Individual investors lose money around earnings announcements, experience poor posttrade returns, exhibit the disposition effect, and make contrarian trades. Using simulations and trading records of all individual investors in Finland, I find that these trading patterns can be explained in large part by investors' use of limit orders. These patterns arise mechanically because limit orders are price-contingent and suffer from adverse selection. Reverse causality from behavioral biases to order choices does not appear to explain my findings. I propose a simple method for measuring a data set's susceptibility to this limit order effect.
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