Is Information Risk a Determinant of Asset Returns?

EFA 0101

51 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2000

See all articles by David Easley

David Easley

Cornell University - Department of Economics; Cornell University - Department of Information Science

Soeren Hvidkjaer

Copenhagen Business School

Maureen O'Hara

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Date Written: June 2000

Abstract

In this research we investigate the role of information-based trading in affecting asset returns. Our premise is that in a dynamic market asset prices are continually adjusting to new information. This evolution dictates that the process by which asset prices become informationally efficient cannot be separated from the process generating asset returns. Using the structure of a sequential trade market microstructure model, we derive an explicit measure of the probability of information-based trading for an individual stock, and we estimate this measure using high-frequency data for NYSE-listed stocks for the period 1983-1998. The resulting estimates are a time-series of individual stock probabilities of information-based trading for a very large cross section of stocks. We investigate whether these information probabilities affect asset returns by incorporating our estimates into a Fama-French [1992] asset pricing framework. Our main result is that information does affect asset prices: stocks with higher probabilities of information-based trading require higher rates of return. Indeed, we find that a difference of 10 percentage points in the probability of information-based trading between two stocks leads to a difference in their expected returns of 2.5% per year. We interpret our results as providing strong support for the premise that information affects asset pricing fundamentals.

Suggested Citation

Easley, David and Hvidkjaer, Soeren and O'Hara, Maureen, Is Information Risk a Determinant of Asset Returns? (June 2000). EFA 0101. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=249072 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.249072

David Easley (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
607-255-6283 (Phone)
607-255-2818 (Fax)

Cornell University - Department of Information Science ( email )

402 Bill & Melinda Gates Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Soeren Hvidkjaer

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.hvidkjaer.net

Maureen O'Hara

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-3645 (Phone)
607-255-5993 (Fax)

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