Biases and Portfolio Selection

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Investors tend to be their own worst enemies. In this third course, you will learn how to capitalize on understanding behavioral biases and irrational behavior in financial markets. You will start by learning about the various behavioral biases – mistakes that investors make and understand their reasons. You will learn how to recognize your own mistakes as well as others’ and understand how these mistakes can affect investment decisions and financial markets. You will also explore how different preferences and investment horizons impact the optimal asset allocation choice.

After this course, you will be more effective in overcoming biases to do the wrong things at the wrong times and tailoring an investment strategy that is best suited on your or your client’s profile and investment needs.


Efficient markets hypothesis and limits of arbitrage
-This module introduces the third course in the Investment and Portfolio Management Specialization. In this module, we first present the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) – another pillar idea of modern finance. You will learn about its rationale as well as the empirical evidence that supports and challenges the predictions of the EMH such as anomalies. Finally, we will consider why smart money may sometimes fail to exploit away anomalies in financial markets.

Biases and realistic preferences
-In this module, we review the behavioral critique of market rationality. In contrast to the presumption that investors are rational, behavioral finance starts with the assumption that they are not. We will examine some of the information-processing and behavioral biases uncovered by psychologists in several contexts. In addition, we will consider alternative, more realistic ways of describing investor preferences.

Inefficient markets
-In this module, we review a number of puzzles related to the aggregate stock market and the cross-section of average stock returns that have been documented in the literature. We examine how the behavioral biases and tendencies discussed in the previous module might result in some of these puzzles observed in financial markets.

Applications: Investor behavior
-In this last brief module, we turn our attention to the behavior of individual investors and review the empirical evidence on how behavioral biases and tendencies we discussed in the previous modules affect individual investor portfolio choice and trading decisions.