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The Role of Book Income, Web Traffic, and Supply and Demand in the Pricing of U.S. Internet Stocks

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  • John R. M. Hand

Abstract

In this paper I assess the degree of similarity in the cross-sectional pricing of Internet and non-Internet stocks during the tumultuous year of 2000. Despite large differences in their economic fundamentals, I find that the equity market values of Internet firms with immaterial web traffic, firms that are randomly selected, and firms that went public at the same time as Internet firms are similarly related to analysts' forecasts of earnings in 2001 and the long-term rate of growth in earnings. This is not the case for firms with intensive web traffic. I also find that at the peak of Internet prices in March 2000 the market rewarded losses of web-traffic-intensive firms but did not reward profits, while after the peak the market reversed its view, rewarding profits but not losses. Beyond earnings, web traffic is significantly positively priced both at and after the Internet peak. However, I find no evidence that two proxies for supply and demand forces – the degree of public float and short interest – are value-relevant for Internet firms. Overall, I argue that there are enough similarities in the cross-sectional pricing of Internet and non-Internet firms to make it unlikely that the pricing of Internet stocks during 2000 was entirely irrational. Moreover, any irrationality in the prices of Internet stocks cannot be linked to public float and short interest. JEL classifications: G12, G14, M41.

Suggested Citation

  • John R. M. Hand, 2001. "The Role of Book Income, Web Traffic, and Supply and Demand in the Pricing of U.S. Internet Stocks," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 5(3), pages 295-317.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revfin:v:5:y:2001:i:3:p:295-317.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1013872530040
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    Cited by:

    1. Cora Barnhart & Gerald P. Dwyer, 2012. "Returns To Investors In Stocks In New Industries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(4), pages 1031-1049, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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