Can Margin Traders Predict Future Stock Returns in Japan?
Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Vol. 17, pp. 41–57, 2009
17 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2012
Date Written: November 1, 2006
A growing body of literature suggests that investor sentiment affects stock prices both at the firm level and at the market level. This study examines the relationship between investor behavior and stock returns focusing on Japanese margin transactions using weekly data from 1994 to 2003. Margin trading is dominated by individual investors in Japan. In analysis at the firm level, we find a significant cross-sectional relationship between margin buying and stock returns. Both market-level and firm-level analyses show that margin buying traders follow herding behavior. They seem to follow positive feedback trading behavior for small-firm stocks and negative feedback trading behavior for large firm stocks. Our results show that information about margin buying helps predict future stock returns, especially for small-firm stocks at short horizons. The predictive power does not diminish even after controlling for firm size and liquidity.
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