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Keywords:Assets (Accounting) 

Working Paper
Optimal portfolio choice under regime switching, skew and kurtosis preferences
This paper proposes a new tractable approach to solving multi-period asset allocation problems. We assume that investor preferences are defined over moments of the terminal wealth distribution such as its skew and kurtosis. Time-variations in investment opportunities are driven by a regime switching process that can capture bull and bear states. We develop analytical methods that only require solving a small set of difference equations and thus are very convenient to use. These methods are applied to a simple portfolio selection problem involving choosing between a stock index and a risk-free asset in the presence of bull and bear states in the return distribution. If the market is in a bear state, investors increase allocations to stocks the longer their time horizon. Conversely, in bull markets it is optimal for investors to decrease allocations to stocks the longer their investment horizon.
AUTHORS: Guidolin, Massimo; Timmerman, Allan
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
Foreign exchange volatility is priced in equities
This paper finds that standard asset pricing models fail to explain the significantly positive delta hedging errors from writing options on foreign exchange futures. Foreign exchange volatility does influence stock returns, however. The volatility of the JPY/USD exchange rate predicts the time series of stock returns and is priced in the cross-section of stock returns. Foreign exchange volatility risk might be priced because of its relation to foreign exchange level risk. ; Earlier title: Is foreign exchange delta hedging risk priced?
AUTHORS: Guo, Hui; Neely, Christopher J.; Higbee, Jason
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Predictable dynamics in the S&P 500 index options implied volatility surface
One key stylized fact in the empirical option pricing literature is the existence of an implied volatility surface (IVS). The usual approach consists of fitting a linear model linking the implied volatility to the time to maturity and the moneyness, for each cross section of options data. However, recent empirical evidence suggests that the parameters characterizing the IVS change over time. In this paper we study whether the resulting predictability patterns in the IVS coefficients may be exploited in practice. We propose a two-stage approach to modeling and forecasting the S&P 500 index options IVS. In the first stage we model the surface along the cross-sectional moneyness and time-to-maturity dimensions, similarly to Dumas et al. (1998). In the second-stage we model the dynamics of the cross-sectional first-stage implied volatility surface coefficients by means of vector autoregression models. We find that not only the S&P 500 implied volatility surface can be successfully modeled, but also that its movements over time are highly predictable in a statistical sense. We then examine the economic significance of this statistical predictability with mixed findings. Whereas profitable delta-hedged positions can be set up that exploit the dynamics captured by the model under moderate transaction costs and when trading rules are selective in terms of expected gains from the trades, most of this profitability disappears when we increase the level of transaction costs and trade multiple contracts off wide segments of the IVS. This suggests that predictability of the time-varying S&P 500 implied volatility surface may be not inconsistent with market efficiency.
AUTHORS: Goncalves, Silvia; Guidolin, Massimo
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
High equity premia and crash fears. Rational foundations
We show that when in Lucas trees model the process for dividends is described by a lattice tree subject to infrequent but observable structural breaks, in equilibrium recursive rational learning may inflate the equity risk premium and reduce the risk-free interest rate for low levels of risk aversion. The key condition for these results to obtain is the presence of sufficient initial pessimism. The relevance of these findings is magnified by the fact that under full information our artificial economy cannot generate asset returns matching the empirical evidence for any positive relative risk aversion.
AUTHORS: Guidolin, Massimo
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
Pessimistic beliefs under rational learning: quantitative implications for the equity premium puzzle
In the presence of infrequent but observable structural breaks, we show that a model in which the representative agent is on a rational learning path concerning the real consumption growth process can generate high equity premia and low risk-free interest rates. In fact, when the model is calibrated to U.S. consumption growth data, average risk premia and bond yields similar to those displayed by post- depression (1938-1999) U.S. historical experience are generated for low levels of risk aversion. Even ruling out pessimistic beliefs, recursive learning inflates the equity premium without requiring a strong curvature of the utility function. Simulations reveal that other moments of equilibrium asset returns are easily matched, chiefly excess volatility and the presence of ARCH effects. These findings are robust to a number of details of the simulation experiments, such as the number and dating of the breaks.
AUTHORS: Guidolin, Massimo
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
Modelling the MIB30 implied volatility surface. Does market efficiency matter?
We analyze the volatility surface vs. moneyness and time to expiration implied by MIBO options written on the MIB30, the most important Italian stock index. We specify and fit a number of models of the implied volatility surface and find that it has a rich and interesting structure that strongly departs from a constant volatility, Black-Scholes benchmark. This result is robust to alternative econometric approaches, including generalized least squares approaches that take into account both the panel structure of the data and the likely presence of heteroskedasticity and serial correlation in the random disturbances. Finally we show that the degree of pricing efficiency of this options market can strongly condition the results of the econometric analysis and therefore our understanding of the pricing mechanism underlying observed MIBO option prices. Applications to value-at-risk and portfolio choice calculations illustrate the importance of using arbitrage-free data only.
AUTHORS: Cassesse, Gianluca; Guidolin, Massimo
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
Properties of equilibrium asset prices under alternative learning schemes
This paper characterizes equilibrium asset prices under adaptive, rational and Bayesian learning schemes in a model where dividends evolve on a binomial lattice. The properties of equilibrium stock and bond prices under learning are shown to differ significantly compared with prices under full information rational expectations. Learning causes the discount factor and risk-neutral probability measure to become path-dependent and introduces serial correlation and volatility clustering in stock returns. We also derive conditions under which the expected value and volatility of stock prices will be higher under learning than under full information. Finally, we derive restrictions on prior beliefs under which Bayesian and rational learning lead to identical prices and show how the results can be generalized to more complex settings where dividends follow either multi-state i.i.d. distributions or multi-state Markov chains.
AUTHORS: Guidolin, Massimo; Timmerman, Allan
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
Measuring financial asset return and volatility spillovers, with application to global equity markets
The authors provide a simple and intuitive measure of interdependence of asset returns and/or volatilities. In particular, they formulate and examine precise and separate measures of return spillovers and volatility spillovers. The authors framework facilitates study of both noncrisis and crisis episodes, including trends and bursts in spillovers, and both turn out to be empirically important. In particular, in an analysis of 19 global equity markets from the early 1990s to the present, they find striking evidence of divergent behavior in the dynamics of return spillovers vs. volatility spillovers: Return spillovers display a gently increasing trend but no bursts, whereas volatility spillovers display no trend but clear bursts.
AUTHORS: Diebold, Francis X.; Yilmaz, Kamil
DATE: 2008

Report
Financial intermediation, asset prices, and macroeconomic dynamics
Fluctuations in the aggregate balance sheets of financial intermediaries provide a window on the joint determination of asset prices and macroeconomic aggregates. We document that financial intermediary balance sheets contain strong predictive power for future excess returns on a broad set of equity, corporate, and Treasury bond portfolios. We also show that the same intermediary variables that predict excess returns forecast real economic activity and various measures of inflation. Our findings point to the importance of financing frictions in macroeconomic dynamics and provide quantitative guidance for preemptive macroprudential and monetary policies.
AUTHORS: Adrian, Tobias; Shin, Hyun Song; Moench, Emanuel
DATE: 2010

Report
Financial amplification mechanisms and the Federal Reserve's supply of liquidity during the crisis
The small decline in the value of mortgage-related assets relative to the large total losses associated with the financial crisis suggests the presence of financial amplification mechanisms, which allow relatively small shocks to propagate through the financial system. We review the literature on financial amplification mechanisms and discuss the Federal Reserve's interventions during different stages of the crisis in light of this literature. We interpret the Fed's early-stage liquidity programs as working to dampen balance sheet amplifications arising from the positive feedback between financial constraints and asset prices. By comparison, the Fed's later-stage crisis programs take into account adverse-selection amplifications that operate via increases in credit risk and the externality imposed by risky borrowers on safe ones. Finally, we provide new empirical evidence that increases in the Federal Reserve's liquidity supply reduce interest rates during periods of high liquidity risk. Our analysis has implications for the impact on market prices of a potential withdrawal of liquidity supply by the Fed.
AUTHORS: Sarkar, Asani; Shrader, Jeffrey
DATE: 2010

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