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How do individual investors trade?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2012
JournalEuropean Journal of Finance
Journal number10
Volume18
Number of pages27
Pages921-947
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper examines how high-frequency trading decisions of individual investors are influenced by past price changes. Specifically, we address the question as to whether decisions to open or close a position are different when investors already hold a position compared with when they do not. Based on a unique data set from an electronic foreign exchange trading platform, OANDA FXTrade, we find that investors’ future order flow is (significantly) driven by past price movements and that these predictive patterns last up to several hours. This observation clearly shows that for high-frequency trading, investors rely on previous price movements in making future investment decisions. We provide clear evidence that market and limit orders flows are much more predictable if those orders are submitted to close an existing position than if they are used to open one. We interpret this finding as evidence for the existence of a monitoring effect, which has implications for theoretical market microstructure models and behavioral finance phenomena, such as the endowment effect.