Some stock market trading activity has looked an awful lot like gambling as of late, with huge run-ups in companies that have shown little actual evidence of profits, or in some cases, sales.
Academics say there’s more in common between gambling and stocks than you might imagine. And researchers have a simple methodology for determining which stocks are gambles rather than investments.
A research paper released this month found that gambling accounted for about 14% of stock market volume in developed countries, and that stock market gambling is 3.5 times the combined gambling in casinos, lotteries, horse racing, sports betting, gaming machines, and online gambling. The U.S. and Hong Kong have the highest per capita levels of stock market gambling in the world.
The paper—from Alok Kumar of the University of Miami, Houng Nguyen of the University of Danang, and Talis Putnins at the University of Technology Sydney and Stockholm School of Economics—proposes looking at volume over market cap as a way of determining lottery stocks. “We assume that gambling in stock markets involves disproportionate amount of trading in lottery-like stocks,” they said.
The list makes intuitive sense—a variety of travel and energy stocks, such as American Airlines Group (ticker: AAL) and
Broadening out the screen to any New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq-listed company with a market capitalization of at least $500 million yields even more aggressive plays, such as cannabis stock Sundial Growers (SNDL) and genome analysis specialist
The analysis can also easily be extended across the world.
(ARB.London) headlines the London-listed lottery stocks with market caps of at least $500 million. Solar play
GCL New Energy Holdings
(451.Hong Kong) is the biggest lottery play among Hong Kong-listed stocks.
One perhaps surprising finding from the researchers is that the stock-market gambling helps the broader market function. “Even if gamblers are relatively or completely uninformed traders, they can still contribute to market efficiency by making markets more liquid and thereby encouraging informed trading,” researchers found.
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