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Asset Fire Sales (and Purchases) in Equity Markets

  • Joshua D. Coval
  • Erik Stafford

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11357.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11357.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Publication status: published as Coval, Joshua & Stafford, Erik, 2007. "Asset fire sales (and purchases) in equity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 479-512, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11357
Note: AP
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