How do investors react under uncertainty?
It has long been accepted that risk plays an important role in determining valuation where risk reflects that investors are unsure of future returns but are able to express their prior expectations by a probability distribution of these returns. Knight (1921) introduced the concept of uncertainty where investors possess incomplete knowledge about this distribution and so are unable to formulate priors over all possible outcomes. One common approach for making uncertainty tractable is to assume that investors faced with uncertainty will base their decisions on the worst case scenario (i.e. follow maxmin expected utility). As a consequence it is postulated that investors will become more pessimistic as uncertainty increases, upgrading bad news and downgrading good news. Using Australian data, we find evidence that investors react to bad news at times of high market uncertainty but largely ignore good news which is consistent with them taking on a pessimistic bias. However, we also find evidence of the reverse when market uncertainty is low with investors taking on an optimistic stance by ignoring bad news but reacting to good news. We also find that the impact that market uncertainty has on the reaction of investors to new information is modified by the prevailing market sentiment at the time of the announcement. Besides throwing light on the question of how uncertainty impacts on investor behaviour, our findings seriously challenge the common assumption made that investors consistently deal with uncertainty by applying maxmin expected utility.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jennifer Conrad & Bradford Cornell & Wayne R. Landsman, 2002. "When Is Bad News Really Bad News?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2507-2532, December.
- Zengjing Chen & Larry Epstein, 2002.
"Ambiguity, Risk, and Asset Returns in Continuous Time,"
Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1403-1443, July.
- Zengjing Chen & Larry G. Epstein, 2000. "Ambiguity, risk and asset returns in continuous time," RCER Working Papers 474, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Larry Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2004.
"Ambiguity, Information Quality and Asset Pricing,"
RCER Working Papers
507, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Arzu Ozoguz, 2009. "Good Times or Bad Times? Investors' Uncertainty and Stock Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(11), pages 4377-4422, November.
- Heath, Chip & Tversky, Amos, 1991. " Preference and Belief: Ambiguity and Competence in Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-28, January.
- Anderson, Evan W. & Ghysels, Eric & Juergens, Jennifer L., 2009. "The impact of risk and uncertainty on expected returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 233-263, November.
- Malcolm Baker & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2007.
"Investor Sentiment in the Stock Market,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 129-152, Spring.
- Kumar, Alok, 2009. "Hard-to-Value Stocks, Behavioral Biases, and Informed Trading," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(06), pages 1375-1401, December.
- Bjørn Eraker, 2004. "Do Stock Prices and Volatility Jump? Reconciling Evidence from Spot and Option Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(3), pages 1367-1404, 06.
- Jennifer Francis & Ryan Lafond & Per Olsson & Katherine Schipper, 2007. "Information Uncertainty and Post-Earnings-Announcement-Drift," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3-4), pages 403-433.
- Alon Brav & J.B. Heaton, 2002. "Competing Theories of Financial Anomalies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 575-606, March.
- X. Frank Zhang, 2006. "Information Uncertainty and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 105-137, 02.
- Matthias Gysler & Jamie Kruse & Renate Schubert, 2002. "Ambiguity and Gender Differences in Financial Decision Making: An Experimental Examination of Competence and Confidence Effects," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 02/23, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
- Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & Weinstein, Jonathan, 2009. "The Ambiguity Aversion Literature: A Critical Assessment," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 249-284, November.
- Dow, James & Werlang, Sergio Ribeiro da Costa, 1992. "Uncertainty Aversion, Risk Aversion, and the Optimal Choice of Portfolio," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 197-204, January.
- Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
- Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2001.
RCER Working Papers
485, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Judson A. Caskey, 2009. "Information in Equity Markets with Ambiguity-Averse Investors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(9), pages 3595-3627, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pacfin:v:20:y:2012:i:2:p:310-327. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.