Attention, search, and information diffusion : study of stock network dynamics and returns
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There is growing literature on search behavior and using search for prediction of market share or macroeconomic indicators. This research explores investors' stock search behaviors and investigates whether there are patterns in stock returns using those for return prediction. Stock search behaviors may reveal common interest among investors. In the first study, we use graph theory to find investment habitats (or search clusters) formed by users who search common set of stocks frequently. We study stock returns of stocks within the clusters and across the clusters to provide theoretical arguments that drive returns among search clusters. In the second study, we analyze return comovement and cross-predictability among economically related stocks searched frequently by investors. As search requires a considerable amount of cognitive resources of investors, they only search a few stocks and pay high attention to them. According to attention theory, the speed of information diffusion is associated with the level of attention. Quick information diffusion allows investors to receive relevant information immediately and take instantaneous trading action. This immediate action may lead to correlated return comovement. Slow information diffusion creates latency between the occurrence of an event and the action of investors. The slower response may lead to cross-predictability. Making use of the discrepancy in information diffusion, we implement a trading strategy to establish arbitrage opportunities among stocks due to difference in user attention. This research enriches the growing IS literature on information search by (1) identifying new investment habitats based on user search behaviors, (2) showing that varying degrees of co-attention and economic linkages may lead to different speed of information diffusion (3) developing a stock forecasting model based on real-time co-attention intensity of a group economically linked stocks and (4) embarking a new research area on search attention in stock market. The methods in handling complex search data may also contribute to big data research.