Stockholders’ Unrealized Returns and the Market Reaction to Financial Disclosures

69 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2013 Last revised: 25 Aug 2018

See all articles by Eric H. Weisbrod

Eric H. Weisbrod

University of Miami - Department of Accounting

Date Written: May 6, 2018

Abstract

Using both investor- and stock-level data, I examine the relation between stockholders’ unrealized returns since purchase and the market response to earnings announcements. I demonstrate that stockholders’ unrealized gain/loss position moderates their trading behavior in response to earnings announcements. I also find that this behavior generates a short-window return underreaction to earnings news. My results are generally consistent with predictions from prospect theory regarding the manner in which stockholders’ unrealized returns moderate their trading response to belief shocks. However, my results also suggest that an emotional component (i.e., regret avoidance/pride seeking) is necessary to explain the observed investor behavior.

Keywords: Prospect Theory, Risk Preferences, Disposition Effect, Capital Gains, Momentum, Earnings Announcements, Information Content

JEL Classification: G1, G12, M42

Suggested Citation

Weisbrod, Eric H., Stockholders’ Unrealized Returns and the Market Reaction to Financial Disclosures (May 6, 2018). Journal of Finance, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2216851 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2216851

Eric H. Weisbrod (Contact Author)

University of Miami - Department of Accounting ( email )

Coral Gables, FL 33146-6531
United States

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