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Volume 8, Number 1, First Quarter 2010

Mispricing and Costly Arbitrage
Ronnie Sadka and Anna Scherbina

The equilibrium magnitude of mispricing can be no greater than the cost of arbitraging it away. Yet, mispricing typically arises when the uncertainty about a firm is high, which is precisely when the stocks liquidity is low. This is the case for stocks with high analyst disagreement about future earnings. These stocks tend to be overpriced, with prices converging down as the uncertainty about earnings is resolved, but the stocks low liquidity suggests that transaction costs significantly reduce the potential arbitrage profits. Positive shocks to market-wide liquidity reduce arbitrage costs and accelerate the convergence of prices to fundamentals