Title: Investors' reaction to unexpected price innovations: the case of GCC countries

Authors: Rasoul Rezvanian; Rima Turk Ariss; Seyed M. Mehdian

Addresses: Department of Accounting Business Law and Finance, College of Business and Management, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625, USA ' Department of Finance and Accounting, School of Business, Lebanese American University, Chouran 1102 2801, Beirut, Lebanon ' School of Management, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, Michigan 48502-1950, USA

Abstract: We examine investors' reactions to sharp price changes in seven equity markets of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to uncover patterns of price formation. We compare the price behaviour and volatility of these markets within a 15-day window following the arrival of unexpected sharp price changes. We find that the arrival of sharp price changes significantly increases market volatility in all GCC markets and that subsequent price adjustments mostly exhibit upward corrective patterns. These findings are consistent with the prediction of the uncertain information hypothesis. Faced with unexpected positive and negative price changes, investors react rationally by initially setting equity prices below their fundamental values, with subsequent price trends registering an upward adjustment. These findings suggest that contrarian investment strategy cannot be utilised in these cases to generate abnormal returns in GCC markets.

Keywords: over-reaction; under-reaction; equity market efficiency; GCC countries; Gulf Cooperation Council; investor reactions; unexpected price changes; equity markets; price behaviour; market volatility; uncertain information hypothesis; contrarian investment strategy; abnormal returns.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBAF.2015.072407

International Journal of Behavioural Accounting and Finance, 2015 Vol.5 No.2, pp.154 - 174

Received: 07 Feb 2015
Accepted: 12 Jun 2015

Published online: 12 Oct 2015 *

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