Retail Short Selling and Stock Prices
59 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2013 Last revised: 23 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 22, 2016
Using proprietary data on millions of trades by retail investors, we provide the first large-scale evidence that retail short selling predicts negative stock returns. A portfolio that mimics weekly retail shorting earns an annualized risk-adjusted return of 9%. The predictive ability of retail short selling lasts for one year and is not subsumed by institutional short selling. In contrast to institutional shorting, retail shorting best predicts returns in small stocks and those that are heavily bought by other retail investors. Our findings are consistent with retail short sellers having unique insights into the retail investor community and small firms' fundamentals.
Keywords: short selling, retail investor, informed trading, return predictability, market efficiency
JEL Classification: G00, G10, G12, G14
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