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Momentum or contrarian investment strategies: Evidence from Dutch institutional investors

  • de Haan, Leo
  • Kakes, Jan

This paper analyses investment strategies of three types of Dutch institutional investors - pension funds, life insurers and non-life insurers - over the period 1999-2005. We use balance sheet and cash flow data, including purchases and sales of equity, fixed income and real estate. We trace asset reallocations back to both active trading and revaluations and link investment decisions to firm-specific characteristics and macroeconomic variables. Overall, our results indicate that all three investor types tend to be contrarian traders, i.e. they buy past losers and sell past winners. Especially pension funds showed this behaviour in the most turbulent part of the sample - the crash of 2002 and early 2003 - implying that these institutions have a stabilising impact on financial markets when this is needed most. Life insurers tend to be contrarian traders when they have a high proportion of unit-linked policies, while non-life insurers are contrarian when they have a more risky business model.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Banking & Finance.

Volume (Year): 35 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 (September)
Pages: 2245-2251

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:35:y:2011:i:9:p:2245-2251
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  1. de Haan, Leo & Kakes, Jan, 2010. "Are non-risk based capital requirements for insurance companies binding?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1618-1627, July.
  2. Chiang, Thomas C. & Zheng, Dazhi, 2010. "An empirical analysis of herd behavior in global stock markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1911-1921, August.
  3. Jacob A. Bikker & Laura Spierdijk & Paul Finnie, 2007. "Stock market performance and pension fund investment policy: rebalancing, free float, or market timing?," DNB Working Papers 156, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  4. Mark Grinblatt & Matti Keloharju, 2000. "What Makes Investors Trade?," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm146, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Nov 2001.
  5. Lo, Andrew W & MacKinlay, A Craig, 1990. "When Are Contrarian Profits Due to Stock Market Overreaction?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(2), pages 175-205.
  6. S.G. Badrinath & Sunil Wahal, 2002. "Momentum Trading by Institutions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2449-2478, December.
  7. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
  8. Ferstl, Robert & Weissensteiner, Alex, 2011. "Asset-liability management under time-varying investment opportunities," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 182-192, January.
  9. Asem, Ebenezer, 2009. "Dividends and price momentum," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 486-494, March.
  10. Grinblatt, Mark & Titman, Sheridan & Wermers, Russ, 1995. "Momentum Investment Strategies, Portfolio Performance, and Herding: A Study of Mutual Fund Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1088-1105, December.
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