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Strategic Trading and Learning About Liquidity

  • Harrison Hong
  • Sven Rady

Many practitioners point out that the speculative profits of institutional traders are eroded by the difficulty in gauging the price impact of their trades. In this paper, we develop a model of strategic trading where speculators face such a dilemma because of incomplete information about time-varying market liquidity. Unlike the competitive market makers that they trade against, informed traders do not know whether the liquidity (¶noise¶) trades are generated from a distribution with high or low variance. Instead, they have to learn about liquidity from past prices and trading volume. Extreme price deviations from forecasts of fundamentals based on public news or low trading volume tend to lead to revisions of beliefs in favor of the low liquidity state. This revision in beliefs implies that strategic trades and market statistics such as informational efficiency are path-dependent on past market outcomes. Our paper has a number of normative implications for practitioners concerned with gauging the potential price impact of their trades.

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Paper provided by Financial Markets Group in its series FMG Discussion Papers with number dp356.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fmg:fmgdps:dp356
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/fmg/

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  1. Spiegel, Matthew & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 2000. "Asymmetric Information and News Disclosure Rules," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 363-403, October.
  2. Bertsimas, Dimitris & Lo, Andrew W., 1998. "Optimal control of execution costs," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-50, April.
  3. Kerry Back & C. Henry Cao & Gregory A. Willard, 2000. "Imperfect Competition among Informed Traders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2117-2155, October.
  4. Paul A. Gompers & Andrew Metrick, . "Institutional Investors and Equity Prices," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 20-99, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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  8. Dimitri Vayanos, 2001. "Strategic Trading in a Dynamic Noisy Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 131-171, 02.
  9. Back, Kerry, 1992. "Insider Trading in Continuous Time," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 387-409.
  10. Forster, Margaret M. & George, Thomas J., 1992. "Anonymity in securities markets," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 168-206, June.
  11. Holthausen, Robert W. & Leftwich, Richard W. & Mayers, David, 1990. "Large-block transactions, the speed of response, and temporary and permanent stock-price effects," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 71-95, July.
  12. Admati, Anat R., 1991. "The informational role of prices : A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 347-361, October.
  13. Chordia, Tarun & Roll, Richard & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 2000. "Commonality in liquidity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 3-28, April.
  14. Foster, F Douglas & Viswanathan, S, 1990. "A Theory of the Interday Variations in Volume, Variance, and Trading Costs in Securities Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(4), pages 593-624.
  15. Kumar, Praveen & Seppi, Duane J, 1994. "Information and Index Arbitrage," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(4), pages 481-509, October.
  16. Fama, Eugene F, 1991. " Efficient Capital Markets: II," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1575-617, December.
  17. Kraus, Alan & Stoll, Hans R, 1972. "Price Impacts of Block Trading on the New York Stock Exchange," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 27(3), pages 569-88, June.
  18. Kyle, Albert S, 1985. "Continuous Auctions and Insider Trading," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1315-35, November.
  19. Foster, F Douglas & Viswanathan, S, 1996. " Strategic Trading When Agents Forecast the Forecasts of Others," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1437-78, September.
  20. Sanford J Grossman & Joseph E Stiglitz, 1997. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1908, David K. Levine.
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