Since the late 1980s it has become a common practice worldwide—especially in frontier markets—to impose circuit breakers on stock prices, effectively stunting its intraday growth or decline beyond a certain bracket. Ostensibly, its purport is to prevent investor overreaction, regulatory control of market micro-structure, prevention of crash, and to smoothen excessive volatility. The most ubiquitous form of circuit breaker is price limit, which is used in equity and futures markets. The ranges of existing price limits vary geographically and from exchange to exchange. Academics and regulators have divergent opinions on application of circuit breakers and its resultant positive or negative effects. A lot of academic studies claim circuit breakers have the opposite of intended effects—i.e. they result in attracting prices to the limits by their very existence and thus defeating the volatility tempering objective. Utilizing Historical daily price from 1994 till 2017 in Bursa Malaysia, we employ a probabilistic regression approach to check whether magnet effect exists. Having divided the study period into 3 distinct regimes based on regulatory limit mechanisms, we find evidence of strong magnet effect in Bursa Malaysia throughout the periods, with heightened magnet effect between 2002 and 2013. Also, for all sample regimes, we find magnet effect more pronounced in bullish scenarios compared to bearish ones.
Presently under review at Global Business Review