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Impact of the unrealized gain or loss on stock returns : theory and tests in an alternative utility framework

Abstract : This dissertation applies the prospect theory and the regret theory to the study on the stock performance and to explain one well-known market anomaly called the momentum effect. The dissertation proposes a theoretical model that links the behavior factors to stock performance and the momentum effect, and performed empirical test to examine the theoretical model. In chapter 2, the model is established on the concept of the potential gain/loss, which indicates if an investor is currently at a winning or a losing position. The model then shows that the investors are highly reluctant to sell their stocks in a large gain or in a large loss situation. The chapter 3 and 4 perform empirical tests on the model of potential gain/loss. The test sample includes all stocks in NYSE and AMEX from 1982 to 2012. The tests are able to confirm the influence of the potential gain/loss on stock returns. Moreover, a zero-cost Extremity minus Middle (EMM) strategy based on the theoretical model is documented to be profitable after controlling for risks. In chapter 5, the model of potential gain/loss is developed into a dynamic version. It suggests that the influence of a potential gain/loss could persist over an intermediate to long term, and generates an upward trend in performance for stocks with large potential gain/loss. The empirical tests in this chapter focus on the time serial evolution of returns. The tests show that stocks with large potential gain/loss have a stronger upward trend. The chapter 6 applies the results from the previous chapter to explain the momentum effect. The upward trend corresponds to a positive return autocorrelation, which is one of the sources that contribute to the momentum profit. The empirical tests in this chapter look into the similarity between the momentum strategy and the potential gain/loss, and also examine the correlation between the momentum profit and the profit from the EMM strategy. Tests show that the potential gain/loss could contribute to the momentum effect, but is not the only source. The momentum effect could be a result of a combination of many complex factors.
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Shoujun Li. Impact of the unrealized gain or loss on stock returns : theory and tests in an alternative utility framework. Business administration. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAG005⟩. ⟨tel-01456913⟩

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