“Investor Sentiment and Economic Forces” by Jianfeng Yu
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota,
This study explores the role of investor sentiment in the pricing of a broad set of macro-related risk factors. Economic theory suggests that pervasive factors (such as TFP and consumption growth) should be priced in the cross-section of stock returns. However, when we form portfolios based directly on their exposure to macro factors, we find that portfolios with higher risk exposure do not earn higher returns. More important, we discover a striking two-regime pattern for all 10 macro-related factors: high-risk portfolios earn significantly higher returns than low-risk portfolios following low-sentiment periods, whereas the exact opposite occurs following high-sentiment periods. We argue that these findings are consistent with a setting in which market- wide sentiment is combined with short-sale impediments and sentiment-driven investors undermine the traditional risk-return tradeoff.