Alex Chinco, Vyacheslav Fos, 14 May 2019

Noise makes financial markets possible. The column investigates an overlooked source of noise, namely, that in modern markets it is computationally infeasible to predict how even simple, rational trading rules interact to create net demand for a stock. For example, empirical data suggest that we can predict whether a stock will be affected by an exchange-traded fund portfolio rebalancing cascade, but not how.

Olivier Dessaint, Thierry Foucault, Laurent Frésard, Adrien Matray, 05 March 2019

Stock prices respond to fundamental shocks (i.e. news) and non-fundamental shocks (noise). Using US data from 1996 to 2011, this column argues that stock prices are a ‘faulty informant’ for corporate managers because managers have limited ability to separate information from noise when using prices as signals about their prospects. The ensuing losses of capital investment and shareholders’ wealth are large and even affect firms that are not facing severe financing constraints or agency problems.

Santosh Anagol, Vimal Balasubramaniam, Tarun Ramadorai, 17 January 2019

Although economic agents should discern signals from noise when drawing from experience, recent evidence suggests decision-making can be based on both noise and signal components. This column uses a natural experiment of IPO lotteries in India to show that randomised gains cause winning investors to increase applications to future IPOs and substantially increase portfolio trading volume in non-IPO stocks relative to lottery losers. Investors appear to draw inferences about their skill from noise. 

Manapol Ekkayokkaya, Suppasit Jirajaroenying, Christian Wolff, 09 January 2019

Retail investors are generally considered to be uninformed noise traders, but a recent literature suggests that such investors accumulate novel information about smaller stocks. Using new data from Thailand, this column argues that retail investors systematically outperform institutions, especially domestic institutions. In addition, retail investors have a comparative advantage in executing trades of small stocks. 

Charles Goodhart, 02 March 2015

Following the Warsh Review, the recording, number, and timing of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee meetings will change. This column argues that the recording may make the decision meeting more formal and could inhibit debate, although the eight-year gap before publishing transcripts ameliorates this concern. Having fewer MPC meetings is a good thing, and reduces ‘noise’ around monetary policy. The revised meeting schedule will not add to transparency and raises the risk of leaks and ‘news shocks’.

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