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Driven to Distraction: Extraneous Events and Underreaction to Earnings News

  • DAVID HIRSHLEIFER
  • SONYA SEONGYEON LIM
  • SIEW HONG TEOH

Recent studies propose that limited investor attention causes market underreactions. This paper directly tests this explanation by measuring the information load faced by investors. The "investor distraction hypothesis" holds that extraneous news inhibits market reactions to relevant news. We find that the immediate price and volume reaction to a firm's earnings surprise is much weaker, and post-announcement drift much stronger, when a greater number of same-day earnings announcements are made by other firms. We evaluate the economic importance of distraction effects through a trading strategy, which yields substantial alphas. Industry-unrelated news and large earnings surprises have a stronger distracting effect. Copyright (c) 2009 the American Finance Association.

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Article provided by American Finance Association in its journal The Journal of Finance.

Volume (Year): 64 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 2289-2325

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:64:y:2009:i:5:p:2289-2325
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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Information and Competitive Price Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 246-53, May.
  2. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2003. "Limited attention, information disclosure, and financial reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 337-386, December.
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  7. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
  8. Brennan, Michael J & Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Swaminathan, Bhaskaran, 1993. "Investment Analysis and the Adjustment of Stock Prices to Common Information," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 799-824.
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  10. Bagnoli, Mark & Clement, Michael & Watts, Susan G., 2005. "Around-the-Clock Media Coverage and the Timing of Earnings Announcements," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1184, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  11. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2000. "Trading Is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 773-806, 04.
  12. Stefano DellaVigna & Joshua M. Pollet, 2007. "Demographics and Industry Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1667-1702, December.
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  15. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  16. Hirshleifer, David & Lim, Seongyeon & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2004. "Disclosure to an Audience with Limited Attention," Working Paper Series 2004-21, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
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