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Higher Order Expectations, Illiquidity, and Short-term Trading

  • Giovanni Cespa


    (Cass Business School, CSEF, and CEPR)

  • Xavier Vives

    (IESE Business School)

We propose a theory that jointly accounts for an asset illiquidity and for the asset price potential over-reliance on public information. We argue that, when trading frequencies differ across traders, asset prices reflect investors' Higher Order Expectations (HOEs) about the two factors that influence the aggregate demand: fundamentals information and liquidity trades. We show that it is precisely when asset prices are driven by investors' HOEs about fundamentals that they over-rely on public information, the market displays high illiquidity, and low volume of informational trading; conversely, when HOEs about fundamentals are subdued, prices under-rely on public information, the market hovers in a high liquidity state, and the volume of informational trading is high. Over-reliance on public information results from investors' under-reaction to their private signals which, in turn, dampens uncertainty reduction over liquidation prices, favoring an increase in price risk and illiquidity. Therefore, a highly illiquid market implies higher expected returns from contrarian strategies. Equivalently, illiquidity arises as a byproduct of the lack of participation of informed investors in their capacity of liquidity suppliers, a feature that appears to capture some aspects of the recent crisis.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 276.

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Date of creation: 09 Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:276
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