Investor sentiment as a factor in an APT model: an international perspective using the FEARS index

Solanki, Kamini Narenda
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Traditional finance theory surrounding the risk-return relationship is underpinned by the CAPM which posits that a single risk factor, specifically market risk, is priced into asset returns. Even though it is a popular asset pricing model, the CAPM has been widely criticised due to its unrealistic assumptions and the APT was developed to address the CAPM’s weaknesses. The APT framework allows for a multitude of risk factors to be priced into asset returns; implying that it can be used to model returns using either macroeconomic or microeconomic factors. As such, the APT allows for non-traditional factors, such as investor sentiment, to be included. A macroeconomic APT framework was developed for nine countries using the variables outlined by Chen, Roll, and Ross (1986) and investor sentiment was measured by the FEARS index (Da, Engelberg, & Gao, 2015). Regression testing was used to determine whether FEARS is a statistically significant explanatory variable in the APT model for each country. The results show that investor sentiment is a statistically significant explanatory variable for market returns in five out of the nine countries examined. These results add to the existing APT literature as they show that investor sentiment has a significant explanatory role in explaining asset prices and their associated returns. The international nature of this study allows it to be extended by considering the role that volatility spill-over or the contagion effect would have on each model.
A thesis submitted to the School of Economic and Business Sciences, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Commerce (M.Com) in Finance, Johannesburg June 2017
Solanki, Kamini Narenda (2017) Investor sentiment as a factor in an APT model: an international perspective using the FEARS index, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>