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Sentiment and Momentum

John A. Doukas

Strome College of Business

Constantinos Antoniou

Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

Avanidhar Subrahmanyam

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Finance Area

January 10, 2010

This paper sheds empirical light on whether sentiment affects the profitability of price momentum strategies. We hypothesize that news that contradicts investors’ sentiment causes cognitive dissonance, which slows the diffusion of signals that oppose the direction of sentiment. This phenomenon tends to cause underpricing of losers under optimism and underpricing of winners under pessimism. While the latter phenomenon can be corrected by arbitrage buying, short-selling constraints impede arbitraging of losers under optimism, causing momentum to be stronger in optimistic periods. Our empirical analysis supports this argument by showing that momentum profits arise only under optimism, and are driven principally by strong momentum in losing stocks. This result survives a host of robustness checks including controls for market returns, firm size and analyst following. An analysis of net order flows from small and large trades indicates that small (but not large) investors are slow to sell losers during optimistic periods. Momentum-based hedge portfolios formed during optimistic periods experience long-run reversals.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: behavioral finance, investor sentiment, momentum, market efficiency

JEL Classification: G12, G14

working papers series

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Date posted: September 27, 2009 ; Last revised: March 9, 2014

Suggested Citation

Doukas, John A. and Antoniou, Constantinos and Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, Sentiment and Momentum (January 10, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1479197 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1479197

Contact Information

John A. Doukas
Strome College of Business ( email )
2080 Constant Hall
Suite 2080
Norfolk, VA 23529-0222
United States
757-683-5521 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.efmaefm.org/0DOUKAS/doukas.shtml
Constantinos Antoniou
Warwick Business School, University of Warwick ( email )
Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom
Avanidhar Subrahmanyam (Contact Author)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Finance Area ( email )
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States
310-825-5355 (Phone)
310-206-5455 (Fax)
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References:  138
Citations:  12

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