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Keywords:

  • momentum;
  • moving average;
  • 52-week high;
  • anchoring bias;
  • behavioral theory;
  • efficient market hypothesis
  • G12;
  • G14

Abstract

I show the ratio of the short-term moving average to the long-term moving average (moving average ratio, MAR) has significant predictive power for future returns. The MAR combined with nearness to the 52-week high explains most of the intermediate-term momentum profits. This suggests that an anchoring bias, in which investors use moving averages or the 52-week high as reference points for estimating fundamental values, is the primary source of momentum effects. Momentum caused by the anchoring bias do not disappear in the long-run even when there are return reversals, confirming that intermediate-term momentum and long-term reversals are separate phenomena.