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A Mean-Variance Diagnosis of the Financial Crisis: International Diversification and Safe Havens

Author(s): Alexander Eptas | Lawrence A. Leger

Journal: Journal of Risk and Financial Management
ISSN 1911-8066

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 97;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Mean-variance | financial crisis | diversification | safe havens

We use mean-variance analysis with short selling constraints to diagnose the effects of the recent global financial crisis by evaluating the potential benefits of international diversification in the search for ‘safe havens’. We use stock index data for a sample of developed, advanced-emerging and emerging countries. ‘Text-book’ results are obtained for the pre-crisis analysis with the optimal portfolio for any risk-averse investor being obtained as the tangency portfolio of the All-Country portfolio frontier. During the crisis there is a disjunction between bank lending and stock markets revealed by negative average returns and an absence of any empirical Capital Market Line. Israel and Colombia emerge as the safest havens for any investor during the crisis. For Israel this may reflect the protection afforded by special trade links and diaspora support, while for Colombia we speculate that this reveals the impact on world financial markets of the demand for cocaine.
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