Male investors over the age of 45 who are married or believe they have “excellent investment experience” are more likely to panic sell stocks during a market crash, researchers at MIT have found. The study was noted in an article in Bloomberg.
Researchers analyzed more than 600,000 brokerage accounts and say the study could be used to create predictive models and help identify investors who might be at risk of panic selling. These investors often go against the advice of their financial advisors to weather a passing financial storm, and sell off their riskier assets.
And indeed, countless studies back up that advice, showing that people are better off staying put in a broadly diversified portfolio. But the fear of losing it—as well as the potential for big gains—still drives manic trading patterns.
For the study, researchers defined a panic sale as a 90% plunge of an account’s equity assets over a month-long period. They noted that “panic sales are not random events” and could be predicted by “subtle patterns in portfolio history, past market movements, and demographic profile,” adding that investors with less than $20,000 in their portfolio have a tendency to liquidate more often.