A Critical Evaluation of the Significance of Round Numbers in Major European Stock Indices in Light of the Predictions from Benford’s Law

International Research Journal of Finance and Economics, No. 95, pp. 196-210, 2012

15 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2012 Last revised: 30 Aug 2012

See all articles by Mohandass Kalaichelvan

Mohandass Kalaichelvan

Dartmouth College

Lim Kai Jie Shawn

University College London - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 11, 2012

Abstract

In this study, we test the hypothesis that psychological barriers exist in 5 European Equity Market indices [ATX, CAC, DAX, FTSE, SMI]. We employ both a traditional methodology that assumes a uniform distribution of M-Values and a modified approach that accounts for the fact that the digits of stock prices may be distributed in accordance with Benford’s law. In addition, we test the validity of the various assumptions employed in these tests using a Monte Carlo Simulation and Kuiper’s Modified Kolmogorov-Smirnov Goodness of Fit Test. We find evidence for barriers in 1 index [SMI] at the 1000 level under the assumption of uniformity but no significant evidence of barriers at the 100 level or at the 1000 level in the remaining indices. We also find evidence that substantiates the criticism of the use of the uniformity assumption for tests at the 1000 level in favour of a distribution consistent with Benford’s Law. However, we do not reach a different conclusion on the presence of psychological barriers when tests are performed without the implicit use of that uniformity assumption. In addition, we find possible evidence of price clustering around round numbers at the 1000 level in 2 indices [CAC, DAX] even after adjusting for the expected concentration within the region due to Benford-specific effects.

Keywords: Benford’s Law, psychological barriers in stock prices, significance of round numbers in stock prices

JEL Classification: C12, C15, G02, G14, G15

Suggested Citation

Kalaichelvan, Mohandass and Kai Jie Shawn, Lim, A Critical Evaluation of the Significance of Round Numbers in Major European Stock Indices in Light of the Predictions from Benford’s Law (July 11, 2012). International Research Journal of Finance and Economics, No. 95, pp. 196-210, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2130456

Mohandass Kalaichelvan

Dartmouth College ( email )

Department of Sociology
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Lim Kai Jie Shawn (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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