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Good Debt or Bad Debt: Detecting Semantic Orientations in Economic Texts


  • Pekka Malo
  • Ankur Sinha
  • Pyry Takala
  • Pekka Korhonen
  • Jyrki Wallenius


The use of robo-readers to analyze news texts is an emerging technology trend in computational finance. In recent research, a substantial effort has been invested to develop sophisticated financial polarity-lexicons that can be used to investigate how financial sentiments relate to future company performance. However, based on experience from other fields, where sentiment analysis is commonly applied, it is well-known that the overall semantic orientation of a sentence may differ from the prior polarity of individual words. The objective of this article is to investigate how semantic orientations can be better detected in financial and economic news by accommodating the overall phrase-structure information and domain-specific use of language. Our three main contributions are: (1) establishment of a human-annotated finance phrase-bank, which can be used as benchmark for training and evaluating alternative models; (2) presentation of a technique to enhance financial lexicons with attributes that help to identify expected direction of events that affect overall sentiment; (3) development of a linearized phrase-structure model for detecting contextual semantic orientations in financial and economic news texts. The relevance of the newly added lexicon features and the benefit of using the proposed learning-algorithm are demonstrated in a comparative study against previously used general sentiment models as well as the popular word frequency models used in recent financial studies. The proposed framework is parsimonious and avoids the explosion in feature-space caused by the use of conventional n-gram features.

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  • Pekka Malo & Ankur Sinha & Pyry Takala & Pekka Korhonen & Jyrki Wallenius, 2013. "Good Debt or Bad Debt: Detecting Semantic Orientations in Economic Texts," Papers 1307.5336,, revised Jul 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1307.5336

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nutz, Marcel & van Handel, Ramon, 2013. "Constructing sublinear expectations on path space," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 123(8), pages 3100-3121.
    2. Bruno Bouchard & Marcel Nutz, 2011. "Weak Dynamic Programming for Generalized State Constraints," Papers 1105.0745,, revised Oct 2012.
    3. Marcel Nutz, 2010. "Random G-expectations," Papers 1009.2168,, revised Sep 2013.
    4. Marcel Nutz & Ramon van Handel, 2012. "Constructing Sublinear Expectations on Path Space," Papers 1205.2415,, revised Apr 2013.
    5. (**), Hui Wang & Jaksa Cvitanic & (*), Walter Schachermayer, 2001. "Utility maximization in incomplete markets with random endowment," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 259-272.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paola Cerchiello & Giancarlo Nicola, 2017. "Assessing News Contagion in Finance," DEM Working Papers Series 139, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    2. Paola Cerchiello & Giancarlo Nicola & Samuel Rönnqvist & Peter Sarlin, 2017. "Deep Learning Bank Distress from News and Numerical Financial Data," DEM Working Papers Series 140, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    3. Samuel Ronnqvist & Peter Sarlin, 2016. "Bank distress in the news: Describing events through deep learning," Papers 1603.05670,, revised Dec 2016.

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