Investor Sentiment and the Cross-Section of Stock Returns
Malcolm P. Baker
Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
NYU Stern School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
NYU Working Paper No. FIN-03-030
We examine how investor sentiment affects the cross-section of stock returns. Theory predicts that a broad wave of sentiment will disproportionately affect stocks whose valuations are highly subjective and are difficult to arbitrage. We test this prediction by studying how the cross-section of subsequent stock returns varies with proxies for beginning-of-period investor sentiment. When sentiment is low, subsequent returns are relatively high on smaller stocks, high volatility stocks, unprofitable stocks, non-dividend-paying stocks, extreme-growth stocks, and distressed stocks, consistent with an initial underpricing of these stocks. When sentiment is high, on the other hand, these patterns attenuate or fully reverse. The results are consistent with theoretical predictions and are unlikely to reflect an alternative explanation based on compensation for systematic risks.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47working papers series
Date posted: November 11, 2008
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