Behavioral economics has revealed that investor sentiment can profoundly affect individual behavior and decision-making. Recently, the question is no longer whether investor sentiment affects stock market valuation, but how to directly measure investor sentiment and quantify its effects. Before the era of big data, research uses proxies as a mediator to indirectly measure investor sentiment, which has proved elusive due to insufficient data points. In addition, most of extant sentiment analysis studies focus on institutional investors instead of individual investors. This is despite the fact that United States individual investors have been holding around 50% of the stock market in direct stock investments. In order to overcome difficulties in measuring sentiment and endorse the importance of individual investors, we examine the role of individual sentiment dispersion in stock market. In particular, we investigate whether sentiment dispersion contains information about future stock returns and realized volatility. Leveraging on development of big data and recent advances in data and text mining techniques, we capture 1,170,414 data points from Twitter and used a text mining method to extract sentiment and applied both linear regression and Support Vector Regression; found that individual sentiment dispersion contains information about stock realized volatility, and can be used to increase the prediction accuracy. We expect our results contribute to extant theories of electronic market financial behavior by directly measuring the individual sentiment dispersion; raising a new perspective to assess the impact of investor opinion on stock market; and recommending a supplementary investing approach using user-generated content.
Electronic Markets – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 20, 2017
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