Market Exposure

Kevin Lewis

June 06, 2023

The Partisanship of Financial Regulators 
Joseph Engelberg et al.
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming 


We analyze the partisanship of Commissioners at the SEC and Governors at the Federal Reserve Board. Using recent advances in machine learning, we identify partisan phrases in Congress, such as "red tape" and "climate change," and observe their usage among regulators. Although the Fed has remained relatively nonpartisan throughout our sample period (1930-2019), we find that partisanship among SEC Commissioners rose to an all-time high during the 2010-2019 period, driven by more-partisan Commissioners replacing less-partisan ones. Partisanship at the SEC appears in both the language of new SEC rules and the voting behavior of SEC Commissioners.

Financial Market Exposure Increases Generalized Trust, Particularly Among the Politically Polarized
Saumitra Jha, Moses Shayo & Chagai Weiss
Stanford Working Paper, March 2023 


Generalized trust is essential for supporting the functioning of modern societies, yet many countries experience limited trust. Given the social, economic, and political benefits of trust, it is crucial to understand how to increase generalized trust, especially in polarized societies. We argue that exposure to opportunities to trade in broad financial markets can increase generalized trust because it exposes investors to shared risks and returns that highlight the benefits of large-scale economic cooperation. Reporting results from a randomized controlled trial in which we encouraged Israelis to trade stocks for up to seven weeks, we show that participation in financial markets increased generalized trust by 5.9pp. This effect is more salient among political partisans and male respondents. Moreover, the effect is stronger among successful investors and robust to negative price changes. Our findings highlight the promise of financial innovations in facilitating trust in polarized societies.

When can the market identify old news?
Anastassia Fedyk & James Hodson
Journal of Financial Economics, July 2023, Pages 92-113 


What drives the puzzle of market reactions to old news? Motivated by theories of correlation neglect, we conduct an experiment on finance professionals and show that even sophisticated investors have difficulty identifying old information that recombines content from multiple sources. We evaluate the market implications of this mechanism using a unique dataset of 17 million news articles from the Bloomberg terminal. Recombination of old information prompts larger price moves and subsequent reversals than direct reprints. This effect persists across news sentiment, ambiguity, and investor attention. Furthermore, while overall reactions to old information decline over time, differential reactions to recombinations increase.

War Discourse and Disaster Premia: 160 Years of Evidence from Stock and Bond Markets
David Hirshleifer, Dat Mai & Kuntara Pukthuanthong
NBER Working Paper, May 2023


Using a semi-supervised topic model on 7,000,000 New York Times articles spanning 160 years, we test whether topics of media discourse predict future stock and bond market returns to test rational and behavioral hypotheses about market valuation of disaster risk. Focusing on media discourse addresses the challenge of sample size even when major disasters are rare. Our methodology avoids look-ahead bias and addresses semantic shifts. War discourse positively predicts market returns, with an out-of-sample R2 of 1.35%, and negatively predicts returns on short-term government and investment-grade corporate bonds. The predictive power of war discourse increases in more recent time periods.

Going the Extra Mile: What Taxi Rides Tell Us About the Long-Hour Culture in Finance
Deniz Okat & Ellapulli Vasudevan
Management Science, forthcoming 


We analyze banks' "protected-weekend" policies that restrict junior bankers from working during weekends. We use taxi rides from bank addresses in New York City to infer bankers' working hours. We find the policies induced bankers to shift their work to late-night hours on weekdays. We then investigate whether such shifts in working hours affected the quality of work. After the policy, analysts of the policy-implementing banks make more errors in their earnings forecasts. They also herd more toward the consensus in their forecasts. We further provide evidence that junior bankers are the most adversely affected by the policy.

Narrative Asset Pricing: Interpretable Systematic Risk Factors from News Text 
Leland Bybee, Bryan Kelly & Yinan Su
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming 


We estimate a narrative factor pricing model from news text of The Wall Street Journal. Our empirical method integrates topic modeling (LDA), latent factor analysis (IPCA), and variable selection (group lasso). Narrative factors achieve higher out-of-sample Sharpe ratios and smaller pricing errors than standard characteristic-based factor models and predict future investment opportunities in a manner consistent with the ICAPM. We derive an interpretation of the estimated risk factors from narratives in the underlying article text.

Uncovering Retail Trading in Bitcoin: The Impact of COVID-19 Stimulus Checks
Anantha Divakaruni & Peter Zimmerman
Management Science, forthcoming 


In April 2020, the U.S. government sent economic impact payments (EIPs) directly to households as part of its measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We characterize these stimulus checks as a wealth shock for households and examine their effect on retail trading in Bitcoin. We find a significant increase in Bitcoin buy trades of size $1,200, which is the modal EIP amount. We find similar increases in trading for other countries that paid out stimulus checks. We estimate that the EIPs have a significant impact on the U.S. dollar-Bitcoin trading pair, increasing buy volume by 3.8% and the price by 0.6%. We also find that demand for Bitcoin is highly price inelastic compared with the demand for stocks. We suggest the demographic characteristics that make people more resilient to the COVID-19 economic shock -- single, computer literate, and educated -- are also characteristics of people who are more interested in Bitcoin.

Natural Disasters and Market Manipulation
Maimuna Akter, Douglas Cumming & Shan Ji
Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming 


Natural disasters exacerbate swings in investor sentiment and information asymmetry. As such, we propose natural disasters enable more frequent and severe market manipulation. We test this proposition using the securities listed in the NYSE and NASDAQ, disaster data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and surveillance industry-provided manipulation data from SMARTS, Inc. The data indicate the frequency and severity of market manipulation increases during disaster periods. Community resilience, hazard mitigation programs, and operational location moderate the effect of natural disasters on manipulation. These effects are not mechanically driven by spikes in volatility in disaster-county months. These effects are more pronounced for certain industries, including agricultural, health, and manufacturing industries. Finally, these findings are robust to alternative proxies of manipulation and various model specifications that include but are not limited to using difference-in-differences analysis.

Managing Decision Fatigue: Evidence from Analysts' Earnings Forecasts
Yawen Jiao
Journal of Accounting and Economics, forthcoming 


Prior literature shows decision fatigue reduces analysts' forecast accuracy. We study whether analysts strategically manage their decision fatigue. Firms within an analyst's research portfolio can differentially affect the analyst's reputation and career, with larger firms with greater trading volumes and institutional ownership being more important. We find that analysts choose to issue forecasts for more important firms when they are less decision fatigued, i.e., when the number of prior forecasts the analyst has issued in the day is lower. Young analysts, analysts in low-status brokerage houses, and analysts who become decision fatigued more easily manage fatigue more, and analysts experience more favorable career outcomes after strategically managing fatigue. Finally, fatigued analysts differentiate between more important and other firms in herding and self-herding.

The Information in Hedge Fund Option Holdings
Amber Anand, Jian Hua & Andy Puckett
Management Science, forthcoming 


We provide new insights on how hedge funds use options and short-selling channels to trade on their negative information. Bearish information in hedge fund option positions is economically large, distinct from information in short interest, and it is the combination of option positions and short interest that provides the strongest information signal. A portfolio of stocks with high short interest and bearish hedge fund option positions predicts negative abnormal returns that are more than four times as large as the portfolio with high short interest and bullish options positions. The information in hedge fund option positions increases during periods of market stress, whereas that in short interest does not. This increase is concentrated in capital-constrained hedge funds, suggesting that options provide a channel for capital-constrained hedge funds to exploit their information advantage.

Options Trading and Stock Price Informativeness
Jie Cao et al.
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming 


We document the causal effects of single-name options trading on the absolute level of information content of prices (stock price informativeness) by exploiting the Penny Pilot Program as an exogenous shock to options trading volume. We find that options trading increases underlying stock price informativeness and information acquisition by both option and stock investors, consistent with the framework of Goldstein and Yang (2015). The findings are driven by firms for which options are more important sources for information and firms with more efficiently priced options. Options market introduction in 25 other economies also leads to higher price informativeness.


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