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- Chapter 11 EMH
- Notes on Efficient Market Hypothesis
- Efficient Market Hypothesis
- The Efficient Market Hypothesis
- Efficient Market Hypothesis.docx
- Efficient Markets Hypothesis
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org/wiki/Efficient_market

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

(Redirected from Efficient market)

In finance, the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) asserts that stock prices are determined by a discounting process such

that they equal the discounted value (present value) of expected future cash flows. It further states that stock prices

already reflect all known information and are therefore accurate, and that the future flow of news (that will determine

future stock prices) is random and unknowable (in the present). The EMH is the central part of Efficient market theory

(EMT). Both are based partly on notions of rational expectations.

The efficient market hypothesis implies that it is not generally possible to make above-average returns in the stock market

by trading (including market timing), except through luck or obtaining and trading on inside information. There are three

common forms in which the efficient market hypothesis is commonly stated - weak form efficiency, semi-strong form

efficiency and strong form efficiency, each of which have different implications for how markets work.

Contents

1 Weak-form efficiency

2 Semi-strong form efficiency

3 Strong-form efficiency

4 Arguments concerning the validity of the hypothesis

5 An alternative theory: Behavioral Finance

6 See also:

7 External link

Weak-form efficiency

No excess returns can be earned by using investment strategies based on historical share prices or other financial

data.

Weak-form efficiency implies that Technical analysis will not be able to produce excess returns.

To test for weak-form efficiency it is sufficient to use statistical investigations on time series data of prices. In a

weak-form efficient market current share prices are the best, unbiased, estimate of the value of the security. The

only factor that affects these prices is the introduction of previously unknown news. News is generally assumed to

occur randomly, so share price changes must also therefore be random.

Share prices adjust instantaneously and in an unbiased fashion to publicly available new information, so that no

excess returns can be earned by trading on that information.

Semi-strong-form efficiency implies that Fundamental analysis will not be able to produce excess returns.

To test for semi-strong-form efficiency, the adjustments to previously unknown news must be of a reasonable size

and must be instantaneous. To test for this, consistent upward or downward adjustments after the initial change

must be looked for. If there are any such adjustments it would suggest that investors had interpreted the information

in a biased fashion and hence in an inefficient way.

Strong-form efficiency

1 of 3 9/1/2005 7:06 PM

Efficient market hypothesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient_market

Share prices reflect all information and no one can earn excess returns.

To test for strong form efficiency, a market needs to exist where investors cannot consistently earn excess returns

over a long period of time. When the topic of insider trading is introduced, where an investor trades on information

that is not yet publicly available, the idea of a strong-form efficient market seems impossible. Studies on the US

stock market have shown that people do trade on inside information. It was also found though that others

monitored the activity of those with inside information and in turn followed, having the effect of reducing any

profits that could be made.

Even though many fund managers have consistently beaten the market, this does not necessarily invalidate

strong-form efficiency. We need to find out how many managers in fact do beat the market, how many match it,

and how many underperform it. The results imply that performance relative to the market is more or less normally

distributed, so that a certain percentage of managers can be expected to beat the market. Given that there are tens of

thousand of fund managers worldwide, then having a few dozen star performers is perfectly consistent with

statistical expectations.

Many observers dispute the assumption that market participants are rational, or that markets behave consistently with the

efficient market hypothesis, especially in its stronger forms. Many economists, mathematicians and market practitioners

cannot believe that man-made markets are strong-form efficient when there are prima facie reasons for inefficiency

including the slow diffusion of information, the relatively great power of some market participants (e.g. financial

institutions), and the existence of apparently sophisticated professional investors.

The efficient market hypothesis was introduced in the late 1960s. Prior to that, the prevailing view was that markets were

inefficient. Inefficiency was commonly believed to exist e.g. in the United States and United Kingdom stock markets.

However, earlier work by Kendall (1953) suggested that changes in UK stock market prices were random. Later work by

Brealey and Dryden, and also by Cunningham found that there were no significant dependences in price changes

suggesting that the UK stock market was weak-form efficient.

Further to this evidence that the UK stock market is weak form efficient, other studies of capital markets have pointed

toward them being semi strong-form efficient. Studies by Firth (1976, 1979 and 1980) in the United Kingdom have

compared the share prices existing after a takeover announcement with the bid offer. Firth found that the share prices were

fully and instantaneously adjusted to their correct levels, thus concluding that the UK stock market was semi strong-form

efficient.

It may be that professional and other market participants who have discovered reliable trading rules or stratagems see no

reason to divulge them to academic researchers; the academics in any case tend to be intellectually wedded to the efficient

market theory. It might be that there is an information gap between the academics who study the markets and the

professionals who work in them. Within the financial markets there is knowledge of features of the markets that can be

exploited e.g seasonal tendencies and divergent returns to assets with various characteristics. E.g. factor analysis and

studies of returns to different types of investment strategies suggest that some types of stocks consistently outperform the

market (e.g in the UK, the USA and Japan).

Opponents of the EMH sometimes cite examples of market movements that seem inexplicable in terms of conventional

theories of stock price determination, for example the stock market crash of October 1987 where most stock exchanges

crashed at the same time. It is virtually impossible to explain the scale of those market falls by reference to any news

event at the time. The correct explanation seems to lie either in the mechanics of the exchanges (e.g. no safety nets to

discontinue trading initiated by program sellers) or the peculiarities of human nature.

It is certainly true that "behavioural psychology" approaches to stock market trading are amongst the most promising that

there are (and some investment strategies seek to exploit exactly such inefficiencies). A growing field of research called

Behavioral finance studies how cognitive or emotional biases, which are individual or collective, create anomalies in

2 of 3 9/1/2005 7:06 PM

Efficient market hypothesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient_market

market prices and returns and other deviations from the EMH.

See also:

behavioral finance

insider trading

market anomaly

random walk hypothesis

technical analysis

finance

microeconomics

External link

Efficient Market Hypothesis by Alvin Han (http://www.alvinhan.com/Efficient-Market-Hypothesis.htm)

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for

details).

3 of 3 9/1/2005 7:06 PM

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