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Arbitrage Asymmetry and the Idiosyncratic Volatility Puzzle

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  • ROBERT F. STAMBAUGH
  • JIANFENG YU
  • YU YUAN

Abstract

type="main"> Buying is easier than shorting for many equity investors. Combining this arbitrage asymmetry with the arbitrage risk represented by idiosyncratic volatility (IVOL) explains the negative relation between IVOL and average return. The IVOL-return relation is negative among overpriced stocks but positive among underpriced stocks, with mispricing determined by combining 11 return anomalies. Consistent with arbitrage asymmetry, the negative relation among overpriced stocks is stronger, especially for stocks less easily shorted, so the overall IVOL-return relation is negative. Further supporting our explanation, high investor sentiment weakens the positive relation among underpriced stocks and, especially, strengthens the negative relation among overpriced stocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert F. Stambaugh & Jianfeng Yu & Yu Yuan, 2015. "Arbitrage Asymmetry and the Idiosyncratic Volatility Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(5), pages 1903-1948, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:70:y:2015:i:5:p:1903-1948
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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