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Aggregate Short Interest and Market Valuations

  • Owen A. Lamont
  • Jeremy C. Stein

We examine some basic data on the evolution of aggregate short interest, both during the dot-com era, and at other times in history. Total short interest moves in a countercyclical fashion. For example, short interest in NASDAQ stocks actually declines as the NASDAQ index approaches its peak. Moreover, this decline does not seem to reflect a substitution away from outright short-selling and towards put options, as the ratio of put-to-call volume displays the same countercyclical tendency. The evidence suggests that: i) arbitrageurs are reluctant to bet against aggregate mispricings; and ii) short-selling does not play a particularly helpful role in stabilizing the overall stock market.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10218.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10218.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Publication status: published as Lamont, Owen A. and Jeremy C. Stein. "Aggregate Short Interest And Market Valuations," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(2,May), 29-32.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10218
Note: AP
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  1. Jeremy C. Stein, 2005. "Why are most Funds Open-end? Competition and the Limits of Arbitrage," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 247-272, January.
  2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel, 2004. "Hedge Funds and the Technology Bubble," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2013-2040, October.
  3. Owen A. Lamont & Richard H. Thaler, . "Can the Market Add and Subtract? Mispricing in Tech Stock Carve-outs," CRSP working papers 528, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  4. Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Chen, Joseph & Hong, Harrison & Stein, Jeremy C., 2002. "Breadth of ownership and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 171-205.
  6. Jones, Charles M. & Lamont, Owen A., 2002. "Short-sale constraints and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 207-239.
  7. Eli Ofek & Matthew Richardson, 2003. "DotCom Mania: The Rise and Fall of Internet Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1113-1138, 06.
  8. John M. Griffin & Jeffrey H. Harris & Selim Topaloglu, 2003. "Investor Behavior over the Rise and Fall of Nasdaq," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm431, Yale School of Management.
  9. D'Avolio, Gene, 2002. "The market for borrowing stock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 271-306.
  10. Dechow, Patricia M. & Hutton, Amy P. & Meulbroek, Lisa & Sloan, Richard G., 2001. "Short-sellers, fundamental analysis, and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 77-106, July.
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