Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
Vol. 43, No. 1, March 2008

Information and the Intermediary: Are Market Intermediaries Informed Traders in Electronic Markets? pp. 1–28
Amber Anand and Avanidhar Subrahmanyam

A significant but unresolved question in the current debate about the role of intermediaries in financial markets is whether intermediaries behave as passive traders or whether they actively seek and trade on information. We address this issue by explicitly comparing the informational advantages of intermediaries with those of other investors in the market. We find that intermediaries account for greater price discovery than other institutional and individual investors in spite of initiating fewer trades and volume. Furthermore, intermediary information does not arise from inappropriate handling of customer orders by intermediaries. We propose that our findings are consistent with noisy rational expectations models, where agents extract valuable information from past prices. Intermediaries bear little or no opportunity cost of monitoring market conditions, which gives them an advantage in making profitable price-contingent trades. Lower trading costs may also enable intermediaries to trade more effectively and frequently on their information.

Idiosyncratic Volatility and the Cross Section of Expected Returns pp. 29–58
Turan G. Bali and Nusret Cakici

This paper examines the cross-sectional relation between idiosyncratic volatility and expected stock returns. The results indicate that i) the data frequency used to estimate idiosyncratic volatility, ii) the weighting scheme used to compute average portfolio returns, iii) the breakpoints utilized to sort stocks into quintile portfolios, and iv) using a screen for size, price, and liquidity play critical roles in determining the existence and significance of a relation between idiosyncratic risk and the cross section of expected returns. Portfoliolevel analyses based on two different measures of idiosyncratic volatility (estimated using daily and monthly data), three weighting schemes (value-weighted, equal-weighted, inverse volatility-weighted), three breakpoints (CRSP, NYSE, equal market share), and two different samples (NYSE/AMEX/NASDAQ and NYSE) indicate that no robustly significant relation exists between idiosyncratic volatility and expected returns.

The Determinants of Capital Structure: Capital Market-Oriented versus Bank-Oriented Institutions pp. 59–92
Antonios Antoniou, Yilmaz Guney, and Krishna Paudyal

The paper investigates how firms operating in capital market-oriented economies (the U.K. and the U.S.) and bank-oriented economies (France, Germany, and Japan) determine their capital structure. Using panel data and a two-step system-GMM procedure, the paper finds that the leverage ratio is positively affected by the tangibility of assets and the size of the firm, but declines with an increase in firm profitability, growth opportunities, and share price performance in both types of economies. The leverage ratio is also affected by the market conditions in which the firm operates. The degree and effectiveness of these determinants are dependent on the country’s legal and financial traditions. The results also confirm that firms have target leverage ratios with French firms being the fastest in adjusting their capital structure toward their target level and Japanese firms the slowest. Overall, the capital structure of a firm is heavily influenced by the economic environment and its institutions, corporate governance practices, tax systems, the borrower-lender relation, exposure to capital markets, and the level of investor protection in the country in which the firm operates.

Order Consolidation, Price Efficiency, and Extreme Liquidity Shocks pp. 93–122
Michael J. Barclay, Terrence Hendershott, and Charles M. Jones

We show that the consolidation of orders is important for producing efficient prices, especially during times of high liquidity demand. The NYSE’s centralized opening call market performs better than Nasdaq’s decentralized opening process on typical trading days. The NYSE is much better than Nasdaq on witching days when index arbitrage activity subjects S&P 500 stocks to large, predictable, and mostly informationless order flow around quarterly futures contract expirations. Nasdaq opening price efficiency improves to NYSE levels once Nasdaq initiates a consolidated opening call in November 2004, but prices on the decentralized Nasdaq remain less efficient at other times of day.

An Explicit, Multi-Factor Credit Default Swap Pricing Model with Correlated Factors pp. 123–160
Ren-Raw Chen, Xiaolin Cheng, Frank J. Fabozzi, and Bo Liu

With the recent significant growth in the single-name credit default swap (CDS) market has come the need for accurate and computationally efficient models to value these instruments. While the model developed by Duffie, Pan, and Singleton (2000) can be used, the solution is numerical (solving a series of ordinary differential equations) rather than explicit. In this paper, we provide an explicit solution to the valuation of a credit default swap when the interest rate and the hazard rate are correlated by using the “change of measure” approach and solving a bivariate Riccati equation. CDS transaction data for the period 2/15/2000 through 4/8/2003 for 60 firms are used to test both the goodness of fit of the model and provide estimates of the influence of economic variables in the market for credit-risky bonds.

Control Transfers, Privatization, and Corporate Performance: Efficiency Gains in China’s Listed Companies pp. 161 –190
Gongmeng Chen, Michael Firth, Yu Xin, and Liping Xu

We investigate performance effects for China’s listed firms when there is a change in the controlling shareholder. These changes include ownership transfers from one state entity to another state entity and from a state entity to a private entity. We find positive performance effects when control is passed to a private entity. In contrast, when the transfer is made to another branch of the state, there is little change in performance. The stock market responds positively to a change in control, with the largest effect observed for private transfers. Our results suggest the Chinese government should continue to sell down its share ownership in listed firms as the transfer of control to private owners enhances corporate profitability and efficiency. Moreover, to help ownership reform, China should encourage an active market for corporate control.

Stock Market Participation and the Internet pp. 191–212
Vicki Bogan

Theory indicates that frictions (e.g., information and transaction costs) could account for the lower than expected stock market participation rates. This paper examines the hypothesis that there has been a fundamental change in participation and links this change to the reduction of these frictions by the advent of the Internet. Using panel data on household participation rates over the past decade, the results show computer/Internet using households raised participation substantially more than non-computer using households. The increased probability of participation was equivalent to having over $27,000 in additional household income or over two more mean years of education.

Insiders’ Tax Preferences and Firms’ Choices between Dividends and Share Repurchases pp. 213–244
Jim Hsieh and Qinghai Wang

This paper investigates whether corporate payout policy is associated with insiders’ share holdings and their tax preferences. We find that insider ownership and the implied tax liabilities are positively related to a firm’s propensity to employ share repurchases. Firms with higher levels of or greater increases in insider ownership prefer stock repurchases to cash dividends. This relation is more significant in years when dividends were more tax disadvantaged relative to capital gains. Our findings are robust to the endogeneity of insider ownership and the inclusion of various control variables such as firm size, permanence of cash flows, growth opportunities, institutional ownership, and executive stock options. Overall, our results suggest that personal tax considerations from insiders affect corporate payout decisions.

The Genesis of Home Bias? The Location and Portfolio Choices of Investment Company Start-Ups pp. 245–266
Jerry T. Parwada

Fund managers’ bias toward geographically proximate securities is a well-researched phenomenon, yet the origins of managers’ location choices have received little empirical scrutiny. This paper traces the employment and geographic heritage of 358 entrepreneurial fund managers and analyzes the determinants of where they locate their firms and stock selections. The evidence suggests that start-ups tend to be based close to the origins of their founders and in regions with more investment management firms, banking establishments, and large institutional money managers. New money managers show a strong local bias in their equity holdings, three times the levels previously documented for mutual funds. The propensity to invest closer to home correlates strongly with the presence of sub-advisory opportunities from institutional investors in the vicinity. While home bias levels between managers who relocate with their start-ups and the rest of the entrepreneurs are similar, preferences for stocks that were formally local persist.