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An experimental study of trading volume and divergence of expectations in relation to earnings announcement


  • Thanh Huong Dinh
  • Jean-François Gajewski


The objective is to study from an experimental point of view investors' reactions to the announcement of annual earnings in terms of trading volume. Annual net income is seen by shareholders as the most important figure, since it is, for individual accounts, the basis for determining profit by the shareholders' general meeting. In the experiment, this is announced at the end of eight rounds of exchange. Every two periods, a fraction of the annual income is revealed to all the participants. Thus they periodically revise their expectations as to the annual results. The experiment shows that the divergence of expectations does not decrease when investors have more information about the final results. This is the main explanation for transactions in our experimental asset markets. However, too large a divergence prevents investors from trading. As expected, price changes in absolute value influence trading volume. But this effect is smaller than the impact of heterogeneity of expectations. L'objectif de cette étude est d'observer, d'un point de vue expérimental, la réaction des investisseurs lors de la diffusion des bénéfices annuels d'une entreprise en termes de volume de transactions. Le revenu net annuel est perçu par les actionnaires comme l'indice le plus important, étant responsable de la détermination des gains individuels à l'assemblée des actionnaires. Au cours de l'expérience, cet indice est annoncé après huit rondes d'échanges. Une fraction du revenu annuel est annoncé à tous les participants une période sur deux. Ainsi, les participants révisent périodiquement leurs attentes face aux résultats annuels. L'expérience démontre que la divergence des attentes ne diminue pas lorsque les investisseurs possèdent plus d'information sur les résultats finaux. C'est ce qui explique principalement les transactions obtenues dans notre marché d'actifs expérimental. Cependant, une divergence trop importante empêche les investisseurs d'effectuer des transactions. Comme prévu, les changements de prix en valeur absolue influencent le volume de transactions. Cette conséquence est toutefois moins importante que l'impact de l'hétérogénéité des attentes.

Suggested Citation

  • Thanh Huong Dinh & Jean-François Gajewski, 2007. "An experimental study of trading volume and divergence of expectations in relation to earnings announcement," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-24, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2007s-24

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:bla:joares:v:29:y:1991:i:2:p:302-321 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-137, February.
    3. Kandel, Eugene & Pearson, Neil D, 1995. "Differential Interpretation of Public Signals and Trade in Speculative Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 831-872, August.
    4. Jennings, Robert H & Starks, Laura T & Fellingham, John C, 1981. "An Equilibrium Model of Asset Trading with Sequential Information Arrival," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 143-161, March.
    5. Theissen, Erik, 2000. "Market structure, informational efficiency and liquidity: An experimental comparison of auction and dealer markets," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 333-363, November.
    6. Copeland, Thomas E, 1976. "A Model of Asset Trading under the Assumption of Sequential Information Arrival," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1149-1168, September.
    7. Bamber, Linda Smith & Barron, Orie E. & Stober, Thomas L., 1999. "Differential Interpretations and Trading Volume," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(03), pages 369-386, September.
    8. Karpoff, Jonathan M., 1987. "The Relation between Price Changes and Trading Volume: A Survey," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 109-126, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Dan & Li, Geng, 2014. "Are Household Investors Noise Traders: Evidence from Belief Dispersion and Stock Trading Volume," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Dan Li & Geng Li, 2011. "Belief dispersion among household investors and stock trading volume," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-39, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item


    trading volume; heterogeneity of expectations; earnings announcement and experimental asset markets; volume de transactions; hétérogénéité des attentes; annonce des bénéfices; marchés d'actifs expérimentaux;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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