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Luck versus Forecast Ability: Determinants of Trader Performance in Futures Markets

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  • Hartzmark, Michael L

Abstract

Statistical techniques are used to demonstrate that the fortunes of individual futures traders are determined by luck, not forecast ability. Even though a large number of traders appear to exhibit significantly superior forecast ability, the investigation strongly supports three conclusions: there are fewer participants with significantly superior skill than expected if participants trade randomly, there are more traders exhibiting no skill than expected if participants trade randomly, and forecast ability is not correlated over time--superior forecasters in the early period are only average forecasters in the later period. Therefore it is luck that determines trader performance. Copyright 1991 by University of Chicago Press.

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  • Hartzmark, Michael L, 1991. "Luck versus Forecast Ability: Determinants of Trader Performance in Futures Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(1), pages 49-74, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jnlbus:v:64:y:1991:i:1:p:49-74
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolosi, Gina & Peng, Liang & Zhu, Ning, 2009. "Do individual investors learn from their trading experience?," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 317-336, May.
    2. Weiner, Robert J., 2000. "Sheep in Wolves' Clothing?," Cahiers de recherche 0001, GREEN.
    3. Goulas, Lambros & Skiadopoulos, George, 2012. "Are freight futures markets efficient? Evidence from IMAREX," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 644-659.
    4. Konstantinidi, Eirini & Skiadopoulos, George, 2011. "Are VIX futures prices predictable? An empirical investigation," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 543-560, April.
    5. Buchanan, W. K. & Hodges, P. & Theis, J., 2001. "Which way the natural gas price: an attempt to predict the direction of natural gas spot price movements using trader positions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 279-293, May.
    6. W. Bruce Canoles & Sarahelen Thompson & Scott Irwin & Virginia Grace France, 1998. "An analysis of the profiles and motivations of habitual commodity speculators," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(7), pages 765-801, October.
    7. Aaron Tornell & Chunming Yuan, 2012. "Speculation and hedging in the currency futures markets: Are they informative to the spot exchange rates," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(2), pages 122-151, February.
    8. Mutafoglu, Takvor H. & Tokat, Ekin & Tokat, Hakki A., 2012. "Forecasting precious metal price movements using trader positions," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 273-280.
    9. Büyükşahin, Bahattin & Robe, Michel A., 2014. "Speculators, commodities and cross-market linkages," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 38-70.
    10. Oliver Blaskowitz & Helmut Herwartz, 2009. "Adaptive forecasting of the EURIBOR swap term structure," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 575-594.
    11. Changyun Wang, 2003. "The behavior and performance of major types of futures traders," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 1-31, January.
    12. Greer, Mark, 2003. "Directional accuracy tests of long-term interest rate forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 291-298.
    13. Chua, Choong Tze & Lai, Sandy & Wu, Yangru, 2008. "Effective fair pricing of international mutual funds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 2307-2324, November.
    14. Anton Andriyashin, 2008. "Stock Picking via Nonsymmetrically Pruned Binary Decision Trees," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-035, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    15. Hanaki, Nobuyuki & Kirman, Alan & Marsili, Matteo, 2011. "Born under a lucky star?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 382-392, March.
    16. Kocagil, Ahmet E. & Topyan, Kudret, 1997. "An empirical note on demand for speculation and futures risk premium: A Kalman Filter application," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 77-93.
    17. Andersson, Patric, 2004. "How well do financial experts perform? A review of empirical research on performance of analysts, day-traders, forecasters, fund managers, investors, and stockbrokers," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration 2004:9, Stockholm School of Economics.
    18. Anatolyev Stanislav, 2009. "Multi-Market Direction-of-Change Modeling Using Dependence Ratios," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-24, March.
    19. Sanders, Dwight R. & Boris, Keith & Manfredo, Mark, 2004. "Hedgers, funds, and small speculators in the energy futures markets: an analysis of the CFTC's Commitments of Traders reports," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 425-445, May.
    20. Adjemian, Michael K. & Bruno, Valentina G. & Robe, Michel A., 2016. "Forward‐Looking USDA Price Forecasts," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235931, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    21. M. Numan Ünlü, 2008. "Expectations of Professionals in The Turkish Stock Market: a Study of a Monthly Reuters Survey," Bogazici Journal, Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 22(1+2), pages 1-16.
    22. Lim, Terence & Lo, Andrew W. & Merton, Robert C. & Scholes, Myron S., 2006. "The Derivatives Sourcebook," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 1(5–6), pages 365-572, April.
    23. Li, Ziran, 2017. "Three essays on commodity markets," ISU General Staff Papers 201701010800006361, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    24. Lipe, M. G., 1998. "Individual investors' risk judgments and investment decisions: The impact of accounting and market data," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 625-640, October.
    25. Adjemian, Michael K. & Garcia, Philip & Irwin, Scott & Smith, Aaron, 2013. "Non-Convergence in Domestic Commodity Futures Markets: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies," Economic Information Bulletin 155381, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

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