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The Year-End Trading Activities of Institutional Investors: Evidence from Daily Trades


  • Gang Hu
  • R. David McLean
  • Jeffrey Pontiff
  • Qinghai Wang


At year-end, some allege that institutional investors try to mislead investors by placing trades that inflate performance (portfolio pumping) or distort reported holdings (window dressing). We contribute direct tests using daily institutional trades and find that year-end price inflation derives from a lack of institutional selling rather than institutional buying. In fact, institutional buying declines at year-end. Consistent with pumping, institutions tend to buy stocks in which they already have large positions. We find no evidence of window dressing, as institutions are not more likely to buy high-past return stocks or sell low-past return stocks at year- or quarter-end.

Suggested Citation

  • Gang Hu & R. David McLean & Jeffrey Pontiff & Qinghai Wang, 2014. "The Year-End Trading Activities of Institutional Investors: Evidence from Daily Trades," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(5), pages 1593-1614.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:27:y:2014:i:5:p:1593-1614.

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    Cited by:

    1. Møller, Stig V. & Rangvid, Jesper, 2015. "End-of-the-year economic growth and time-varying expected returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 136-154.
    2. Bhattacharya, Utpal & Wei, Kelsey D. & Xia, Han, 2019. "Follow the money: Investor trading around investor-paid credit rating changes," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 68-91.
    3. Agarwal, Vikas & Barber, Brad M. & Cheng, Si & Hameed, Allaudeen & Shanker, Harshini & Yasuda, Ayako, 2023. "Do investors overvalue startups? Evidence from the junior stakes of mutual funds," CFR Working Papers 23-04, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    4. Kazuki Onji & Masanori Orihara, 2016. "Taxes, stock ownership, and payout policy: Evidence from a 2011 tax reform in Japan," Discussion papers ron278, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan.
    5. Thomas Richter, 2021. "Central Counterparties and Liquidity Provision in Cash Markets," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 14(12), pages 1-26, December.
    6. Hu, Gang & Jo, Koren M. & Wang, Yi Alex & Xie, Jing, 2018. "Institutional trading and Abel Noser data," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 143-167.
    7. Jun, Xiao & Li, Mingsheng & Yugang, Chen, 2017. "Catering to behavioral demand for dividends and its potential agency issue," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 46(PB), pages 269-291.
    8. Agarwal, Vikas & Gay, Gerald D. & Ling, Leng, 2014. "Window dressing in mutual funds," CFR Working Papers 11-07 [rev.3], University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    9. Chen, Yangyang & Hu, Gang & Yu, Danlei Bonnie & Zhao, Jingran, 2019. "Catastrophic risk and institutional investors: Evidence from institutional trading around 9/11," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 211-233.
    10. Zhe Chen & David R. Gallagher & Adrian D. Lee & Tom Smith, 2017. "Testing the effect of portfolio holdings disclosure in an environment absent of mandatory disclosure," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 57(1), pages 113-129, March.
    11. Neupane, Biwesh & Thapa, Chandra & Marshall, Andrew & Neupane, Suman, 2021. "Mimicking insider trades," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    12. Chakravarty, Sugato & Ray, Rina, 2020. "On short-term institutional trading skill, behavioral biases, and liquidity need," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    13. Chemmanur, Thomas J. & Hu, Gang & Wei, K.C. John, 2021. "The role of institutional investors in corporate and entrepreneurial finance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    14. Lai, Wan-Ni, 2016. "Do academic investment insights benefit society?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 172-176.
    15. Hung, Pi-Hsia & Lien, Donald & Kuo, Ming-Sin, 2020. "Window dressing in equity mutual funds," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 338-354.
    16. Gormley, Todd A. & Kaplan, Zachary & Verma, Aadhaar, 2022. "More informative disclosures, less informative prices? Portfolio and price formation around quarter-ends," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 665-688.
    17. Davis, Frederick & Khadivar, Hamed & Walker, Thomas J., 2021. "Institutional trading in firms rumored to be takeover targets," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    18. Duong, Truong X. & Meschke, Felix, 2020. "The rise and fall of portfolio pumping among U.S. mutual funds," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    19. Muñoz, Fernando & Ortiz, Cristina & Vicente, Luis, 2022. "Ethical window dressing: SRI funds are as good as their word," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(C).
    20. Saurin Patel & Sergei Sarkissian & Lauren Cohen, 0. "Portfolio Pumping and Managerial Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 194-226.
    21. Ouyang, Liangyi & Cao, Bolong, 2020. "Selective pump-and-dump: The manipulation of their top holdings by Chinese mutual funds around quarter-ends," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(C).
    22. Robin Koepke & Simon Paetzold, 2024. "Capital flow data—A guide for empirical analysis and real‐time tracking," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 311-331, January.
    23. Vikas Agarwal & Brad Barber & Si Cheng & Allaudeen Hameed & Ayako Yasuda, 2023. "Private Company Valuations by Mutual Funds," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 27(2), pages 693-738.
    24. Ching-Chang Wang & Jerry Yu, 2018. "The holdings markup behavior of mutual funds: evidence from an emerging market," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 393-414, February.
    25. Brown, Stephen J. & Sotes-Paladino, Juan & Wang, Jiaguo(George) & Yao, Yaqiong, 2017. "Starting on the wrong foot: Seasonality in mutual fund performance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 133-150.

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