Why Stock Markets Crash

Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems

Why Stock Markets Crash

Didier Sornette boldly applies his varied experience in many areas to propose a simple, powerful, and general theory of how, why, and when stock markets crash.

Stock Market Crashes and Speculative Manias

Stock Market Crashes and Speculative Manias

This volume offers an authoritiative selection of the best published articles on the great speculative manias and stock market crashes, which highlights their important similarities. These phenomena disrupt the normal activities of investors who use financial markets to accumulate diversified portfolios of assets. The attraction of rapid capital gains entices the unwary to abandon their customary investments, exposing them to ruin when prices of hot new assets collapse. The mania for tulips in seventeenth century Holland and schemes to refinance government debt in eighteenth century France and Britain burned many investors and transformed financial markets. The volatile American stock market of the nineteenth century and bursting regional real estate bubbles brought down many financial institutions, threatening economic stability. The striking parallels between the stock market crashes of 1929 and 1987 raise basic questions about the stability of the capital markets. By examining whether these phenomena represent rational movements of the market or some mania or fad, these articles focus on the central policy question of whether these markets require regulation to serve the investing public.

Why Stock Markets Crash

Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems

Why Stock Markets Crash

The scientific study of complex systems has transformed a wide range of disciplines in recent years, enabling researchers in both the natural and social sciences to model and predict phenomena as diverse as earthquakes, global warming, demographic patterns, financial crises, and the failure of materials. In this book, Didier Sornette boldly applies his varied experience in these areas to propose a simple, powerful, and general theory of how, why, and when stock markets crash. Most attempts to explain market failures seek to pinpoint triggering mechanisms that occur hours, days, or weeks before the collapse. Sornette proposes a radically different view: the underlying cause can be sought months and even years before the abrupt, catastrophic event in the build-up of cooperative speculation, which often translates into an accelerating rise of the market price, otherwise known as a "bubble." Anchoring his sophisticated, step-by-step analysis in leading-edge physical and statistical modeling techniques, he unearths remarkable insights and some predictions--among them, that the "end of the growth era" will occur around 2050. Sornette probes major historical precedents, from the decades-long "tulip mania" in the Netherlands that wilted suddenly in 1637 to the South Sea Bubble that ended with the first huge market crash in England in 1720, to the Great Crash of October 1929 and Black Monday in 1987, to cite just a few. He concludes that most explanations other than cooperative self-organization fail to account for the subtle bubbles by which the markets lay the groundwork for catastrophe. Any investor or investment professional who seeks a genuine understanding of looming financial disasters should read this book. Physicists, geologists, biologists, economists, and others will welcome Why Stock Markets Crash as a highly original "scientific tale," as Sornette aptly puts it, of the exciting and sometimes fearsome--but no longer quite so unfathomable--world of stock markets.

New Facets of Economic Complexity in Modern Financial Markets

New Facets of Economic Complexity in Modern Financial Markets

The book is motivated by the disruptions introduced by the financial crisis and the many attempts that have followed to propose new ideas and remedies. Assembling contributions by authors from a variety of backgrounds, this collection illustrates the potentials resulting from the marriage of financial economics, complexity theory and an out-of-equilibrium view of the economic world. Challenging the traditional hypotheses that lie behind financial market functioning, new evidence is provided about the hidden factors fuelling bubbles, the impact of agents’ heterogeneity, the importance of endogeneity in the information transmission mechanism, the dynamics of herding, the sources of volatility, the portfolio optimization techniques, the financial innovation and the trend identification in a nonlinear time-series framework. Presenting the advances made in financial market analysis, and putting emphasis on nonlinear dynamics, this book suggests interdisciplinary methodologies for the study of well-known stylised facts and financial abnormalities. This book was originally published as a special issue of The European Journal of Finance.

Bubbles and Contagion in Financial Markets, Volume 1

An Integrative View

Bubbles and Contagion in Financial Markets, Volume 1

Understanding the formation of bubbles and the contagion mechanisms afflicting financial markets is a must as extreme volatility events leave no market untouched. Debt, equity, real estate, commodities... Shanghai, NY, or London: The severe fluctuations, explained to a large extent by contagion and the fear of new bubbles imploding, justify the newly awaken interest in the contagion and bubble dynamics as yet again the world brazes for a new global economic upheaval. Bubbles and Contagion in Financial Markets explores concepts, intuition, theory, and models. Fundamental valuation, share price development in the presence of asymmetric information, the speculative behavior of noise traders and chartists, herding and the feedback and learning mechanisms that surge within the markets are key aspects of these dynamics. Bubbles and contagion are a vast world and fascinating phenomena that escape a narrow exploration of financial markets. Hence this work looks beyond into macroeconomics, monetary policy, risk aggregation, psychology, incentive structures and many more subjects which are in part co-responsible for these events. Responding to the ever more pressing need to disentangle the dynamics by which financial local events are transmitted across the globe, this volume presents an exhaustive and integrative outlook to the subject of bubbles and contagion in financial markets. The key objective of this volume is to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of all aspects that can potentially create the conditions for the formation and bursting of bubbles, and the aftermath of such events: the contagion of macro-economic processes. Achieving a better understanding of the formation of bubbles and the impact of contagion will no doubt determine the stability of future economies – let these two volumes be the starting point for a rational approach to a seemingly irrational phenomena.

Hidden Interests in Credit and Finance

Power, Ethics, and Social Capital across the Last Millennium

Hidden Interests in Credit and Finance

Hidden Interests in Credit and Finance takes an anthropological approach to the roots of Western finance and credit in ancient societies from early Mesopotamia to eleventh-century Islam. The authors reveal that credit is not just an economic transaction but also a social relationship and a technology of power.

Stalking the Black Swan

Research and Decision Making in a World of Extreme Volatility

Stalking the Black Swan

Kenneth A. Posner spent close to two decades as a Wall Street analyst, tracking the so-called "specialty finance" sector, which included controversial companies such as Countrywide, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, CIT, and MasterCard many of which were caught in the subprime mortgage and capital markets crisis of 2007. While extreme volatility is nothing new in finance, the recent downturn caught many off guard, indicating that the traditional approach to decision making had let them down. Introducing a new framework for handling and evaluating extreme risk, Posner draws on years of experience to show how decision makers can best cope with the "Black Swans" of our time. Posner's shrewd assessment combines the classic fundamental research approach of Benjamin Graham and David Dodd with more recent developments in cognitive science, computational theory, and quantitative finance. He outlines a probabilistic approach to decision making that involves forecasting across a range of scenarios, and he explains how to balance confidence, react accurately to fast-breaking information, overcome information overload, zero in on the critical issues, penetrate the information asymmetry shielding corporate executives, and integrate the power of human intuition with sophisticated analytics. Emphasizing the computational resources we already have at our disposal our computers and our minds Posner offers a new track to decision making for analysts, investors, traders, corporate executives, risk managers, regulators, policymakers, journalists, and anyone who faces a world of extreme volatility.

Investing by the Stars

Using Astrology in the Financial Markets

Investing by the Stars

From the country's leading financial astrologer and key advisor to money managers, traders, and private investors--a man who used astrology to predict the 1990 Tokyo market crash--comes this unusual guide that shows how to buy and/or sell stocks based on astrology, use birthdates of various stock markets to make decisions, integrate astrology with conventional market analysis, and more. 20 illustrations.

Financial Markets and Financial Crises

Financial Markets and Financial Crises

Warnings of the threat of an impending financial crisis are not new, but do we really know what constitutes an actual episode of crisis and how, once begun, it can be prevented from escalating into a full-blown economic collapse? Using both historical and contemporary episodes of breakdowns in financial trade, contributors to this volume draw insights from theory and empirical data, from the experience of closed and open economies worldwide, and from detailed case studies. They explore the susceptibility of American corporations to economic downturns; the origins of banking panics; and the behavior of financial markets during periods of crisis. Sever papers specifically address the current thrift crisis—including a detailed analysis of the over 500 FSLIC-insured thrifts in the southeast—and seriously challenge the value of recent measures aimed at preventing future collapse in that industry. Government economists and policy makers, scholars of industry and banking, and many in the business community will find these timely papers an invaluable reference.

Determinants of Stock Prices

The Case of Zimbabwe

Determinants of Stock Prices

This paper examines the general relationship between stock prices and macroeconomic variables in Zimbabwe, using the revised dividend discount model, error-correction model, and multi-factor return-generating model. Despite the large fluctuation in stock prices since 1991, this analysis indicates that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has been functioning quite consistently during this period. Whereas sharp increases in stock prices during 1993-94 were mainly due to the shift of risk premium that was caused by the partial capital account liberalization, the recent rapid increase in stock prices can be explained by the movements of monetary aggregates and market interest rates.