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DotCom Mania: The Rise and Fall of Internet Stock Prices

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  • Eli Ofek
  • Matthew Richardson

Abstract

This paper provides one potential explanation for the rise, persistence and eventual fall of internet stock prices. Specifically, we appeal to a model of heterogenous agents with varying degrees of beliefs about asset payoffs who are subject to short sales constraints. In this framework, it is possible that 'optimistic' investors overwhelm 'pessimistic' ones, leading to prices not reflecting fundamental values about cash flows summarized by aggregate beliefs. Empirical support for this explanation is provided by exploring the behavior of internet stock prices during the period January 1998 to November 2000. In particular, we document four important elements to our story: (i) the high level of internet stock prices given their underlying fundamentals, (ii) responses of stock prices to a shift towards potentially optimistic investors, (iii) empirical results consistent with shorting being at its maximum possible level for internet stocks, and (iv) the eventual fall, or bubble bursting, of internet stocks being tied to the increase in the number of sellers to the market via expiration of lockup agreements.

Suggested Citation

  • Eli Ofek & Matthew Richardson, 2001. "DotCom Mania: The Rise and Fall of Internet Stock Prices," NBER Working Papers 8630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8630
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David M. Schizer & Michael R. Powers & Martin Shubik, 2003. "Market Bubbles and Wasteful Avoidance: Tax and Regulatory Constraints on Short Sales," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm356, Yale School of Management.
    2. Eli Ofek & Matthew Richardson & Robert F. Whitelaw, 2003. "Limited Arbitrage and Short Sales Restrictions: Evidence from the Options Markets," NBER Working Papers 9423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Thomas Schuster, 2003. "Meta-Communication and Market Dynamics. Reflexive Interactions of Financial Markets and the Mass Media," Finance 0307014, EconWPA.

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    JEL classification:

    • G - Financial Economics

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