Quick Easy Example of Why Efficient Market Hypothesis Is Wrong

0
Quick Easy Example of Why Efficient Market Hypothesis Is Wrong

The Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) has long been a staple among academics and business schools. The basic premise behind EMH is that markets are efficient in the processing of information; meaning that stock prices always reflect all publicly known facts, and as new facts become public knowledge, the market instantly updates this information and the stock price fluctuates accordingly.

Play Quizzes 4

The EMH implies that there is no possible way (absent of illegal insider information) for an investor to consistently pick a group of stocks that do better than the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) or some other relevant average.

I just noticed Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares are down 4.5%. In trying to find out why, I saw that there is an explanation out there that because certain brokerages are raising margin requirements, sellers are unloading their some of their shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). I have no idea if this is true, but I do know that forced selling happens fairly often in markets, and that selling has absolutely nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the asset being sold. Apple is no more and no less valuable today because some brokerage firm decided to raise the amount of money needed to hold Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares on margin.

This Long/ Short Equity Firm Sees A Time-Arbitrage Opportunity In This Pest Control Merger

PestYost Partners was up 0.8% for the first quarter, while the Yost Focused Long Funds lost 5% net. The firm's benchmark, the MSCI World Index, declined by 5.2%. The funds' returns outperformed their benchmark due to their tilt toward value, high exposures to energy and financials and a bias toward quality. In his first-quarter letter Read More

Here is a quick excerpt from a Business Insider piece on the story:

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s stock is down as much as 4.25 percent this morning.

Why? Street Insider is speculating that “clearing firms are raising the margin requirement for clients,” and this is causing Apple’s stock to nosedive.

A higher margin requirement means investors need to either put up more of their own money to buy Apple stock, or just sell what they have so they don’t have to put in more cash. Margin requirement increases generally happen when a stock becomes volatile. For a long time Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was a rocketship. Now it’s not, so a change in margin requirements makes sense.

I believe the market is quite efficient at certain times, but largely inefficient at other times. But on balance, the market is not very efficient. Many think that the liquidity in the market causes efficiency, but I think liquidity actually helps create inefficiency. In liquid markets, it’s very easy to sell anything for any reason (rational or not).

Margin requirements might be of small importance in the big scheme of things, but it’s one small example of how liquid markets can be very inefficient.

Updated on

John Huber is the author of Base Hit Investing, a blog about value investing concepts and ideas. He also is the founder and portfolio manager at Saber Capital Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor that manages equity portfolios for clients using the value investment principles of Ben Graham, Warren Buffett, Walter Schloss, and Joel Greenblatt.
Previous article Apple Inc. (AAPL) iOS 7 Runs 74% Of iPhones In North America
Next article Hugh Hendry December Letter: Last Bear Standing? Not Any More

No posts to display