Noise Traders, Market Sentiment, and Futures Price Behavior
39 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 1997
Date Written: May 1997
The noise trader sentiment model of De Long, Shleifer, Summers, and Waldmann (1990a) is applied to futures markets. The theoretical results predict that overly optimistic (pessimistic) noise traders result in market prices that are greater (less) than fundamental value. Thus, returns can be predicted using the level of noise trader sentiment. The null rational expectations hypothesis is tested against the noise trader alternative using a commercial market sentiment index as a proxy for noise trader sentiment. Fama-MacBeth cross-sectional regressions test if noise traders create a systematic bias in futures prices. The time-series predictability of futures returns using known sentiment levels is tested in a Cumby-Modest market timing framework and a more general causality specification. The empirical results lead to the following conclusions. First, there is no evidence that noise trader sentiment creates a systematic bias in futures prices. Second, predictable market returns using noise trader sentiment is not characteristic of futures markets in general. Third, futures market returns at weekly intervals are characterized by low-order positive autocorrelation with relatively small autoregressive parameters. In those instances where there is evidence of noise trader effects, it is at best limited to isolated markets and particular specifications.
JEL Classification: G0, G1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation