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What Does Stock Ownership Breadth Measure?

  • James J. Choi
  • Li Jin
  • Hongjun Yan

Using holdings data on a representative sample of all Shanghai Stock Exchange investors, we show that increases in ownership breadth (the fraction of market participants who own a stock) predict low returns: highest change quintile stocks underperform lowest quintile stocks by 23% per year. Small retail investors drive this result. Retail ownership breadth increases appear to be correlated with overpricing. Among institutional investors, however, the opposite holds: Stocks in the top decile of wealth-weighted institutional breadth change outperform the bottom decile by 8% per year, consistent with prior work that interprets breadth as a measure of short-sales constraints.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16591.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as James J. Choi & Li Jin & Hongjun Yan, 2013. "What Does Stock Ownership Breadth Measure?," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(4), pages 1239-1278.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16591
Note: AP
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  1. Asquith, Paul & Pathak, Parag A. & Ritter, Jay R., 2005. "Short interest, institutional ownership, and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 243-276, November.
  2. Yakov Amihud & Clifford Hurvich, 2004. "Predictive Regressions: A Reduced-Bias Estimation Method," Econometrics 0412008, EconWPA.
  3. Cohen, Lauren & Diether, Karl B. & Malloy, Christopher J., 2005. "Supply and Demand Shifts in the Shorting Market," Working Paper Series 2005-8, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  4. Allen F. & Morris S. & Postlewaite A., 1993. "Finite Bubbles with Short Sale Constraints and Asymmetric Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 206-229, December.
  5. Karl B. Diether & Christopher J. Malloy & Anna Scherbina, 2002. "Differences of Opinion and the Cross Section of Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 2113-2141, October.
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