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From the horse's mouth: gauging conditional expected stock returns from investor surveys

  • Gene Amromin
  • Steven A. Sharpe

We use data obtained from a series of Michigan Surveys of Consumer Attitudes to study stock market beliefs and portfolio choices of individual investors. We find that expected returns over the medium- and long-term horizon appear to be extrapolated from past realized returns. The findings also indicate that a more optimistic assessment of macroeconomic conditions coincides with higher expected returns and lower expected volatility, implying strongly procyclical Sharpe ratios. These results are given added credence by the empirical finding that reported portfolio concentrations in equities tend to be higher for respondents who anticipate higher returns and lower uncertainty. Overall, our empirical results lend support to the hypothesis that equity valuations are lower during recessions--and--subsequent returns are higher--because of undue pessimism about future returns, rather than high risk aversion.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2005-26.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2005-26
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  17. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 1996. "Market timing ability and volatility implied in investment newsletters' asset allocation recommendations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 397-421, November.
  18. James Claus, 2001. "Equity Premia as Low as Three Percent? Evidence from Analysts' Earnings Forecasts for Domestic and International Stock Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1629-1666, October.
  19. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
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