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Stock markets are not what we think they are: the key roles of cross-ownership and corporate treasury stock

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  • Roehner, Bertrand M.

Abstract

We describe, document and statistically test three mechanisms by which corporations can influence or even control stock prices: (i) Parent and holding companies wield control over other publicly traded companies. (ii) Through clever management of treasury stock based on buyback programs and stock issuance, stock price fluctuations can be amplified or curbed. The shock of September 11, 2001 is used to test this effect. (iii) Finally, historical evidence shows that there is a close interdependence between the level of stock prices on the one hand and merger and acquisition activity on the other hand: on average, a 10% increase in the number of mergers brings about a 3% increase in the overall level of stock prices. If one adds up buybacks, initial public offerings and takeover transactions, all of which depend upon strategic decisions taken by corporate management, they represent on average 7.2% of the trade on the New York Stock Exchange over the period 1987–2003 (as much as 12% in specific years such as 1988). This perspective, in which the Boards of Directors of major companies “shepherd” the market, offers a natural interpretation of the so-called “herd behavior” observed in stock markets. The traditional view holds that, by driving profit expectations, corporations have an indirect role in shaping the market. In this paper, we suggest that over the last decades they became more and more the direct moving force of stock markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Roehner, Bertrand M., 2005. "Stock markets are not what we think they are: the key roles of cross-ownership and corporate treasury stock," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 347(C), pages 613-625.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:347:y:2005:i:c:p:613-625
    DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2004.09.020
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. R. Mantegna, 1999. "Hierarchical structure in financial markets," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 11(1), pages 193-197, September.
    2. Stauffer, Dietrich & Sornette, Didier, 1999. "Self-organized percolation model for stock market fluctuations," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 271(3), pages 496-506.
    3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521802635 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bonanno, Giovanni & Lillo, Fabrizio & Mantegna, Rosario N., 2001. "Levels of complexity in financial markets," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 299(1), pages 16-27.
    5. S. Drozdz & J. Kwapien & F. Gruemmer & F. Ruf & J. Speth, 2001. "Quantifying dynamics of the financial correlations," Papers cond-mat/0102402, arXiv.org.
    6. Plerou, V. & Gopikrishnan, P. & Rosenow, B. & Amaral, L.A.N. & Stanley, H.E., 2001. "Collective behavior of stock price movements—a random matrix theory approach," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 299(1), pages 175-180.
    7. Maslov, Sergei & Roehner, Bertrand M, 2004. "The conundrum of stock versus bond prices," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 335(1), pages 164-182.
    8. Kyungsik Kim & Seong-Min Yoon & J. S. Choi & Hideki Takayasu, 2004. "Herd Behaviors in Financial Markets," Papers cond-mat/0405172, arXiv.org.
    9. Drożdż, S. & Kwapień, J. & Grümmer, F. & Ruf, F. & Speth, J., 2001. "Quantifying the dynamics of financial correlations," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 299(1), pages 144-153.
    10. Kyungsik Kim & Seong-Min Yoon, 2004. "Phase Transition of Dynamical Herd Behaviors in Financial Markets," Papers cond-mat/0408625, arXiv.org.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:sol:spaper:2013/149192 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chapelle, Ariane & Szafarz, Ariane, 2005. "Controlling firms through the majority voting rule," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 355(2), pages 509-529.
    3. Bertrand M. Roehner, 2005. "Macro-players in stock markets," Papers physics/0502045, arXiv.org.

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