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How do individual investors trade?

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  • Ingmar Nolte
  • Sandra Nolte

Abstract

This paper examines how high-frequency trading decisions of individual investors are influenced by past price changes. Specifically, we address the question as to whether decisions to open or close a position are different when investors already hold a position compared with when they do not. Based on a unique data set from an electronic foreign exchange trading platform, OANDA FXTrade, we find that investors’ future order flow is (significantly) driven by past price movements and that these predictive patterns last up to several hours. This observation clearly shows that for high-frequency trading, investors rely on previous price movements in making future investment decisions. We provide clear evidence that market and limit orders flows are much more predictable if those orders are submitted to close an existing position than if they are used to open one. We interpret this finding as evidence for the existence of a monitoring effect, which has implications for theoretical market microstructure models and behavioral finance phenomena, such as the endowment effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingmar Nolte & Sandra Nolte, 2012. "How do individual investors trade?," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(10), pages 921-947, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjfi:v:18:y:2012:i:10:p:921-947 DOI: 10.1080/1351847X.2011.601647
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ramazan Gençay & Nikola Gradojevic & Richard Olsen & Faruk Selçuk, 2015. "Informed traders’ arrival in foreign exchange markets: Does geography matter?," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 1431-1462.
    2. Vasios, Michalis & Payne, Richard & Nolte, Ingmar, 2015. "Profiting from Mimicking Strategies in Non-Anonymous Markets," MPRA Paper 61710, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. King, Michael R. & Osler, Carol L. & Rime, Dagfinn, 2013. "The market microstructure approach to foreign exchange: Looking back and looking forward," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 95-119.
    4. Ledenyov, Dimitri O. & Ledenyov, Viktor O., 2015. "Wave function method to forecast foreign currencies exchange rates at ultra high frequency electronic trading in foreign currencies exchange markets," MPRA Paper 67470, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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