Random walk hypothesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Burton G. Malkiel, an economics professor at Princeton University and writer of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, performed a test where his students were given a hypothetical stock that was initially worth fifty dollars. The closing stock price for each day was determined by a coin flip. If the result was heads, the price would close a half point higher, but if the result was tails, it would close a half point lower. Thus, each time, the price had a fifty-fifty chance of closing higher or lower than the previous day. Cycles or trends were determined from the tests. Malkiel then took the results in a chart and graph form to a chartist, a person who “seeks to predict future movements by seeking to interpret past patterns on the assumption that ‘history tends to repeat itself’”.[5] The chartist told Malkiel that they needed to immediately buy the stock. When Malkiel told him it was based purely on flipping a coin, the chartist was very unhappy.[citation needed] Malkiel argued that this indicates that the market and stocks could be just as random as flipping a coin.

The random walk hypothesis was also applied to NBA basketball. Psychologists made a detailed study of every shot the Philadelphia 76ers made over one and a half seasons of basketball. The psychologists found no positive correlation between the previous shots and the outcomes of the shots afterwards. Economists and believers in the random walk hypothesis apply this to the stock market. The actual lack of correlation of past and present can be easily seen. If a stock goes up one day, no stock market participant can accurately predict that it will rise again the next. Just as a basketball player with the “hot hand” can miss the next shot, the stock that seems to be on the rise can fall at any time, making it completely random
I'm going to paper trade this, and report my results. Using a combination of day trading and 1-day holds, I'm going to buy/sell random stocks at random times based on no research or trend analysis what so ever.

Going to give myself $5,000 for this experiment.