Irrational fads, short-term memory emulation, and asset predictability
Opponents of the efficient markets hypothesis argue that predictability reflects the psychological factors and “fads” of irrational investors in a speculative market. In that, conventional time series analysis often fails to give an accurate forecast for financial processes due to inherent noise patterns, fat tails, and nonlinear components. A recent stream of literature on behavioral finance has revealed that boundedly rational agents using simple rules of thumb for their decisions under uncertainty provides a more realistic description of human behavior than perfect rationality with optimal decision rules. Consequently, the application of technical analysis in trading could produce high returns. Machine learning techniques have been employed in economic systems in modeling nonlinearities and simulating human behavior. In this study, we expand the literature that evaluates return sign forecasting ability by introducing a recurrent neural network approach that combines heuristic learning and short-term memory emulation, thus mimicking the decision-making process of boundedly rational agents. We investigate the relative direction-of-change predictability of the neural network structure implied by the Lee–White–Granger test as well as compare it to other well-established models for the DJIA index. Moreover, we examine the relationship between stock return volatility and returns. Overall, the proposed model presents high profitability, in particular during “bear” market periods.
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