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Equilibrium Portfolio Strategies in the Presence of Sentiment Risk and Excess Volatility

  • Bernard Dumas
  • Alexander Kurshev
  • Raman Uppal

Our objective is to identify the trading strategy that would allow an investor to take advantage of "excessive" stock price volatility and "sentiment" fluctuations. We construct a general-equilibrium model of sentiment. In it, there are two classes of agents and stock prices are excessively volatile because one class is overconfident about a public signal. As a result, this class of overconfident agents changes its expectations too often, sometimes being excessively optimistic, sometimes being excessively pessimistic. We determine and analyze the trading strategy of the rational investors who are not overconfident about the signal. We find that, because overconfident traders introduce an additional source of risk, rational investors are deterred by their presence and reduce the proportion of wealth invested into equity except when they are extremely optimistic about future growth. Moreover, their optimal portfolio strategy is based not just on a current price divergence but also on their expectation of future sentiment behavior and a prediction concerning the speed of convergence of prices. Thus, the portfolio strategy includes a protection in case there is a deviation from that prediction. We find that long maturity bonds are an essential accompaniment of equity investment, as they serve to hedge this "sentiment risk."

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13401.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Publication status: published as Bernard Dumas & Alexander Kurshev & Raman Uppal, 2009. "Equilibrium Portfolio Strategies in the Presence of Sentiment Risk and Excess Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 579-629, 04.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13401
Note: AP
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