Media coverage of mutual fund holdings as a driver of flows

According to this new paper, people invest in funds whose profitable holdings have been mentioned in the media. This does not help them choose funds that will perform well in the future.
Winners in the spotlight: Media coverage of fund holdings as a driver of flows by David H. Solomona, Eugene Soltes, and Denis Sosyur Journal of Financial Economics Volume 113, Issue 1, July 2014, Pages 53–72 Abstract We show that media coverage of mutual fund holdings affects how investors allocate money across funds. Fund holdings with high past returns attract extra flows, but only if these stocks were recently featured in the media. In contrast, holdings that were not covered in major newspapers do not affect flows. We present evidence that media coverage tends to contribute to investors׳ chasing of past returns rather than facilitate the processing of useful information in fund portfolios. Our evidence suggests that media coverage can exacerbate investor biases and that it is the primary mechanism that makes fund window dressing effective.
JEL classification G11; G14; G23 Keywords Media; Mutual funds; Capital flows; Fund holdings; Return chasing
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