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Small caps in international equity portfolios: the effects of variance risk

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  • Massimo Guidolin
  • Giovanna Nicodano

Abstract

We show that predictable covariances between means and variances of stock returns may have a first order effect on portfolio composition. In an international asset menu that includes both European and North American small capitalization equity indices, we find that a three-state, heteroskedastic regime switching VAR model is required to provide a good fit to weekly return data and to accurately predict the dynamics in the joint density of returns. As a result of the non-linear dynamic features revealed by the data, small cap portfolios become riskier in bear markets, i.e. display negative co-skewness with other stock indices. Because of this property, a power utility investor ought to hold a well diversified portfolio, despite the high risk premium and Sharpe ratios offered by small capitalization stocks. On the contrary small caps command large optimal weights when the investor ignores variance risk, by incorrectly assuming joint normality of returns. These results provide the missing partial equilibrium rationale for the presence of co skewness in the empirical asset pricing models that have been proposed to explain the cross-section of stock returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2007. "Small caps in international equity portfolios: the effects of variance risk," Working Papers 2005-075, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2005-075
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    Cited by:

    1. Massimo Guidolin & Stuart Hyde, 2009. "What tames the Celtic Tiger? Portfolio implications from a Multivariate Markov Switching model," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(6), pages 463-488.
    2. Guidolin, Massimo & Hyde, Stuart, 2008. "Equity portfolio diversification under time-varying predictability: Evidence from Ireland, the US, and the UK," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 293-312, October.
    3. Massimo Guidolin, 2011. "Markov Switching Models in Empirical Finance," Advances in Econometrics, in: Missing Data Methods: Time-Series Methods and Applications, pages 1-86, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
    4. Lassance, Nathan, 2022. "Reconciling mean-variance portfolio theory with non-Gaussian returns," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 297(2), pages 729-740.
    5. Carolina Fugazza & Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2010. "1/N and Long Run Optimal Portfolios: Results for Mixed Asset Menus," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 190, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    6. Massimo Guidolin & Federica Ria, 2011. "Regime shifts in mean-variance efficient frontiers: Some international evidence," Journal of Asset Management, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 12(5), pages 322-349, November.
    7. Jakša Cvitanić & Vassilis Polimenis & Fernando Zapatero, 2008. "Optimal portfolio allocation with higher moments," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 1-28, January.
    8. Daniele Bianchi & Massimo Guidolin, 2014. "Can Linear Predictability Models Time Bull and Bear Real Estate Markets? Out-of-Sample Evidence from REIT Portfolios," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 116-164, July.
    9. Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2010. "Ex Post Portfolio Performance with Predictable Skewness and Kurtosis," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 191, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    10. Bernardi, Mauro & Catania, Leopoldo, 2018. "Portfolio optimisation under flexible dynamic dependence modelling," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 1-18.
    11. Turtle, H.J. & Zhang, Chengping, 2012. "Time-varying performance of international mutual funds," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 334-348.
    12. Massimo Guidolin & Stuart Hyde, 2008. "Equity portfolio diversification under time-varying predictability and comovements: evidence from Ireland, the US, and the UK," Working Papers 2008-005, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    13. Lai, Jing-yi, 2012. "Shock-dependent conditional skewness in international aggregate stock markets," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 72-83.

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    Keywords

    Investments; Foreign;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G - Financial Economics

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