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Disagreement and the Stock Market

  • Hong, Harrison
  • Stein, Jeremy

A large catalog of variables with no apparent connection to risk has been shown to forecast stock returns, both in the time series and the cross-section. For instance, we see medium-term momentum and post-earnings drift in returns—the tendency for stocks that have had unusually high past returns or good earnings news to continue to deliver relatively strong returns over the subsequent six to twelve months (and vice-versa for stocks with low past returns or bad earnings news); we also see longer-run fundamental reversion—the tendency for “glamour†stocks with high ratios of market value to earnings, cashflows, or book value to deliver weak returns over the subsequent several years (and vice-versa for “value†stocks with low ratios of market value to fundamentals). To explain these patterns of predictability in stock returns, we advocate a particular class of heterogeneous-agent models that we call “disagreement models.†Disagreement models may incorporate work on gradual information flow, limited attention, and heterogeneous priors, but all highlight the importance of differences in the beliefs of investors. Disagreement models hold the promise of delivering a comprehensive joint account of stock prices and trading volume—and some of the most interesting empirical patterns in the stock market are linked to volume.

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 2894690.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Perspectives
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2894690
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  1. Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  17. Owen Lamont & Andrea Frazzini, 2007. "The Earnings Announcement Premium and Trading Volume," NBER Working Papers 13090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  27. Kyle, Albert S, 1985. "Continuous Auctions and Insider Trading," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1315-35, November.
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  32. Charles M.C. Lee & Bhaskaran Swaminathan, 2000. "Price Momentum and Trading Volume," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2017-2069, October.
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