Asset prices remain depressed for years following mutual fund fire sales. We show that price pressure from fire sales is partly due to asymmetric information. We separate trades into expected trades, which assume fund managers scale down their portfolio, and discretionary trades. We find that discretionary trades contain information about future returns, while expected trades do not. Moreover, other traders cannot distinguish between discretionary and expected trades. Our findings help explain the magnitude and persistence of fire sale discounts: fund managers choose which assets to sell and information asymmetries make it difficult for arbitrageurs to disentangle price pressure from negative fundamentals.
slow moving capital