We document problems in measuring raw and abnormal five-year contrarian portfolio returns. ‘Loser’ stocks are low-priced and exhibit skewed return distributions. Their 163% mean return is due largely to their lowest-price quartile position. A $ 1 8 -th price increase reduces the mean by 25%, highlighting their sensitivity to micro-structure/liquidity effects. Long positions in low-priced loser stocks occur disproportionately after bear markets and thus induce expected-return effects. A contrarian portfolio formed at June-end earns negative abnormal returns, in contrast with the December-end portfolio. This conclusion is not limited to a particular version of the CAPM.
Journal of Financial Economics – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 1995
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