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Keywords:

  • return predictability;
  • economic significance;
  • asset allocation;
  • estimation risk

The predictability of stock returns is often assessed using classical statistical significance from predictive regressions. Statistical inference, however, can belie the economic importance with which investors regard various predictors. This paper examines the influence that predictors have on an investor's optimal portfolio allocations. The results show that return predictability is sufficient to induce horizon effects in optimal allocations. After incorporating estimation risk, however, little evidence of predictability remains. We also assess the relative importance of three predictor variables. While dividend yield is the most important predictor, optimal allocations are also sensitive to the term spread and the relative bill rate.