Test of the overreaction hypothesis in the South African stock market
This research undertakes to investigate both long-term and short-term investor overreaction on the JSE Limited (JSE) over the period from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2009. The period covers the restructuring and reform of the JSE in the early 2000s to the end of global financial market crisis in late 2008/2009, which can be regarded as a complete economic cycle. The performances of the winner and loser portfolios are evaluated by assessing their cumulative abnormal returns (CAR) over a 24-month holding period. The test results show no evidence of mean reversion for winner and loser portfolios formed based on prior returns of 12 months or less. However, test results show evidence of significant mean reversion for the winner and loser portfolios constructed based on their prior 24 months and 36 months returns. In addition, the study reveals that the mean reversion is more significant for longer-formation-period portfolios as well as for longer holding periods. The examination of the cumulative loser-winner spreads obtained from the contrarian portfolios based on the constituents’ prior 24 month and 36 month returns indicates that the contrarian returns increase for portfolios formed between 2004 and 2006, and declines thereafter towards the end of the examination period. The deterioration of contrarian returns coincides with the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007 and the subsequent global financial crisis in 2008. This evidence suggests that the degree of mean reversion on the JSE is positively correlated to the South African business cycle.