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Feedback Effects and the Limits to Arbitrage

  • Alex Edmans
  • Itay Goldstein
  • Wei Jiang

This paper identifies a limit to arbitrage that arises from the fact that a firm's fundamental value is endogenous to the act of exploiting the arbitrage. Trading on private information reveals this information to managers and helps them improve their real decisions, in turn enhancing fundamental value. While this increases the profitability of a long position, it reduces the profitability of a short position -- selling on negative information reveals that firm prospects are poor, causing the manager to cancel investment. Optimal abandonment increases firm value and may cause the speculator to realize a loss on her initial sale. Thus, investors may strategically refrain from trading on negative information, and so bad news is incorporated more slowly into prices than good news. The effect has potentially important real consequences -- if negative information is not incorporated into stock prices, negative-NPV projects may not be abandoned, leading to overinvestment.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17582.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17582.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17582
Note: AP CF
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  1. J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, . "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _124, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  2. Itay Goldstein & Alexander Guembel & James Dow, 2008. "Incentives for Information Production in Markets where Prices Affect Real Investment," 2008 Meeting Papers 270, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Geczy, Christopher C. & Musto, David K. & Reed, Adam V., 2002. "Stocks are special too: an analysis of the equity lending market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 241-269.
  4. Philip Bond & Itay Goldstein & Edward Simpson Prescott, 2010. "Market-Based Corrective Actions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(2), pages 781-820, February.
  5. Karpoff, Jonathan M., 1987. "The Relation between Price Changes and Trading Volume: A Survey," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 109-126, March.
  6. Chakraborty, Archishman & Yilmaz, Bilge, 2004. "Manipulation in market order models," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 187-206, February.
  7. P├ęter Kondor, 2006. "Risk in Dynamic Arbitrage: Price Effects of Convergence Trading," MNB Working Papers 2006/6, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
  8. Itay Goldstein & Alexander Guembel, 2008. "Manipulation and the Allocational Role of Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 133-164.
  9. Raghavendra Rau, P. & Vermaelen, Theo, 1998. "Glamour, value and the post-acquisition performance of acquiring firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 223-253, August.
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