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Financial Asset Returns, Market Timing, and Volatility Dynamics

  • Peter Christoffersen
  • Francis X. Diebold

We consider three sets of phenomena that feature prominently and separately in the financial economics literature: conditional mean dependence (or lack thereof) in asset returns, dependence (and hence forecastability) in asset return signs with implications for market timing, and dependence (and hence forecastability) in asset return volatilities. We show that they are very much interrelated, and we explore the relationships in detail. Among other things, we show that: (1) Volatility dependence produces sign dependence, so long as expected returns are nonzero. Hence one should expect sign dependence, given the overwhelming evidence of volatility dependence. (2) The standard finding of little or no conditional mean dependence is entirely consistent with a significant degree of sign dependence and volatility dependence. In particular, sign dependence does not imply market inefficiency. (3) Sign dependence is not likely to be found via analysis of sign autocorrelations, because the nature of sign dependence is highly nonlinear. (4) Sign dependence is not likely to be found in very high-frequency (e.g., daily) or very low-frequency (e.g., annual) returns. Instead, it is more likely to be found at intermediate return horizons. Nous considérons trois ensembles de phénomènes qui sont souvent - et séparément - discutés dans la littérature d'économie financière, à savoir la dépendance de la moyenne conditionnelle (ou l'absence de dépendance) dans les rendements d'actifs, la dépendance (et donc prévisibilité) des signes de rendements d'actifs ainsi que leurs implications dans le timing du marché, et la dépendance (et donc prévisibilité) dans les volatilités des rendements d'actifs. Nous montrons que ces phénomènes sont étroitement interreliés et nous explorons leurs relations en détail. Entre autres, nous montrons que : 1) la dépendance de la volatilité produit une dépendance du signe tant que les rendements attendus sont non nuls. On devrait par conséquent s attendre à une dépendance du signe, étant donné la présence notoire de dépendance de volatilité; 2) le résultat classique qui ne trouve que peu ou pas de dépendance de la moyenne conditionnelle est parfaitement compatible avec un degré significatif de dépendance de signe et de dépendance de volatilité. En particulier, la dépendance de signe n'implique pas une inefficacité du marché; 3) Il est peu probable qu'une analyse des autocorrélations de signes révèle une dépendance de signe, parce que la nature de la dépendance du signe est fortement non linéaire; 4) il est également peu probable que l'on retrouve une dépendance de signe dans des rendements à très haute fréquence (par exemple quotidiens) ou à très basse fréquence (par exemple annuels). Il est plus probable qu'on la trouve avec des horizons de rendements intermédiaires.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2002s-02.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2002s-02
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