Monday 19 October 2009

New uses of Google Search data: stock performance

Stocks of companies subject to heavy Google search traffic during IPO show large first-day returns and longer term underperformance. At least until the Lucas critique kicks in.
Turnover, extreme returns, news and advertising expense are indirect proxies of investor attention. In contrast, we propose a direct measure of investor demand for attention -- active attention -- using search frequency in Google (SVI). In a sample of Russell 3000 stocks from 2004 to 2008, we find SVI to be correlated with but different from existing proxies of investor attention. In addition, SVI captures investor attention on a more timely basis. SVI allows us to shed new light on how retail investor attention affects the returns to IPO stocks and price momentum strategies. Using retail order execution in SEC Rule 11Ac1-5 reports, we establish a strong and direct link between SVI changes and trading by less sophisticated individual investors. Increased retail attention as measured by SVI during the IPO contributes to the large first-day return and long-run underperformance of IPO stocks. We also document stronger price momentum among stocks with higher levels of SVI, consistent with the explanation of momentum proposed by Daniel, Hirshleifer and Subrahmanyam (1998).

Da, Engelberg and Gao, 2009, "In search of attention".
HT: Wayne Marr

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