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Review of Financial Studies (forthcoming)
We study the relation between mutual fund trades and mass media coverage of stocks. We find that funds exhibit persistent differences in their propensity to buy media-covered stocks. Moreover, this propensity is negatively related to their future performance. Funds in the highest propensity decile underperform funds in the lowest propensity decile by 1.1% to 2.8% per year. These results do not extend to fund sells, likely due to funds’ inability to sell short. Overall, the findings suggest that professional investors are subject to limited attention.