¿Aumentó verdaderamente el cortoplacismo en los mercados de valores?

CAMBRIDGE – En un comentario reciente estudié si la creciente presión generada por el aumento en la velocidad de las operaciones bursátiles induce a los gerentes a obsesionarse más con los resultados trimestrales, limitando su capacidad para conducir las empresas en el largo plazo. Pero noté cómo las presiones de los gobiernos y los rápidos cambios tecnológicos son potencialmente tan poderosas como las provenientes de las operaciones bursátiles. ¿Cuán cuidadosamente se puede planificar para el largo plazo en, digamos, la zona del euro, si la propia moneda está en riesgo? ¿Y cuál debe ser el horizonte temporal de los vendedores minoristas tradicionales si la distribución se traslada a Internet?

Habitualmente se sostiene (al extremo de haberse convertido en sabiduría convencional) que la reconfiguración rápida y fácil de las carteras, las estrategias de análisis técnico y los cambios de sector de los inversores obligan a los gerentes a prestar demasiada atención a los resultados financieros inmediatos. Y, a medida que se aceleran las operaciones, las presiones aumentan. Pero, incluso si los gerentes y los directorios de las empresas que cotizan en bolsa se centran excesivamente en sus resultados trimestrales, e incluso si el promedio de los períodos de tenencia de acciones ha disminuido en gran medida durante las últimas décadas, es difícil saber si las operaciones en los mercados de valores se han acelerado de manera tal que obligan a los gerentes a prestar aún más atención a los resultados trimestrales.

Debemos efectuar algunas distinciones muy básicas –pero insuficientemente reconocidas– sobre los promedios. Una forma de medir el período promedio de tenencia de las acciones y su cambio durante el último cuarto de siglo es sumar todos los períodos de tenencia de todos los inversores al final del año y dividir el total por un promedio ponderado de los accionistas. El resultado –la media– es el período promedio de tenencia.

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