SALIENT OR SAFE: WHY DO PREDICTED STOCK ISSUERS EARN LOW RETURNS?
Predicted stock issuers (PSIs) are firms with expected “high-investment and low-profit” (HILP) profiles that earn unusually low returns. We carefully document important features of PSI firms to provide insights on the economic mechanism behind the HILP phenomenon. Top-PSI firms are cash-strapped, have lottery-like payoffs, high volatility, high Beta, and high shorting costs. Over the next two years, top-PSIs earn return-on-assets of -30% per year, report disappointing earnings, and experience strongly-negative analyst forecast revisions. They earn especially low returns in down markets and are nine times more likely to delist for performance reasons. We conclude that PSIs earn low returns not because they safe, but because they are more salient and are thus overpriced.