Shareholder Composition, Share Turnover, and Returns in Volatile Markets: The Case of International REITs

Published in Journal of International Money and Finance

The shareholder composition of listed property companies has changed from the fragmented, retail ownership, to more concentrated, institutional ownership over the past decade. In this paper, we first document significant variation in the composition of the shareholder base across the world’s five largest listed property markets. We then examine the relation between the composition of the shareholder base and stock market performance and share turnover during the turbulent trading days of 2008 and 2009. By directly relating the shareholder base of firms to excess returns and turnover on these volatile days, we are able to isolate the importance of shareholder composition during periods when trading behavior is most likely to vary across different types of shareholders. We find that both large block holdings and high levels of institutional ownership decrease trading volumes and moderate stock returns; however, the effects largely occur when stock prices move sharply downward. Moreover, these effects are strongest when ownership concentration and institutional ownership exceed 25 percent. We also find that the disaggregation of institutional investors into distinct categories (banks, pension funds, advisors, etc.) increases our understanding of stock trading and share price dynamics of listed property companies.



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