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Attention to the Internet: The Impact of Active Information Search on Investment Decisions
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Young Bong Chang (Business School, Sungkyungkwan University)
YoungOk Kwon (Division of Business Administration, Sookmyung Women’s University)
Wooje Cho (Department of Business Administration, University of Seoul)
Vol. 21, No. 3, Page: 119 ~ 131
10.13088/jiis.2015.21.3.119
Keywords
Attention, Internet, Information Search, Investment Decisions, Volatility, Comovement
Abstract
As the Internet becomes ubiquitous, a large volume of information is posted on the Internet with exponential growth every day. Accordingly, it is not unusual that investors in stock markets gather and compile firm-specific or market-wide information through online searches. Importantly, it becomes easier for investors to acquire value-relevant information for their investment decision with the help of powerful search tools on the Internet. Our study examines whether or not the Internet helps investors assess a firm’s value better by using firm-level data over long periods spanning from January 2004 to December 2013. To this end, we construct weekly-based search volume for information technology (IT) services firms on the Internet. We limit our focus to IT firms since they are often equipped with intangible assets and relatively less recognized to the public which makes them hard-to measure. To obtain the information on those firms, investors are more likely to consult the Internet and use the information to appreciate the firms more accurately and eventually improve their investment decisions. Prior studies have shown that changes in search volumes can reflect the various aspects of the complex human behaviors and forecast near-term values of economic indicators, including automobile sales, unemployment claims, and etc. Moreover, search volume of firm names or stock ticker symbols has been used as a direct proxy of individual investors’ attention in financial markets since, different from indirect measures such as turnover and extreme returns, they can reveal and quantify the interest of investors in an objective way. Following this line of research, this study aims to gauge whether the information retrieved from the Internet is value relevant in assessing a firm. We also use search volume for analysis but, distinguished from prior studies, explore its impact on return comovements with market returns. Given that a firm’s returns tend to comove with market returns excessively when investors are less informed about the firm, we empirically test the value of information by examining the association between Internet searches and the extent to which a firm’s returns comove. Our results show that Internet searches are negatively associated with return comovements as expected. When sample is split by the size of firms, the impact of Internet searches on return comovements is shown to be greater for large firms than small ones. Interestingly, we find a greater impact of Internet searches on return comovements for years from 2009 to 2013 than earlier years possibly due to more aggressive and informative exploit of Internet searches in obtaining financial information. We also complement our analyses by examining the association between return volatility and Internet search volumes. If Internet searches capture investors’ attention associated with a change in firm-specific fundamentals such as new product releases, stock splits and so on, a firm’s return volatility is likely to increase while search results can provide value-relevant information to investors. Our results suggest that in general, an increase in the volume of Internet searches is not positively associated with return volatility. However, we find a positive association between Internet searches and return volatility when the sample is limited to larger firms. A stronger result from larger firms implies that investors still pay less attention to the information obtained from Internet searches for small firms while the information is value relevant in assessing stock values. However, we do find any systematic differences in the magnitude of Internet searches impact on return volatility by time periods. Taken together, our results shed new light on the value of information searched from the Internet in assessing stock values. Given the informational role of the Internet in stock markets, we believe the results would guide investors to exploit Internet search tools to be better informed, as a result improving their investment decisions.
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인터넷 주의효과: 능동적 정보 검색이 투자 결정에 미치는 영향에 관한 연구
장영봉 (성균관대학교 경영학과 )
권영옥 (숙명여자대학교 경영학부)
조우제 (서울시립대학교 경영학부)
Keywords
주의(Attention), 인터넷, 정보검색, 투자결정, 변동성, 동조화
Abstract
인터넷을 활용한 정보 검색이 보편화됨에 따라, 상대적으로 정보가 부족했던 개인 투자자들이 인터넷 검색을 통해서 관심 기업의 정보를 지속적으로 ‘주의(attention)’하고 이를 통하여 시의 적절하고 유용한 정보를 획득할 수 있게 되었다. 본 연구에서는 능동적 정보검색을 통해 유도된 주의 효과가 투자자에게 정보전달의 역할을 하는지 개별 기업 주식의 변동성과 동조화를 중심으로 규명하고자 한다. 특히 기업의 본질적 가치에 대한 정보획득 및 판단이 쉽지 않은 정보기술 서비스 중심의 IT 기업을 대상으로 최근 10년간의 키워드 검색 데이터를 분석하였다. 분석 결과, 인터넷 검색을 통한 기업정보의 수집 및 확산의 용이성은 투자자가 기업의 가치를 보다 정확히 평가하는데 도움을 주고 결과적으로 시장에서의 탈동조화를 유인함을 알 수 있다. 즉, 투자자의 주의는 시장에 내재된 불완전성에 의해 본질적인 요소와 상관없이 주식들의 수익률이 동시에 같은 방향으로 움직이는 동조화 현상을 약화시키는데 영향을 미쳤다. 이러한 결과는 기업 규모가 클수록, 연도별 분석에서는 최근에 가까울수록 더 크게 영향을 미치는 것으로 나타났다. 잘 알려진 기업일수록 인터넷 검색으로 획득할 수 있는 정보의 양이 많고, 또한 시간이 지날수록 정보가 쌓이면서 이러한 현상은 더 심화될 것으로 예측할 수 있다. 반면, 인터넷 검색량과 기업의 변동성은 규모가 큰 기업의 경우에만 유의한 양의 관계를 보여주었다. 본 연구는 투자자의 주의효과를 인터넷 검색량을 이용하여 실증 분석하였다는데 의의가 있으며, 연구 결과는 기업 주식의 변동성 및 동조화 현상에 대한 이해를 높이고 투자자의 투자결정에 도움이 될 것으로 기대된다.
Cite this article
JIIS(APA) Style
Chang, Y. B., Kwon, Y., & Cho, W. (2015). Attention to the Internet: The Impact of Active Information Search on Investment Decisions. Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems, 21(3), 119-131.

IEEE Style
Young Bong Chang, YoungOk Kwon, and Wooje Cho, "Attention to the Internet: The Impact of Active Information Search on Investment Decisions", Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 119~131, 2015.

ACM Style
Chang, Y. B., Kwon, Y., & Cho, W., 2015. Attention to the Internet: The Impact of Active Information Search on Investment Decisions. Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems. 21, 3, 119--131.
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@article{Chang:JIIS:2015:627,
author = {Chang, Young Bong and Kwon, YoungOk and Cho, Wooje},
title = {Attention to the Internet: The Impact of Active Information Search on Investment Decisions},
journal = {Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems},
issue_date = {September 2015},
volume = {21},
number = {3},
month = Sep,
year = {2015},
issn = {2288-4866},
pages = {119--131},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.13088/jiis.2015.21.3.119 },
doi = {10.13088/jiis.2015.21.3.119},
publisher = {Korea Intelligent Information System Society},
address = {Seoul, Republic of Korea},
keywords = { Attention, Internet, Information Search, Investment Decisions, Volatility and Comovement },
}
%0 Journal Article
%1 627
%A Young Bong Chang
%A YoungOk Kwon
%A Wooje Cho
%T Attention to the Internet: The Impact of Active Information Search on Investment Decisions
%J Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems
%@ 2288-4866
%V 21
%N 3
%P 119-131
%D 2015
%R 10.13088/jiis.2015.21.3.119
%I Korea Intelligent Information System Society