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Costly arbitrage and idiosyncratic risk: Evidence from short sellers

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  • Duan, Ying
  • Hu, Gang
  • McLean, R. David

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that high short interest stocks have low subsequent returns. We test whether the persistence of this effect is due to costs limiting arbitrage. The arbitrage cost that we focus on is idiosyncratic risk which, regardless of the arbitrageur's level of diversification, deters arbitrage activity. Consistent with costly arbitrage, we find that among high short interest stocks a one standard deviation increase in idiosyncratic risk predicts a more than 1% decline in monthly returns. Moreover, idiosyncratic risk does not predict returns across low short interest stocks, and short interest does not predict low returns across low idiosyncratic risk stocks. Our results are robust to commonly used proxies for both transaction costs and short sale constraints.

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  • Duan, Ying & Hu, Gang & McLean, R. David, 2010. "Costly arbitrage and idiosyncratic risk: Evidence from short sellers," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 564-579, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinin:v:19:y:2010:i:4:p:564-579
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    Cited by:

    1. David Hirshleifer & Siew Hong Teoh & Jeff Jiewei Yu, 2011. "Short Arbitrage, Return Asymmetry, and the Accrual Anomaly," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(7), pages 2429-2461.
    2. Jiang, Danling & Peterson, David R. & Doran, James S., 2014. "Short-sale constraints and the idiosyncratic volatility puzzle: An event study approach," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 36-59.
    3. Chris Godfrey & Chris Brooks, 2015. "The Negative Credit Risk Premium Puzzle: A Limits to Arbitrage Story," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2015-07, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    4. Yu-En Lin & Hsiang-Hsuan Chih & Chia-Hsin Cheng & Yan-Qing Ku, 2016. "Market Competition, Arbitrage Risk, And Capital Structure: Evidence From Taiwan," Annals of Financial Economics (AFE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 11(01), pages 1-11, March.
    5. Lam, F.Y. Eric C. & Wei, K.C. John, 2011. "Limits-to-arbitrage, investment frictions, and the asset growth anomaly," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 127-149, October.
    6. Hoje Jo & Haejung Na, 2012. "Does CSR Reduce Firm Risk? Evidence from Controversial Industry Sectors," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 110(4), pages 441-456, November.
    7. 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.
    8. Malagon, Juliana & Moreno, David & Rodríguez, Rosa, 2015. "The idiosyncratic volatility anomaly: Corporate investment or investor mispricing?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 224-238.
    9. Doran, James & Jiang, Danling & Peterson, David, 2007. "Short-Sale Constraints and the Non-January Idiosyncratic Volatility Puzzle," MPRA Paper 4995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Henry, Tyler R. & Kisgen, Darren J. & Wu, Juan (Julie), 2015. "Equity short selling and bond rating downgrades," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 89-111.
    11. Cheema, Muhammad A. & Nartea, Gilbert V., 2014. "Momentum returns and information uncertainty: Evidence from China," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 173-188.
    12. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong & Yu, Jeff Jiewei, 2007. "Do short-sellers arbrtrage accrual-based return anomalies?," MPRA Paper 5510, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 27 Oct 2007.
    13. Cao, Jie & Han, Bing, 2016. "Idiosyncratic risk, costly arbitrage, and the cross-section of stock returns," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-15.

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