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Stock return autocorrelation and institutional investors: the case of American depository receipt

DeQing Diane Li (Department of Business, Management and Accounting, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland, USA, and)
Kenneth Yung (College of Business and Public Administration, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)

Review of Accounting and Finance

ISSN: 1475-7702

Article publication date: 1 January 2006




Though stock portfolio return autocorrelation is well documented in the literature, its cause is still not clearly understood. Presently, evidence of private information induced stock return autocorrelation is still very limited. The difficulty in obtaining foreign country information by small investors makes the private information of institutional investors in the ADR (American Depository Receipt) market more significant and influential. As such, the ADR market provides a favorable environment for testing the effect of private information on return autocorrelation. The purpose of this paper is to address this issue.


In this paper, ADRs are sorted annually into three groups based on market equity capitalization. Within each capitalization group, ADRs are further sorted into three groups based on the fraction of shares held by institutional investors. Each ADR is assigned to one of the nine groups and group membership is rebalanced each year. The return autocorrelation of individual ADR securities and ADR portfolios for each group are then calculated.


The results demonstrate that ADR individual stock and portfolio daily return autocorrelations are positively related to institutional ownership. It is also found that other explanations, such as non‐synchronous trading, bid‐ask spread and volatility of ADR, cannot explain the positive relation between daily return autocorrelations and institutional ownership of ADR.


Since ADR market is more suitable than other markets for testing the role of private information, stronger and clearer results are got accordingly. This paper suggests that trading strategy based on private information of institutional investors can lead to stock return autocorrelation in ADR daily returns.



Diane Li, D. and Yung, K. (2006), "Stock return autocorrelation and institutional investors: the case of American depository receipt", Review of Accounting and Finance, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 45-58.



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