Market Timing and Model Uncertainty: An Explanatory Study for the Swiss Stock Market
Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2005
Posted: 9 Sep 2005
We use statistical model selection criteria and AVRAMOV's (2002) Bayesian model averaging approach to analyze the sample evidence of stock market predictability in the presence of model uncertainty. The empirical analysis for the Swiss stock market is based on a number of predictive variables found important in previous studies of return predictability. We find that it is difficult to discard any predictive variable as completely worthless, but that the posterior probabilities of the individual forecasting models as well as the cumulative posterior probabilities of the predictive variables are time-varying. Moreover, the estimates of the posterior probabilities are not robust to whether the predictive variables are stochastically detrended or not. The decomposition of the variance of predicted future returns into the components parameter uncertainty, model uncertainty, and the uncertainty attributed to forecast errors indicates that the respective contributions strongly depend on the time period under consideration and the initial values of the predictive variables. In contrast to AVRAMOV (2002), model uncertainty is generally not more important than parameter uncertainty. Finally, we demonstrate the implications of model uncertainty for market timing strategies. In general, our results do not indicate any reliable out-of-sample return predictability. Among the predictive variables, the dividend-price ratio exhibits the worst external validation on average. Again in contrast to AVRAMOV (2002), our analysis suggests that the out-of-sample performance of the Bayesian model averaging approach is not superior to the statistical model selection criteria. Consequently, model averaging does not seem to help improve the performance of the resulting short-term market timing strategies.
JEL Classification: G0, G1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation