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Volume :9 Issue : 2 1983      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Risk-Return Characteristics of Investments in Common Stocks in the Beirut Bourse

Auther : M. Midani

Although the Beirut Bourse has been in existence for over 50 years, no study has been made to answer such questions as: How much would an individual have earned from investing in the market? And how risky would this investment be? Yet there is a widespread belief among the Beirut investment community that the market is highly speculative. The implication is that, given their expected return, investments in common stocks in the Bourse are too risky. This general belief is reflected in a question raised during a recent press interview with the Chairman of the Bourse Committee who was asked about the reason why most investors fear to deal in the Bourse. He responded by stating that it is not matter of fear but rather a habit. In more formal terms, the statement can be interpreted in three possible ways. First, those investors are irrational, i.e., they do not act so as to maximize expected utility. Hence, although the Bourse may offer efficient investments in the risk-return sense, potential investors are unwilling to undertake those investments. While some irrational investment behavior may exist, investors in general can be assumed to act rationally. Second, the statement can be interpreted to mean that the cost of information is so high that when it is incorporated in the return, it makes investments in the Bourse inefficient to other investment opportunities. This may well be a reason why investors refrain from investing in the Bourse. That proposition is, however, an empirical question, which falls beyond the scope of this study. The third possible interpretation is that the risk-return characteristics of investments in the Bourse are inferior or dominated by those provided by other investment opportunities.


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