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stock market investing for individuals

stock market investing for individuals 45
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Published Date:17-07-2017
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Lecture 2: The Kelly criterion for favorable games: stock market investing for individuals David Aldous January 25, 2016Most adults drive/own a car Few adults work in the auto industry. By analogy Most (middle class) adults will have savings/investments Few adults work in the banking/ nance industries. In my list of 100 contexts where we perceive chance (22) Risk and reward in equity ownership refers to the investor's viewpoint; (81) Short-term uctuations of equity prices, exchange rates etc refers to the nance professional's viewpoint.Over the last 30 years there has been a huge increase in the use of sophisticated math models/algorithms in nance, and many \mathematical sciences" majors seek to go into careers in nance. There are many introductory textbooks, such as Capinski - Zastawniak Mathematics for Finance: An Introduction to Financial Engineering. and college courses such as IEOR221. But these represent rst steps toward a professional career; not really relevant to today's lecture. Today's topic is \the stock market from the typical investor's viewpoint". Best treatment is Malkiel's classic book A Random Walk Down Wall Street. But instead of summarizing that book, I will focus on one aspect, and do a little math.There are many di erent theories/viewpoints about the stock market, none of which is the whole truth. So don't believe that anything you read is the whole truth. A conceptual academic view: nancial markets are mostly about moving risk from those who don't want it to those who are willing to be paid to take over the risk. The rationalist view: today's stock price re ects consensus discounted future pro ts, plus a risk premium. This \explains" randomness mathematically (martingale theory). Most math theory starts by assuming some over-simpli ed random model without wondering how randomness arises. Many \psychological" theories say stock prices can stay out of alignment with \true value" for many years cycles of sectors becoming fashionable/unfashionable. \Fundamental analysis" see the Decal course Introduction to Fundamental Investing seeks to assess \true value" better than the market. The ecient market hypothesis says this is not practical. The \just a casino" view emphasizes the fact than most trading is from one owner of existing shares to another, rather than raising new capital for a business to start or grow.Our starting point in this lecture . . . . . . The future behavior of the stock market will be statistically similar to the past behavior in some respects but will be di erent in other respects and we can't tell which. This is true but not helpful So go in one of two directions. 1 Devise your investment strategy under the assumption that \the future will be statistically similar to the past", recognizing this isn't exactly true. 2 Decide (by yourself or advice from others) to believe that the future will be di erent from what the market consensus implies in certain speci c ways, and base your strategy on that belief. Wall St makes money mostly by (2), selling advice or speculating with their own money.I'm not going to discuss whether you should invest in the stock market at all. If you choose to do so, here's the academic viewpoint. The default choice is (something like) a S&P index fund, available with very low expenses. As a matter of logic, because most investments are made via professional managers, their average gross return must be about the same as the market average, so the actual return to an individual investor must be on average be less than the market average, because managers charge fees and expenses. There's overwhelming empirical evidence (next slide, and course project: survey the literature) that individual investors on average do even worse, typically by going in and out of the market, or switching investments.In comparing our default (index fund) with more sensible possible alternatives, the issue is measuring risk and reward in the stock market. Here is the \anchor" data for this lecture. show IFA page Implicit in the gure is that we measure reward = long-term growth rate risk = SD of percentage change each year.Here is a rst issue that arises. it is very hard to pin down a credible and useful number for the historical long-term average growth rate of stock market investments. Over the 51 years 1965-2015 the total return (including dividends) from the S&P500 index rose at (geometric) average rate 9.74% from IFA let's check another source. Aside from the (rather minor) point that we are using a particular index to represent the market what could possibly be wrong with using this gure? Well, it ignores expenses it is sensitive to choice of start and end dates; starting in 1950 would make the gure noticeably higher, whereas ending in 2009 would make it noticeably lower. to interpret the gure we need to compare it to some alternative investment, by convention some \risk-free" investment. it ignores in ation it ignores taxes.Here are two graphs which give very di erent impressions of long-term stock market performance. show S&P index click on max show in ation-adjusted S&PIn comparing our default (index fund) with more sensible possible alternatives, the issue is measuring risk and reward in the stock market. Regarding reward, as said above it is very hard to pin down a credible and useful number for the historical long-term average growth rate of stock market investments. But a typical conclusion is Over the very long run, the stock market has had an in ation-adjusted annualized return rate of between six and seven percent. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - It is not obvious how to measure assign a numerical value to the risk of an investment strategy. If I lend you 100 today and you promise to pay me back 200 in 10 years then my \reward" is 7.0% growth rate but my \risk" is that you don't pay me back and I don't know that probability. A convention in the stock market context is to interpret risk as variability, and measure it as SD of annual percentage returns.IFA and similar sites start out by trying to assess the individual's subjective risk tolerance using a questionnaire. The site then suggests one of a range of 21 portfolios, represented on the slightly curved line in the gure. The horizontal axis shows standard deviation of annual return, (3% to 16%), and the vertical axis shows mean annual return (6% to 13%). Of course this must be historical data, in this case over the last 50 years. Notwithstanding the standard \past performance does not guarantee future results" legal disclaimer, the intended implication is that it is reasonable to expect similar performance in future. Questions: (a) How does this relate to any theory? (b) Should you believe this predicts the actual future if you invested? (c) Does the reward/risk curve continue upwards further? Answers: (a) The Kelly criterion says something like this curve must happen for di erent \good" investment strategies. (b) Even if future is statistically similar to past, any algorithm will \over t" and be less accurate at predicting the future than the past. (c) No.Expectation and gambling. Recalling some basic mathematical setup, write P() for probability and E for expectation. Regarding gambling, any bet has (to the gambler) some random pro t X (a loss being a negative pro t), and we say that an available bet is (to the gambler) favorable ifEX 0 unfavorable ifEX 0 and fair ifEX = 0. Note the word fair here has a speci c meaning. In everyday language, the rules of team sports are fair in the sense of being the same for both teams, so the better team is more likely to win. For 1 unit bet on team B, that is a bet where you gain some amount b units if B wins but lose the 1 unit if B loses, Epro t = bp (1 p); p =P(B wins) and so to make the bet is fair we must have b = (1 p)=p. (Confusingly, mathematicians sometimes say \fair game" to mean each player has chance 1=2 to win, but this is sloppy language).Several issues hidden beneath this terminology should be noted. Outside of games we usually don't know probabilities, so we may not know whether a bet is favorable, aside from the common sense principle that most bets o ered to us will be unfavorable to us. One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to o er to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you're going to wind up with an ear full of cider. spoken by Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, 1955.The terminology (fair, favorable, unfavorable) comes from the law of large numbers fact that if one could repeat the same bet with the same stake independently, then in the long run one would make money on a favorable bet but lose money on an unfavorable bet. Such \long run" arguments ignore the issues of (rational or irrational) risk aversion and utility theory, which will be discussed later. In essence, we are imagining settings where your possible gains or losses are small, in your own perception.Unfavorable bets. Roughly speaking, there are two contexts in which we often encounter unfavorable bets. One concerns most activities we call gambling, e.g. at a casino, and the other concerns insurance. Regarding the former, mathematicians often say ridiculous things such as Gambling against the house at a casino is foolish, because the odds are against you and in the long run you will lose money. What's wrong is the because. Saying Spending a day at Disneyland is foolish, because you will leave with less money than you started with is ridiculous, because people go to Disneyland for entertainment, and know they have to pay for entertainment. And the rst quote is equally ridiculous. Casino gamblers may have irrational ideas about chance and luck, but in the U.S. they typically regard it as entertainment with a chance of winning, not as a plan to make money. So it's worth being more careful and sayingGambling against the house at a casino and expecting to make money is foolish, because the odds are against you and in the long run you will lose money. The second context is that buying insurance is mathematically similar to placing an unfavorable bet your expected gain in negative, because the insurance company wants to cover its costs and make a pro t. But the whole point of buying insurance is risk aversion, so this needs to be treated in the setting of utility theory and psychology of probability (a later Lecture).So where can I nd a favorable bet? The wiseacre answer \start your own casino or insurance company" is not so practical, but a variant of the latter is. For those who can, following the advice increase your insurance deductibles to the maximum you can comfortably a ord to lose is a favorable bet, likely to save you money over a lifetime. In this lecture we consider investing in the stock market as mathematically similar to making a sequence of favorable bets (and letting your winnings ride). Exactly why one could consider this a favorable bet could be debated endlessly standard economic theory asserts that investors need to be rewarded for taking risk rather than using alternative risk-free investments, while empiricists observe that, in countries without anti-capitalist revolutions, the historical performance of stock markets actually has been better than those alternatives.long term versus short term. In everyday language, a job which will only last six months is a short term job; someone who has worked for a company for fteen years is a long term employee. Joining a softball team for a summer is a short term commitment; raising children is a long term commitment. We judge these matters relative to human lifetime; long term means some noticeable fraction of a lifetime. Table: E ect of 7% interest, compounded annually. year 0 4 8 12 16 20 simple interest 1000 1,280 1,560 1,840 2,120 2,400 compound interest 1000 1,311 1,718 2,252 2,952 3,870 One of several possible notions of long term in nancial matters is \the time span over which compounding has a noticeable e ect". Rather arbitrarily interpreting \noticeable e ect" as \10% more" and taking the 7% interest rate, this suggests taking 8 years as the cut-o for long term. Being about 10% of a human lifetime, this fortuitously matches reasonably well the \noticeable fraction of a lifetime" criterion above. And indeed in matters pertaining to individuals, nancial or otherwise, most writers use a cut-o between 5 and 10 years for \long term".The mathematical theme of this lecture is the nature of compounding when gains and losses are unpredictable. The relevant arithmetic is multiplication not addition: a 20% gain followed by a 20% loss combine to a 4% loss, because 1:2 0:8 = 0:96. Let's move on to some mathematics . . . . . .