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We investigate the price dynamics of large market-capitalization U.S. equity exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in order to uncover trader motivations and strategy. We show that prices of highly liquid ETFs can deviate significantly from their daily net asset values. By adjusting for changes in valuations, we report the impact of non-classical variables including price trend and volatility using data from 2008 to 2011. We find a cubic nonlinearity in the trend suggesting that traders are not only aware of the underreaction of others, but also self-optimize by anticipating others' reactions, and sell when the uptrend is stronger than usual.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Econometrics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Econometrics, volume 183, issue 2, in 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2014.05.009

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The authors. Published by Elsevier.

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Available for download on Friday, December 01, 2017