What Does Stock Ownership Breadth Measure?
NBER Working Paper No. 16591
Using holdings data on a representative sample of all Shanghai Stock Exchange investors, we show that increases in ownership breadth (the fraction of market participants who own a stock) predict low returns: highest change quintile stocks underperform lowest quintile stocks by 23% per year. Small retail investors drive this result. Retail ownership breadth increases appear to be correlated with overpricing. Among institutional investors, however, the opposite holds: Stocks in the top decile of wealth-weighted institutional breadth change outperform the bottom decile by 8% per year, consistent with prior work that interprets breadth as a measure of short-sales constraints.
Published: James J. Choi & Li Jin & Hongjun Yan, 2013. "What Does Stock Ownership Breadth Measure?," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(4), pages 1239-1278.
This paper was revised on July 18, 2012