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Small Caps in International Equity Portfolios: The Effects of Variance Risk

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  • Massimo Guidolin

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Giovanna Nicodano

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Turin and Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin)

Abstract

Small capitalization stocks are known to have asymmetric risk across bull and bear markets. This paper investigates how variance risk affects international equity diversification by examining the portfolio choice of a power utility investor confronted with an asset menu that includes (but is not limited to) European and North American small equity portfolios. Stock returns are generated by a multivariate regime switching process that is able to account for both non-normality and predictability of stock returns. Non-normality matters for portfolio choice because the investor has a power utility function, implying a preference for positively skewed returns and aversion to kurtosis. We find that small cap portfolios command large optimal weights only when regime switching (and hence variance risk) is ignored. Otherwise a rational investor ought to hold a well-diversified portfolio. However, the availability of small caps substantially increases expected utility, in the order of riskless annualized gains of 3 percent and higher. These findings are robust to a number of modifications concerning the coefficient of relative risk aversion, the investment horizon, short-sale possibilities, and the exact structure of the asset menu.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy) in its series CeRP Working Papers with number 41.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crp:wpaper:41

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Related research

Keywords: strategic asset allocation; markov-switching; size effects; liquidity (variance) risk;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Carolina Fugazza & Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2010. "1/N and Long Run Optimal Portfolios: Results for Mixed Asset Menus," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 190, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  2. Lai, Jing-yi, 2012. "Shock-dependent conditional skewness in international aggregate stock markets," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 72-83.
  3. Jakša Cvitanić & Vassilis Polimenis & Fernando Zapatero, 2008. "Optimal portfolio allocation with higher moments," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 1-28, January.
  4. Massimo Guidolin, 2011. "Markov Switching Models in Empirical Finance," Working Papers 415, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2010. "Ex Post Portfolio Performance with Predictable Skewness and Kurtosis," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 191, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  6. Massimo Guidolin & Stuart Hyde, 2009. "What tames the Celtic Tiger? Portfolio implications from a Multivariate Markov Switching model," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(6), pages 463-488.
  7. Turtle, H.J. & Zhang, Chengping, 2012. "Time-varying performance of international mutual funds," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 334-348.
  8. Guidolin, Massimo & Hyde, Stuart, 2008. "Equity portfolio diversification under time-varying predictability: Evidence from Ireland, the US, and the UK," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 293-312, October.
  9. Massimo Guidolin & Stuart Hyde, 2008. "Equity portfolio diversification under time-varying predictability and comovements: evidence from Ireland, the US, and the UK," Working Papers 2008-005, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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