It Depends on When You Search

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Publication History

Received: November 29, 2020
Revised: July 20, 2021; November 8, 2021; February 26, 2022
Accepted: March 14, 2022
Published Online as Articles in Advance: February 28, 2023
Published in Issue: March 1, 2023

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Existing studies have found that online search is a revealed measure for investor attention and a useful predictor of stock returns. We study the heterogeneity in retail investor attention by comparing search conducted on weekdays vs. weekends and investigate the price pressure channel and information processing channel for stock return predictability. According to the information processing channel, weekends afford retail investors more time for the intensive cognitive analysis necessary to make better predictions. Alternatively, weekend search might better capture the price pressure from retail investors’ trading activities. We provide empirical results that support the information processing channel. We first show that weekend search, rather than weekday search, predicts large-cap stock returns in both the cross-section and time series. Additionally, our findings on retail trading activity contradict the price pressure channel in that weekday search, rather than weekend search, leads to a subsequent retail order imbalance. Overall, our study contributes to the literature on the predictive power of online search on stock returns, which has mainly focused on the price pressure channel, which yields significant results for small-cap stocks only. 

Additional Details
Author Jun Li, Xianwei Liu, Qiang Ye, Feng Zhao, and Xiaofei Zhao
Year 2023
Volume 47
Issue 1
Keywords Internet search, time heterogeneity, retail investor attention, stock returns, trading activities
Page Numbers 263-280
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