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Diversification in Portfolios of Individual Stocks: 100 Stocks Are Not Enough


  • Dale L. Domian
  • David A. Louton
  • Marie D. Racine


We examine returns and ending wealth in portfolios selected from 1,000 large U.S. stocks over a 20-year holding period. Shortfall risk, the possibility of ending wealth being below a target, is a useful metric for long horizon investors and is consistent with the Safety First criterion. Density functions obtained from simulations illustrate that shortfall risk reduction continues as portfolio size is increased, even above 100 stocks. A slightly lower risk can be achieved in small portfolios by diversifying across industries, but a greater reduction is obtained by simply increasing the number of stocks. Copyright 2007, The Eastern Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Dale L. Domian & David A. Louton & Marie D. Racine, 2007. "Diversification in Portfolios of Individual Stocks: 100 Stocks Are Not Enough," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 557-570, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:finrev:v:42:y:2007:i:4:p:557-570

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    Cited by:

    1. Vitali Alexeev & Mardi Dungey, 2015. "Equity portfolio diversification with high frequency data," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(7), pages 1205-1215, July.
    2. Li, Zhongfei & Yao, Jing & Li, Duan, 2010. "Behavior patterns of investment strategies under Roy's safety-first principle," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 167-179, May.
    3. Hyung, Namwon & de Vries, Casper G., 2012. "Simulating and calibrating diversification against black swans," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1162-1175.
    4. Hannah Cheng Juan Zhan & William Rea & Alethea Rea, 2015. "A Comparision of Three Network Portfolio Selection Methods -- Evidence from the Dow Jones," Papers 1512.01905,
    5. Alexeev, Vitali & Tapon, Francis, 2013. "Equity Portfolio Diversification: How Many Stocks are Enough? Evidence from Five Developed Markets," Working Papers 2013-16, University of Tasmania, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, revised 20 Nov 2013.
    6. Cheng Juan Zhan & William Rea & Alethea Rea, 2016. "Stock Selection as a Problem in Phylogenetics—Evidence from the ASX," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-19, September.
    7. Yunker, James A. & Melkumian, Alla A., 2010. "The effect of capital wealth on optimal diversification: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 90-98, February.
    8. Hannah Cheng Juan Zhan & William Rea & Alethea Rea, 2014. "An Application of Correlation Clustering to Portfolio Diversification," Working Papers in Economics 14/11, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    9. Sirapat Polwitoon & Oranee Tawatnuntachai, 2013. "In Search of Optimal Number of Bond Funds," Journal of Applied Finance & Banking, SCIENPRESS Ltd, vol. 3(1), pages 1-5.
    10. Haizhen Wang & Ratthachat Chatpatanasiri & Pairote Sattayatham, 2017. "Stock Trading Using PE ratio: A Dynamic Bayesian Network Modeling on Behavioral Finance and Fundamental Investment," Papers 1706.02985,
    11. Namwon Hyung & Casper G. de Vries, 2010. "The Downside Risk of Heavy Tails induces Low Diversification," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-082/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Tienyu Hwang & Simon Gao & Heather Owen, 2012. "A two-pass model study of the CAPM: evidence from the UK stock market," Studies in Economics and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(2), pages 89-104, June.

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