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Imputing Expected Security Returns from Portfolio Composition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2009


The normative procedures of Markowitz [4], Sharpe [6], and others can be utilized to determine an optimal portfolio (set of security holdings) given estimates of risk, relevant constraints, and expected returns on securities. Building on these foundations, the positive models of Sharpe [7], Lintner [3], Mossin [5], and others assume that investors form portfolios as if they were following such procedures. We observe considerable differences in portfolio composition, some of which undoubtedly stem from differences in expectations. Yet the predictions of most investors are either made implicitly or, if made explicitly, are jealously guarded and hence cannot be observed by outsiders.

Research Article
Copyright © School of Business Administration, University of Washington 1974

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