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Small caps in international equity portfolios: the effects of variance risk

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  • Massimo Guidolin
  • Giovanna Nicodano

Abstract

We show that predictable covariances between means and variances of stock returns may have a first order effect on portfolio composition. In an international asset menu that includes both European and North American small capitalization equity indices, we find that a three-state, heteroskedastic regime switching VAR model is required to provide a good fit to weekly return data and to accurately predict the dynamics in the joint density of returns. As a result of the non-linear dynamic features revealed by the data, small cap portfolios become riskier in bear markets, i.e. display negative co-skewness with other stock indices. Because of this property, a power utility investor ought to hold a well diversified portfolio, despite the high risk premium and Sharpe ratios offered by small capitalization stocks. On the contrary small caps command large optimal weights when the investor ignores variance risk, by incorrectly assuming joint normality of returns. These results provide the missing partial equilibrium rationale for the presence of co skewness in the empirical asset pricing models that have been proposed to explain the cross-section of stock returns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2005-075.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Publication status: Published in Annals of Finance, January 2009, 5(1), pp. 15-48
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2005-075

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Massimo Guidolin & Federica Ria, 2010. "Regime shifts in mean-variance efficient frontiers: some international evidence," Working Papers 2010-040, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. 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.
  3. Turtle, H.J. & Zhang, Chengping, 2012. "Time-varying performance of international mutual funds," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 334-348.
  4. Daniele Bianchi & Massimo Guidolin, 2014. "Can Linear Predictability Models Time Bull and Bear Real Estate Markets? Out-of-Sample Evidence from REIT Portfolios," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 116-164, July.
  5. 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.
  6. Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2010. "Ex Post Portfolio Performance with Predictable Skewness and Kurtosis," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 191, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  7. Carolina Fugazza & Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2010. "1/N and long run optimal portfolios: results for mixed asset menus," Working Papers 2010-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  8. Jakša Cvitanić & Vassilis Polimenis & Fernando Zapatero, 2008. "Optimal portfolio allocation with higher moments," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 1-28, January.
  9. 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.
  10. Massimo Guidolin, 2011. "Markov Switching Models in Empirical Finance," Working Papers 415, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. 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.

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