This paper investigates individual investors' responses to stock underpricing and how their trading decisions are affected by analysts' forecasts and recommendations.
This empirical study uses mutual fund fire sales as an exogenous source that causes stock underpricing and analysts' forecasts and recommendations as price-correcting information. The study further uses regression analysis to examine individual investors' responses to fire sales and how their responses vary with price-correcting information.
The authors first show that individual investors respond to mutual fund fire sales by significantly decreasing net buys, and this effect appears to be prolonged. Next, the authors find that the decrease of net buys diminishes following analysts' price-correcting earnings forecast revisions and stock recommendation changes. Hence, the authors suggest that individual investors are not “wise” enough to recognize flow-driven underpricing; however, this response is weakened by analysts' price-correcting information.
There is an ongoing debate in the literature about whether individual investors should be portrayed as unsophisticated traders or informed traders who can predict future returns. The authors study a unique information event and provide new evidence related to both perspectives. Overall, our evidence suggests that the “unsophisticated traders” perspective is predominant, whereas a better information environment significantly reduces individual investors' information disadvantage. This finding could be of interest to both academic researchers and regulators.