Essays on Information and Capital Markets

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Embargoed until 2023-05-03
Copyright: Wang, Hang
This thesis examines the role of public information on equity prices. In the first study, we add new evidence that news increases investor disagreement. First, we find that stock prices are convex in relation to news, confirming that prices on news days reflect the risk compensation of opinion divergence. Second, using unexplained trading volume as a proxy for investor disagreement, we find that investor disagreement is positively priced in the cross-section, confirming that news increases investor disagreement. Finally, we distinguish empirically between two competing channels regarding how trading volume gets incorporated into asset prices when trading volume is a proxy for disagreement. We find that news-day unexplained trading volume is associated with high liquidity and low average bias, which reduces the effect of optimistic views. In the second study, motivated by the existing evidence that investors misreaction to news generates skewness and creates mispricing, we draw novel evidence that investors inability to interpret news correctly contributes to the pricing of skewness. Specifically, we find that only the skewness extracted from observed corporate news-day returns is negatively priced. This effect is particularly pronounced for stocks with greater asymmetric responses to good and bad news, and investors lottery preferences do not explain these results. Collectively, our findings suggest that accounting for endogeneity in skewness rather than treating skewness as an exogenous characteristic (lottery feature) of the return distribution is critical for understanding the negative relationship between skewness and future returns. In the final study, we examine the effect of Mercury Retrograde on stock market returns. Focusing on market indexes in 48 countries, we find that the average market returns in Mercury Retrograde periods are about 3.22% annually lower than those in other periods. This effect comes from a belief channel: investors who hold an astrological belief that Mercury Retrograde can destroy their decision-making will stay away from the market. This belief results in a higher risk premium required by remaining investors in sharing more risk. We further confirm that this belief channel concerns belief in ancient Greek culture, highlighting the importance of ancient culture in equity prices. Collectively, our findings suggest that investors may deem some ancient cultures important and behave accordingly.
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Wang, Hang
Moshirian, Fariborz
Chuprinin, Oleg
Zhang, Bohui
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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