005. "Individual Analysts’ Earnings Forecasts: Evidence for Overreaction in the UK Stock Market," Finance 0512011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Gaunt, Clive, 2000. "Overreaction in the Australian equity market: 1974-1997," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 8(3-4), pages 375-398, July.

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