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International diversification and return differential between the US and the foreign markets


  • Abdullah Noman


Purpose - – This paper aims to examine the impact of the return differential between the domestic and foreign markets on the risk exposure of country mutual funds (CMFs). It is argued that when US market returns are higher than the foreign market returns, the returns chasing investors will tilt their portfolio toward the US market assets, increasing the co-movement between the US market and CMF return. Design/methodology/approach - – The sample includes 19 exchange traded funds (ETFs) and 18 closed-end mutual funds (CEFs) over the period between 2001 and 2011. A static two-factor model is used to get the benchmark results. On the other hand, a conditional specification is used, with the return differential as the information variable, to capture the variation in the exposure of the country funds to their underlying risks. Findings - – Empirically, the authors find results that partially support their argument. The results of the static two-factor model indicate that the CMFs are exposed to the foreign market risks, whereas the local (US) market risk is not generally priced. The results obtained from the conditional specification, however, shows that the estimated US betas are significant for a number of CMFs. Practical implications - – A possible interpretation of this finding is that the return differential encourages return chasing behavior of the US investors documented in the international investment literature. This, in turn, may contribute to the time-varying exposure of the CMF return to their underlying risk factors. The findings of the paper have important implications for the investors as the time variation in risk exposure of CMFs causes fluctuation in diversification benefits over time. Originality/value - – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper that uses return differential as the information variable in a conditional factor model.

Suggested Citation

  • Abdullah Noman, 2015. "International diversification and return differential between the US and the foreign markets," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 14(4), pages 382-397, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:rafpps:v:14:y:2015:i:4:p:382-397

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