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How Smart Are the Smart Guys? A Unique View from Hedge Fund Stock Holdings

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  • John M. Griffin
  • Jin Xu

Abstract

Compared to mutual funds, hedge funds prefer smaller, opaque value securities, and have higher turnover and more active share bets. Decomposing returns into three components, we find that hedge funds are better than mutual funds at stock picking by only 1.32% per year on a value-weighted basis, and this result is insignificant on an equal-weighted basis or with price-to-sales benchmarks. Hedge funds exhibit no ability to time sectors or pick better stock styles. Surprisingly, we find only weak evidence of differential ability between hedge funds. Overall, our study raises serious questions about the perceived superior skill of hedge fund managers. The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Griffin & Jin Xu, 2009. "How Smart Are the Smart Guys? A Unique View from Hedge Fund Stock Holdings," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(7), pages 2331-2370, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:7:p:2331-2370
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