Are lottery-like stocks overvalued in markets that have no lotteries?–Evidence from Saudi Arabia

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Existing studies suggest that stocks with lottery-like characteristics tend to underperform, especially when they attract retail trades, and that the degree of underperformance is closely related to investors’ forgiving (vs. forbidding) attitude toward gambles/lotteries embedded in their religious norms. We examine how lottery-like stocks are valued in Saudi Arabia where stock trades are dominated by Muslim individuals who have never experienced gambles/lotteries. We find significant underperformance of lottery-like stocks in Saudi Arabia, especially among those with high stock turnover. We discuss a few channels through which investors in Saudi Arabia overpay for lottery-like characteristics despite their strong moral oppositions to gambles/lotteries.

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Finance Research Letters