Playing the Market

Kevin Lewis

August 31, 2023

The New Invisible Hand: How Common Owners Use the Media as a Strategic Tool
Mark DesJardine, Wei Shi & Xin Cheng
Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming 


While research has uncovered an array of visible competitive dynamics, a strategic world of competition lies beneath the surface that should also be theorized and empirically traced. We investigate the strategic consequences of "media-rival" common ownership, in which investors own a media company and a non-media focal firm's rivals. We posit that focal firms receive worse coverage from media outlets when institutional investors hold substantial ownership in both a media company and the focal firm's rivals because the investors' common holdings provide them with incentives and power to enhance the competitiveness of their portfolio firms by tainting the focal firm's media coverage. We account for three moderators to show that this effect amplifies when investors have stronger incentives and power to influence the media and when media executives have incentives to cater to the interests of their investors. Using a novel dataset on common ownership of rival firms and media companies, we find support for our theory. Our study reveals a new invisible hand underlying competitive markets and offers a new view of the media as a strategic tool.

The Dark Side of Circuit Breakers
Hui Chen et al.
Journal of Finance, forthcoming 


Market-wide trading halts, also called circuit breakers, have been widely adopted as part of the stock market architecture, in the hope of stabilizing the market during dramatic price declines. We develop an intertemporal equilibrium model to examine how circuit breakers impact market behavior and welfare. We show that a circuit breaker tends to lower the overall level of the stock price and significantly alters its dynamics. In particular, as the price approaches the circuit breaker, its volatility rises drastically, accelerating the chance of triggering the circuit breaker -- the so-called "magnet effect''; in addition, returns exhibit increasing negative skewness and positive drift, while trading activity spikes up. Our empirical analysis finds supportive evidence for the model's predictions. Moreover, we show that a circuit breaker can affect the overall welfare either negatively or positively, depending on the relative significance of investors' trading motives for risk sharing vs. irrational speculation.

Spillover Effects of Mandatory Portfolio Disclosures on Corporate Investment
Jalal Sani, Nemit Shroff & Hal White
Journal of Accounting and Economics, forthcoming 


This paper examines whether portfolio disclosure requirements for actively managed investment funds affect the investment decisions of the firms they own. We argue that mandatory portfolio disclosures reduce fund managers' incentive to collect and trade on private information, which reduces the stock price informativeness of their portfolio, and thus portfolio firm managers' ability to learn from their firms' stock prices. Using a difference-in-differences design around the May 2004 SEC regulation requiring more frequent fund disclosure, we find that investment sensitivity to stock price declines for firms with significant ownership held by actively managed funds affected by the regulation. The decline in investment-price sensitivity is concentrated among firms that are (i) owned by funds with larger expected proprietary costs and (ii) more likely to learn from price. Our results suggest that portfolio disclosure requirements have spillover effects on corporate investment by curtailing managers' opportunities to learn from price.

Diverse Hedge Funds 
Yan Lu, Narayan Naik & Melvyn Teo
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming 


Hedge fund teams with heterogeneous educational backgrounds, academic specializations, work experiences, genders, and races, outperform homogeneous teams after adjusting for risk and fund characteristics. An event study of manager team transitions, instrumental variable regressions, and an analysis of managers who simultaneously operate solo- and team-managed funds address endogeneity concerns. Diverse teams deliver superior returns by arbitraging more stock anomalies, avoiding behavioral biases, and minimizing downside risks. Moreover, diversity allows hedge funds to circumvent capacity constraints and generate persistent performance. Our results suggest that diversity adds value in asset management.

Capital-Market Effects of Tipper-Tippee Insider Trading Law: Evidence from the Newman Ruling
Andrew Pierce
Journal of Accounting and Economics, forthcoming 


This study examines the capital-market effects of tipper-tippee insider trading laws. To do so, I exploit the unexpected decision issued by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in U.S. v. Newman 773 F.3d 438, which reduced legal jeopardy for Second Circuit-based market participants prior to being overturned. Consistent with Newman constraining insider trading enforcement, I find strong evidence of plausible insider trading in the Second Circuit following the ruling. I also document a substantial reduction in general trading activity in Second Circuit stocks, as well as an increase in daily quoted spreads and the price impact of trading. These findings are consistent with unchecked insider trading increasing transaction costs and crowding-out investors. In total, my results show that tipper-tippee insider trading restrictions play an important role in bolstering market integrity, and that market participants can to some degree counteract insider trading when public regulation is constrained.

The Changing Economics of Knowledge Production
Simona Abis & Laura Veldkamp
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming 


Big data technologies change the way in which data and labor combine to create knowledge. Is this a modest innovation or a data revolution? Using hiring and wage data, we estimate firms' data stocks and their knowledge production functions. Quantifying changes in production functions informs us about the likely long-run changes in output, in factor shares, and in the distribution of income, due to big data technologies. For the investment management industry, our structural estimates predict a 5% decline in the labor share of income; that change is comparable to similar estimates for the industrial revolution.

On the Other Side of Hedge Fund Equity Trades
Xinyu Cui, Olga Kolokolova & Jiaguo (George) Wang
Management Science, forthcoming 


Hedge funds earn positive ex post abnormal returns and avoid negative abnormal returns on their equity portfolios when trading in the opposite direction of highly diversified low-turnover institutional investors (quasi indexers). This pattern seems to be driven by the preferences of quasi indexers for high-market-beta stocks together with the ability of hedge funds to identify subsets of especially profitable trades. It remains pronounced when accounting for other determinants of hedge fund trades, such as stock liquidity, market anomalies, and major corporate events. Trading against other institutional investors or noninstitutions does not result in abnormal performance for hedge funds.


from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.