Three essays on stock market risk estimation and aggregation

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Chen, Hai Feng
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This dissertation consists of three essays. In the first essay, I estimate a high dimensional covariance matrix of returns for 88 individual stocks from the S&P 100 index, using daily return data for 1995-2005. This study applies the two-step estimator of the dynamic conditional correlation multivariate GARCH model, proposed by Engle (2002b) and Engle and Sheppard (2001) and applies variations of this model. This is the first study estimating variances and covariances of returns using a large number of individual stocks (e.g., Engle and Sheppard (2001) use data on various aggregate sub-indexes of stocks). This avoids errors in estimation of GARCH models with contemporaneous aggregation of stocks (e.g. Nijman and Sentana 1996; Komunjer 2001). Second, this is the first multivariate GARCH adopting a systematic general-to-specific approach to specification of lagged returns in the mean equation. Various alternatives to simple GARCH are considered in step one univariate estimation, and econometric results favour an asymmetric EGARCH extension of Engle and Sheppard’s model. In essay two, I aggregate a variance-covariance matrix of return risk (estimated using DCC-MVGARCH in essay one) to an aggregate index of return risk. This measure of risk is compared with the standard approach to measuring risk from a simple univariate GARCH model of aggregate returns. In principle the standard approach implies errors in estimation due to contemporaneous aggregation of stocks. The two measures are compared in terms of correlation and economic values: measures are not perfectly correlated, and the economic value for the improved estimate of risk as calculated here is substantial. Essay three has three parts. The major part is an empirical study of the aggregate risk return tradeoff for U.S. stocks using daily data. Recent research indicates that past risk-return studies suffer from inadequate sample size, and this suggests using daily rather than monthly data. Modeling dynamics/lags is critical in daily models, and apparently this is the first such study to model lags correctly using a general to specific approach. This is also the first risk return study to apply Wu tests for possible problems of endogeneity/measurement error for the risk variable. Results indicate a statistically significant positive relation between expected returns and risk, as is predicted by capital asset pricing models. Development of the Wu test leads naturally into a model relating aggregate risk of returns to economic variables from the risk return study. This is the first such model to include lags in variables based on a general to specific methodology and to include covariances of such variables. I also derive coefficient links between such models and risk-return models, so in theory these models are more closely related than has been realized in past literature. Empirical results for the daily model are consistent with theory and indicate that the economic and financial variables explain a substantial part of variation in daily risk of returns. The first section of this essay also investigates at a theoretical and empirical level several alternative index number approaches for aggregating multivariate risk over stocks. The empirical results indicate that these indexes are highly correlated for this data set, so only the simplest indexes are used in the remainder of the essay.
Risk-Return Tradeoff, Risk Estimation, Risk Aggregation, Dynamic Conditional Correlation Multivariate GARCH