The Asymmetric Effects of Investor Sentiment


We use the returns on lottery-like stocks and a dynamic factor model to construct a novel index of investor sentiment. This new measure is highly correlated with other behavioral indicators, but more closely tracks speculative episodes. Our main new finding is that the effects of sentiment are asymmetric: During peak-to-trough periods of investor sentiment (sentiment contractions), high sentiment predicts low future returns for the cross section of speculative stocks and for the market overall, whereas the relationship between sentiment and future returns is positive but relatively weak during trough-to-peak episodes (sentiment expansions). Overall, these results match theories and anecdotal accounts of investor sentiment.

Macroeconomic Dynamics 20(6). 2016. 1477-1503.