Ratings-Driven Demand and Systematic Price Fluctuations
68 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2020 Last revised: 16 Apr 2022
Date Written: November 2020
We show that mutual fund ratings generate correlated demand that creates systematic price fluctuations. Mutual fund investors chase fund performance via Morningstar ratings. Until June 2002, funds pursuing the same investment style had highly correlated ratings. Therefore, rating-chasing investors directed capital into winning styles, generating style-level price pressures, which reverted over time. In June 2002, Morningstar reformed its methodology of equalizing ratings across styles. Style-level correlated demand via mutual funds immediately became muted, significantly altering the time-series and cross-sectional variation in style returns.
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