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From the horse’s mouth: how do investor expectations of risk and return vary with economic conditions?

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  • Gene Amromin
  • Steven Sharpe

Abstract

Data obtained from monthly Gallup/UBS surveys from 1998-2007 and from a special supplement to the Michigan Surveys of Consumer Attitudes, run in 22 monthly surveys between 2000-2005, are used to analyze stock market beliefs and portfolio choices of household investors. We show that the key variables found to be positive predictors of actual stock returns in the asset-pricing literature are also highly correlated with investor’s reported expected returns, but with the opposite sign. Moreover, analysis of the micro data indicates that expectations of both risk and returns on stocks are strongly influenced by perceptions of economic conditions. ; In particular, when investors believe macroeconomic conditions are more expansionary, they tend to expect both higher returns and lower volatility. This is difficult to reconcile with the canonical view that expected returns on stocks rise during recessions to compensate household investors for increased exposure or sensitivity to macroeconomic risks. Finally, the relevance of these investors’ reported expectations is supported by the finding of a significant link between their expectations and portfolio choices. In particular, we show that portfolio equity positions tend to be higher for those respondents that anticipate higher expected returns or lower uncertainty.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2012-08.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2012-08

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Keywords: Stocks ; Macroeconomics - Econometric models ; Risk - Mathematical models;

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  1. Jacob Boudoukh & Roni Michaely & Matthew Richardson & Michael Roberts, 2004. "On the Importance of Measuring Payout Yield: Implications for Empirical Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 10651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Simon Gervais & Terrance Odean, . "Learning To Be Overconfident," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 05-97, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  9. Mordecai Kurz & Maurizio Motolese, 2007. "Diverse Beliefs and Time Variability of Risk Premia," Discussion Papers 06-044, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  10. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2004. "How Should We Measure Consumer Confidence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 51-66, Spring.
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  13. Lily Qiu & Ivo Welch, 2004. "Investor Sentiment Measures," NBER Working Papers 10794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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