Stock returns, illiquidity and feedback trading



Chen J & McMillan DG (2020) Stock returns, illiquidity and feedback trading. Review of Accounting and Finance, 19 (2), pp. 135-145.

Purpose This study aims to examine the relation between illiquidity, feedback trading and stock returns for several European markets, using panel regression methods, during the financial and the sovereign debt crises. The authors’ interest here lies twofold. First, the authors seek to compare the results obtained here under crisis conditions with those in the existing literature. Second, and of greater importance, the authors wish to examine the interaction between liquidity and feedback trading and their effect on stock returns. Design/methodology/approach The authors jointly model both feedback trading and illiquidity, which are typically considered in isolation. The authors use panel estimation methods to examine the relations across the European markets as a whole. Findings The key results suggest that in common with the literature, illiquidity has a negative impact upon contemporaneous stock returns, while supportive evidence of positive feedback trading is reported. However, in contrast to the existing literature, lagged illiquidity is not a priced risk, while negative shocks do not lead to greater feedback trading behaviour. Regarding the interaction between illiquidity and feedback trading, the study results support the view that greater illiquidity is associated with stronger positive feedback. Originality/value The study results suggest that when price changes are more observable, due to low liquidity, then feedback trading increases. Therefore, during the crisis periods that afflicted European markets, the lower levels of liquidity prevalent led to an increase in feedback trading. Thus, negative liquidity shocks that led to a fall in stock prices were exacerbated by feedback trading.

Liquidity; Stock returns; Feedback; C22; G12

Review of Accounting and Finance: Volume 19, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online23/03/2020
Date accepted by journal24/08/2018

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Professor David McMillan

Professor David McMillan

Professor in Finance, Accounting & Finance