Google search volume and individual investor trading

Dimitrios Kostopoulos, Steffen Meyer*, Charline Uhr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We relate Google search volumes, which are a proxy for the economic concerns of households (the FEARS index), to the trading behavior of approximately 100,000 individual German online-brokerage clients. We find that when the FEARS index is high, individual investors trade out of risky assets. Additionally, we find that the FEARS index has a negative short-horizon relation to stock market returns, which reverses over the following six days. This shows that the effect of economic concerns on the market is temporary, whereas on individual investors, the effect does not reverse within the next 20 days. In addition, we find that less sophisticated investors are more prone to sentiment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100544
JournalJournal of Financial Markets
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Individual investor
  • Investor sentiment
  • Trading behavior


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