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Sentiment indices on financial markets: What do they measure?

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  • Bormann, Sven-Kristjan

Abstract

Sentiment indices based on investor sentiment surveys attempt to measure the stock market sentiment. The literature on these indices focusses mainly on whether investor sentiment influences the financial markets or not. But the term 'sentiment' has never been defined in the literature. Therefore it is unclear what is measured by sentiment indices, whether it is really sentiment or something different. This paper closes this gap in the literature by using psychological definitions about feelings to explain what might be meant by 'market sentiment'. It shows how useful these definitions are with data from the German sentiment index 'Sentix'. The paper contributes to the current discussion in three ways: 1. It presents a simple concept of sentiments in general. 2. It relates short and long term sentiment indices to two distinct parts of sentiments, emotion and mood. 3. It extracts two factors representing investor emotion and mood across all markets in the dataset. These results are stable across markets and model specifications in the Sentix dataset.

Suggested Citation

  • Bormann, Sven-Kristjan, 2013. "Sentiment indices on financial markets: What do they measure?," Economics Discussion Papers 2013-58, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:201358
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Enke, Benjamin & Zimmermann, Florian, 2013. "Correlation Neglect in Belief Formation," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79900, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Malcolm Baker & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2007. "Investor Sentiment in the Stock Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 129-152, Spring.
    3. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-738, August.
    4. Finter, Philipp & Niessen-Ruenzi, Alexandra & Ruenzi, Stefan, 2010. "The impact of investor sentiment on the German stock market," CFR Working Papers 10-03, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    5. Neal, Robert & Wheatley, Simon M., 1998. "Do Measures of Investor Sentiment Predict Returns?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(04), pages 523-547, December.
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    7. Schmeling, Maik, 2007. "Institutional and individual sentiment: Smart money and noise trader risk?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 127-145.
    8. Tuckett, David, 2009. "Addressing the psychology of financial markets," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 3, pages 1-22.
    9. Brown, Gregory W. & Cliff, Michael T., 2004. "Investor sentiment and the near-term stock market," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-27, January.
    10. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
    11. Tuckett, David, 2009. "Addressing the psychology of financial markets," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-37, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    12. Thomas Lux, 2011. "Sentiment dynamics and stock returns: the case of the German stock market," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 663-679, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sentiment indices; investor sentiment; factor analysis; psychological analysis; financial markets;

    JEL classification:

    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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