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Financial Leverage and Market Volatility with Diverse Beliefs

  • Wen-Chung Guo


  • Frank Yong Wang
  • Ho-Mou Wu

We develop a model of asset trading with financial leverage in an economy with a continuum of investors. The investors are assumed to have diverse and rational beliefs in the sense of being compatible with observed data. We show that an increase in leverage ratio may cause the stock price to rise in the current period because it increases the demand of optimistic investors through a leverage effect, and will result in pyramiding and depyramiding phenomena for stock prices in the subsequent period. Our results also suggest that an increase in leverage ratio also results in an increase in price volatility as well, however, under certain conditions. Price changes from pyramiding effect are also negatively associated with margin requirements. Price changes from depyramiding effect, however, may not be affected when margin calls are not triggered. Furthermore, the influences of dispersion of opinion, investment funds, and investors anticipations are also examined.

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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Finance Working Papers with number 22887.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eab:financ:22887
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  1. Paul Kupiec, 1998. "Margin Requirements, Volatility, and Market Integrity: What Have We Learned Since the Crash?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 231-255, June.
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  4. Ho-Mou Wu & Wen-Chung Guo, 2004. "Asset price volatility and trading volume with rational beliefs," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 795-829, May.
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  12. J. Michael Harrison & David M. Kreps, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-336.
  13. Biais, Bruno & Gollier, Christian, 1997. "Trade Credit and Credit Rationing," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(4), pages 903-37.
  14. Gikas A. Hardouvelis & Stavros Peristiani, 1992. "Margin Requirements, Speculative Trading, and Stock Price Fluctuations: The Case of Japan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1333-1370.
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  19. Gikas A. Hardouvelis & Panayiotis Theodossiou, 2002. "The Asymmetric Relation Between Initial Margin Requirements and Stock Market Volatility Across Bull and Bear Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(5), pages 1525-1560.
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  31. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
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