Department/School

Finance

Date of this version

2009

Document Type

Article

Keywords

emerging markets, portfolio diversification, time-varying correlations

Abstract

Low correlations between asset returns increase the portfolio diversification benefits and for U.S. investors emerging market equities are one such class of assets. Several studies indicate that the correlations between asset returns are time-varying and using unconditional estimates of correlation in a portfolio optimization model can result in misallocation of assets. To overcome this problem we use multivariate GARCH models to estimate the time-varying correlations and use the same in portfolio optimization models. Ex-post return calculations show that unrestricted portfolios created with emerging stock indices and S&P 500 index outperform the S&P 500 index by itself. Since investors exhibit strong home bias in their portfolio choice, restricted optimization models are tested. Results indicate that if the total investment in emerging markets is restricted, a minimum investment of twenty percent in emerging markets is required to obtain significant diversification. With investments in each of the emerging market restricted to less than three percent, there was no significant diversification benefit.

Published in

International Journal of Finance and Economics

Citation/Other Information

14 (2) 172-187