I study empirically the market-wide importance of investors' reluctance to realize losses by investigating IPO trading volume. In IPOs all initial investors have a common purchase price, and the disposition effect should thus be at its strongest. Turnover is significantly lower for negative initial return IPOs when the stock trades below the offer price, and increases significantly on the day the price surpasses the offer price for the first time. The increase in volume lasts for two weeks. On a daily level, attaining new maximum and minimum stock prices also produces strong increase in volume. These results suggest that reference price effects play a role in aggregate stock market activity. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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