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Market Timing Ability and Volatility Implied in Investment Newletters' Asset Allocation Recommendations

51 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2004  

John R. Graham

Duke University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Campbell R. Harvey

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Date Written: October 1994

Abstract

We analyze the advice contained in a sample of 237 investment letters over the 1980-1992 period. Each newsletter recommends a mix of equity and cash. We construct portfolios based on these recommendations and find that only a small number of the newsletters appear to have higher average returns than a buy-and-hold portfolio constructed to have the same variance. Knowledge of the asset allocation weights also implies knowledge of the exact conditional betas. As a result, we present direct tests of market timing ability that bypass beta estimation problems. Assuming that different letters cater to investors with different risk aversions, we are able to imply the newsletters' forecasted market returns. The dispersion of the newsletters' forecasts provides a natural measure of disagreement in the market. We find that the degree of disagreement contains information about both market volatility and trading activity.

Suggested Citation

Graham, John R. and Harvey, Campbell R., Market Timing Ability and Volatility Implied in Investment Newletters' Asset Allocation Recommendations (October 1994). NBER Working Paper No. w4890. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226523

John Robert Graham (Contact Author)

Duke University ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7857 (Phone)
919-660-8030 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Campbell R. Harvey

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7768 (Phone)
919-660-8030 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

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