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Asset Fire Sales (and Purchases) in Equity Markets

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  • Joshua D. Coval
  • Erik Stafford

Abstract

This paper examines asset fire sales, and institutional price pressure more generally, in equity markets, using market prices of mutual fund transactions caused by capital flows from 1980 to 2003. Funds experiencing large outflows (inflows) tend to decrease (increase) existing positions, which creates price pressure in the securities held in common by these funds. Forced transactions represent a significant cost of financial distress for mutual funds. We find that investors who trade against constrained mutual funds earn highly significant returns for providing liquidity when few others are willing or able. In addition, future flow-driven transactions are predictable, creating an incentive to front-run the anticipated forced trades by funds experiencing extreme capital flows.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua D. Coval & Erik Stafford, 2005. "Asset Fire Sales (and Purchases) in Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 11357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11357
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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