Market Reaction to CEOs’ Dynamic Hemifacial Asymmetry of Expressions — A Machine-Learning Approach
59 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 29, 2021
Neuropsychological studies propose that listeners unconsciously assess speakers’ trustworthiness via their facial expressions. Building on this theory, we investigate how investors respond to CEOs’ dynamic hemifacial asymmetry of expressions (HFAsy) shown on CNBC’s video interviews about corporate earnings. We employ a machine-learning approach of face-detection and facial-expression-recognition based on conventional neural network to measure CEOs’ dynamic HFAsy. Consistent with the neuropsychological prediction that facial asymmetry induces distrust, we document that the stock market reacts negatively to the CEO’s HFAsy shown on the interview video. We also find that the abnormal bid-ask spread around the interview date is positively associated with the CEO’s HFAsy. We further show that these effects are more pronounced for firms with weaker information environments. Finally, we document that analyst forecast revisions are negatively associated with CEOs’ HFAsy. Overall, our study provides evidence that investor trust and trading behavior are affected by the dynamic hemifacial asymmetry of expressions appeared on CEOs’ faces.
Keywords: Hemifacial Asymmetry of Expressions, Machine Learning, Market Reaction
JEL Classification: D81, D82, D83, G12, G14, M41
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