Date of Award

Spring 2019

Thesis Date


Degree Type

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Degree Name



Economics and Finance

Degree Program



Sudha Krishnaswami


Traditional asset pricing models such as Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) have been used widely in academics and practice due to their simplicity and popularity. The CAPM is a prescriptive model that describes the relationship between a stock’s required return and risk relative to the movements in the market, while the DCF is a descriptive model that measures the realized rate of return on a stock based on the market price of the stock, which in turn incorporates investor perceptions about the stock and the market. In an ideal, efficient market where investors behave rationally, we should not see much of a difference between stock returns estimated from these two models. However, because investor perceptions affect the DCF estimate of returns, changes in investor confidence without accompanying changes in firm risk can affect the DCF estimate without changing the CAPM estimate. High growth firm returns are more likely to incorporate changes in investor perception because more of their value is generated from realization of future growth opportunities. In this research, I study whether investor sentiment affects the DCF estimate of stock return more than the CAPM estimate, and whether this impact is more pronounced for high growth firms. I find results consistent with this hypothesis. I find that investor sentiment causes a divergence between the CAPM and DCF estimates of stock returns, and this divergence is higher for high growth firms compared to low growth firms. My findings suggest that high growth firm stock prices are more prone to distortions due to hype or investor pessimism.


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