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Good Times or Bad Times? Investors' Uncertainty and Stock Returns

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  • Arzu Ozoguz

Abstract

This paper investigates empirically the dynamics of investors' beliefs and Bayesian uncertainty about the state of the economy as state variables that describe the time-variation in investment opportunities. Using measures of uncertainty constructed from the state probabilities estimated from two-state regime-switching models of aggregate market return and of aggregate output, I find a negative relationship between the level of uncertainty and asset valuations. This relationship shows substantial cross-sectional variation across portfolios sorted on size, book-to-market, and past returns, especially conditional on the state of the economy. I show that a conditional model with investors' beliefs and an uncertainty risk factor is remarkably successful in explaining a large part of the cross-sectional variation in average portfolio returns. The uncertainty risk factor retains its incremental explanatory power when compared to other conditional models such as the conditional CAPM. The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:11:p:4377-4422
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhn097
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bird, Ron & Yeung, Danny, 2012. "How do investors react under uncertainty?," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 310-327.
    2. Tsangyao Chang & Wen-Yi Chen & Rangan Gupta & Duc Khuong Nguyen, 2013. "Are Stock Prices Related to Political Uncertainty Index in OECD Countries? Evidence from Bootstrap Panel Causality Test," Working Papers 201360, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    3. repec:ipg:wpaper:36 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Kim, Dongcheol & Roh, Tai-Yong & Min, Byoung-Kyu & Byun, Suk-Joon, 2014. "Time-varying expected momentum profits," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 191-215.
    5. Maio, Paulo, 2013. "Return decomposition and the Intertemporal CAPM," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 4958-4972.
    6. repec:eee:intfin:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:15-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hae mi Choi, 2014. "When Good News Is Not So Good: Economy-wide Uncertainty and Stock Returns," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(9-10), pages 1101-1123, November.
    8. Goodell, John W. & Vähämaa, Sami, 2013. "US presidential elections and implied volatility: The role of political uncertainty," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1108-1117.
    9. Carmine Trecroci, 2014. "How Do Alphas and Betas Move? Uncertainty, Learning and Time Variation in Risk Loadings," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(2), pages 257-278, April.
    10. Ariel M. Viale & Jeff Madura, 2014. "Learning Banks' Exposure To Systematic Risk: Evidence From The Financial Crisis Of 2008," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 37(1), pages 75-98, February.
    11. Bucher, Melk C., 2017. "Investor Attention and Sentiment: Risk or Anomaly?," Working Papers on Finance 1712, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    12. Xiao, Yuchao & Faff, Robert & Gharghori, Philip & Min, Byoung-Kyu, 2013. "Pricing innovations in consumption growth: A re-evaluation of the recursive utility model," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4465-4475.
    13. Massimo Guidolin, 2013. "Markov switching models in asset pricing research," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Empirical Finance, chapter 1, pages 3-44 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Kang, Wensheng & Ratti, Ronald A., 2013. "Oil shocks, policy uncertainty and stock market return," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 305-318.
    15. Elie Bouri & Rangan Gupta & Seyedmehdi Hosseini & Chi Keung Marco Lau, 2017. "Does Global Fear Predict Fear in BRICS Stock Markets? Evidence from a Bayesian Graphical VAR Model," Working Papers 201704, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    16. Chang, Tsangyao & Chen, Wen-Yi & Gupta, Rangan & Nguyen, Duc Khuong, 2015. "Are stock prices related to the political uncertainty index in OECD countries? Evidence from the bootstrap panel causality test," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 288-300.
    17. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:1-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Maio, Paulo & Santa-Clara, Pedro, 2012. "Multifactor models and their consistency with the ICAPM," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 586-613.
    19. repec:ipg:wpaper:2013-036 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:eee:jfinec:v:126:y:2017:i:3:p:471-489 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Chung, San-Lin & Hung, Chi-Hsiou & Yeh, Chung-Ying, 2012. "When does investor sentiment predict stock returns?," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 217-240.
    22. Vichet Sum, 2013. "The ASEAN Stock Market Performance and Economic Policy Uncertainty in the United States," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(4), pages 512-521, December.

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