We examine the trading behavior of institutional investors during the internet bubble and crash of 1998–2001, and its impact on stock prices. Similar to some recent findings concerning the trading behavior of hedge funds and NASDAQ 100 stocks, we find that during the bubble all types of institutions herded with great intensity into internet stocks for a comprehensive sample of institutional investors and internet stocks. In addition to this, we present three entirely new results. First, institutional herding was much greater than what can be explained by momentum trading. Second, institutions as a group continued to increase their holdings of internet stocks for two quarters past the market peak during the first quarter of 2000, and three quarters past the peak for individual stock prices, suggesting that institutions were unable to time the price peaks. Finally and most importantly, we find positive abnormal returns contemporaneous with institutional herding and negative abnormal returns (reversals) at the point that herding ceased. This finding suggests that institutions’ trading created temporary price pressures, and may have contributed to the bubble.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 14, 2012
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