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Department of School of Management

Cicon, James E.

Contact Info
Title: Assistant Professor of Finance
Email: james.e.cicon@njit.edu
Office: 4018 CAB
Hours: Monday, Friday by appointment
Phone: 973-596-3257
Dept: School of Management
Webpage: http://cicon.org

Education

  • Ph.D. Finance.  support areas: statistics and econometrics, University of Missouri (2012)
  • JD (Law Degree) in Intellectual Property law and Corporate Finance law, University of Missouri (2007)
  • MBA in Corporate Finance and Investments, University of Missouri (2007)
  • B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brigham Young University (1990)
  • A.S. certificate in Electronics Warfare and Counter-measures, United States Army Intelligence School, Ft. Devens (1979)

Corporate Experience and Research Interests

Dr. James Cicon is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the School of Management at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.  His prior business experience was senior staff at Fluke Networks and Hewlett Packard Corporation.  He helped guide these firms through mergers and acquisitions, including the Hewlett Packard merger with Compaq, the Danaher acquisition of Fluke and the Fluke acquisition of Desknet.  He served in leadership positions with entrepreneurial startups such as Desknet, Biophysica and Locus.  He played key roles in joint ventures such as the Kodak/HP photo-kiosk joint venture.  Dr. Cicon has experienced much of corporate America: he began his engineering career as a design engineer in R&D laboratories and worked his way up to Senior Staff Engineer for one of the largest companies in the world.  He also spent four years in counter intelligence and electronics warfare against the USSR during the Cold War era while deployed in Europe with the U.S. Military.  These experiences provide him with many interesting research ideas.

 

Dr. Cicon´s research interests originate in his corporate experience.  He has published his findings on managerial reporting styles in the Journal of Financial Research, mergers and acquisitions in the Journal of Behavioral Finance, and the impact of codes of governance of firm performance in the European Financial Management journal.  He has papers under review that investigate the information content of corporate conference calls, the facial expressions of managers during video interviews, the impact of bylaws and charters on firm performance, and the importance of strategic orientation in firm governance. 

Selected Publications and Papers Under Review

Published Refereed Journal Articles

  • Brockman, P., Cicon, J. E. (2013). The Information Content of Management Earnings Forecasts: An Analysis of Hard versus Soft. Journal of Financial Research, 36(2), 147-173.
  • Cicon, J. E., Clarke, J., Ferris, S., Jayaraman, N. (2013 in press). Managerial Expectations and the Performance of Acquiring Firms: The Contribution of Soft Data. Journal of Behavioral Finance
  • Cicon, J. E., Ferris, S. P., Kamel, A. J., Noronha, G. (2012). European Corporate Governance: a Thematic Analysis of National Codes of Governance. European Financial Management, 18(4), 620–648.

 

Under Review at Referred Journals

  • Cicon, James (2014) Say it Again Sam: The Idiosyncratic Information Content of Corporate Conference Calls, under review
  • Sun, Yanjia, Steve Ferris, James Cicon, Ali Akansu (2014) Firm Performance in the Face of Fear, under review
  •  Brau, James, James Cicon, Steve McQueen (2014) Soft Strategic Information and IPO Underpricing , under review
  •  Brau, James, James Cicon, Steve Ferris (2014) Fooled From the Start: Camouflage in Corporate Bylaws and Charters, under rewiew
  •  Chance, Don, James Cicon, Steve Ferris (2014) The Dog Ate My Homework: The Attribution of Blame for Poor Corporate Performance, under review

 

Book Chapters

  • Brockman, P., Cicon, J. E. (2010). In Greg N. Gregoriou (Ed.), The Impact of Hard versus Soft Information on Trading Volume: Evidence from Management Earnings Forecasts. The Handbook of Trading: Strategies for Navigating and Profiting from Currency, Bond, and Stock Markets.

Big Data and Data Analytics

All of Dr. Cicon´s research involves Big Data.  Here are a few examples.

 

In his paper published the European Financial Management journal, Dr. Cicon wrote a webspider to download all of the country level governance codes of the European Union member nations.  He wrote computer algorithms which employed latent semantic analysis to convert these codes into computer usable vectorized themes.  This permitted him to analyze these codes and to provide evidence that country level codes explain the financial performance of firms within the countries borders.

 

In his paper published in the Journal of Financial Research (this paper later received an “Outstanding Paper Award” and a cash prize from the journal) Dr. Cicon wrote a webspider to download 75,000 press releases from companies who were announcing earnings guidance.  He wrote computer algorithms to read these press releases and to extract measures of managerial confidence, optimism and certainty.  He provided evidence that the market values a confident and certain manager on one hand, and on the other hand, the market punishes a manager that lacks confidence or who is not certain.

 

In a solo-author paper, under review at the Journal of Financial Research,  Dr. Cicon wrote a webspider to download over 300,000 corporate conference call transcripts.  He wrote computer algorithms to identify the participants on these telephone calls, the role of the participants (analyst or company executive), and the words in the transcript attributed to each analyst, CEO and/or manager.  He then used natural language processing technologies to determine the role that the CEO played on the call, particularly on calls where the CEO was being ´interrogated´ by analysts.

 

In several other papers, Dr. Cicon has used a database he created by downloading over 9,000,000 documents from the Security and Exchange Commission website EDGAR.  This SEC data is freely available to the public but is unstructured and is so large that it is very difficult for many researchers to process.  His cataloging and indexing of this database has enable him to write several research papers based on it.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

As an engineer, Dr. Cicon has been involved in many entrepreneurial and innovative activities.  One example of this occurred early in his career when he worked with a small biomedical startup that manufactured various instruments for medical companies.  The company consisted of three people: the ´CEO´ who marketed the firm´s products and procured grants and funding for the firm, Dr. Cicon who developed the new products, and a secretary who ran the front office.  One invention of this firm was an adaptive brain-slice chamber which kept tissue samples alive for study.  Dr. Cicon designed the firmware and electronics which controlled this device, designed the circuit boards and housings for the device, fabricated the printed circuit boards and other parts for prototypes in a lab that he set up on site, tested the device on live samples and iterated the design until it was within specifications, contracted out the large scale manufacture of this device to various small businesses in the Maryland and D.C. area, and lastly, he provided customer support after the device was in production and distribution.

 

Dr. Cicon has also worked for two other startups.  One manufactured automotive safety devices and the other manufactured network test instruments.  The latter company was eventually acquired by Fluke Networks and Dr. Cicon was retained by Fluke as a Senior Staff Engineer.  After several years, Dr. Cicon was recruited by Hewlett Packard.  There Dr. Cicon continued working in entrepreneurial positions, such as the HP-Kodak Joint Venture.  This was a spinoff that manufactured photo kiosks for use in department stores and shopping malls.  Dr. Cicon worked with engineers in Germany, Spain and the Philippines to develop the technology for this device.

 

Commercialization of Intellectual Property

Dr. Cicon holds a law degree (JD) with support areas in Intellectual Property law and Corporate Finance law.  Dr. Cicon is trained in the nuances and legal issues involved in writing patents, securing copyrights, and managing trademarks.  While in Law School, he worked at the University of Missouri Technology Transfer Office.  In this position he was responsible for the commercialization of staff and faculty intellectual property.  When approached by a campus inventor, Dr. Cicon would first conduct a patent search of the inventor´s device or method.  Dependent on the outcome of this search, Dr. Cicon would begin contacting the offices of corporations which were likely candidates for the licensing, franchising or purchasing of the intellectual property.

 

Selected Awards and Other Honors

Outstanding Article Award, Journal of Financial Research, 2014

  • "The Information Content of Management Earnings Forecasts: An Analysis of Hard Versus Soft Information," has been selected as one of the "Outstanding Articles" published in the Journal of Financial Research in 2013.
  • This award included a $2,000 cash prize

 

Building a Magnetic Ball Levitator, Popular Science, 1996

  • This paper has been cited by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, Penn State University, and other schools, despite the fact that it is a non-academic paper.

Significant Service

Military Service: United States Army, Regular Army - four years

  • Operated live electronic warfare and countermeasures missions at covert sites along the Iron Curtain during the Cold War period.

 

Missionary: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – two years

  • Served a full time proselyting mission for the Mormon Church in Vienna, Austria
  • Speak fluent German

 

VOAD Incident Captain. Coordinated the hurricane Sandy cleanup activities of hundreds of volunteers in the central New Jersey region. (October 2012 – January 2013)

  • His unit put in more than 10,000 volunteer hours in the months following Sandy. They helped people in the New Jersey, New York City, Staten Island and Long Island

 

Technical Skills and Tools

Software Languages

  • R, SAS, Mathematica, Python, PERL, BASH, etc
  • C++
    • Over twenty years experience writing code in C++ for industrial control systems, commercial printer drivers, internet protocols (TCP/IP, ATM, Frame Relay, etc). 
    • Has written numerous and extensive natural language processing (e.g. textual analyis) algorithms in C++
  • SQL and mySQL

Databases

  • CRSP, COMPUSTAT, SDC Platinum, TAQ, I/B/E/S, etc

Other Tools

  • Web crawling and scraping, textual analysis, financial algorithms, etc
  • Neural Networks, genetic algorithms, latent stematic analysis, latent dirichlet allocation

Courses I Teach

Not teaching any courses this semester

Courses Taught

 

• International Finance• Portfolio Management and Protection• Financial Management• Corporate Finance• Finance Policy• Business Law 


Research Interests

 

  • Initial Public Offerings
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Financial Markets
  • Behavioral Finance
  • Analysis of Visual Emotive States
  • Computer Aided Textual Analysis
  • Computational Methods
  • Information Retrieval Systems

Publications & Projects

Published Refereed Journal Articles

  • Brockman, P., Cicon, J. E. (2013). The Information Content of Management Earnings Forecasts: An Analysis of Hard versus Soft. Journal of Financial Research, 36(2), 147-173.
  • Cicon, J. E., Clarke, J., Ferris, S., Jayaraman, N. (2013 in press). Managerial Expectations and the Performance of Acquiring Firms: The Contribution of Soft Data. Journal of Behavioral Finance
  • Cicon, J. E., Ferris, S. P., Kamel, A. J., Noronha, G. (2012). European Corporate Governance: a Thematic Analysis of National Codes of Governance. European Financial Management, 18(4), 620–648.

Under Review at Referred Journals

  • Cicon, James (2014) Say it Again Sam: The Idiosyncratic Information Content of Corporate Conference Calls, under review
  • Chance, Don, James Cicon, Steve Ferris (2014) The Dog Ate My Homework: The Attribution of Blame for Poor Corporate Performance, under review
  • Brau, James, James Cicon, Steve McQueen (2014) Soft Strategic Information and IPO Underpricing , under review
  • Brau, James, James Cicon, Steve Ferris (2014) Fooled From the Start: Camouflage in Corporate Bylaws and Charters, under rewiew
  • Sun, Yanjia, Steve Ferris, James Cicon, Ali Akansu (2014) Firm Performance in the Face of Fear, under review

Book Chapters

  • Brockman, P., Cicon, J. E. (2010). In Greg N. Gregoriou (Ed.), The Impact of Hard versus Soft Information on Trading Volume: Evidence from Management Earnings Forecasts. The Handbook of Trading: Strategies for Navigating and Profiting from Currency, Bond, and Stock Markets.

Works in Progress

Many - contact me for more information