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The financial market's ability to forecast economic growth: information from sectoral movements

Hardik Marfatia (Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 9 January 2023

13

Abstract

Purpose

Financial market holds superior information that can give insights into the future trajectory of economic growth. Further, identifying sectors that hold the key to future economic growth is important for all economies, but particularly relevant to emerging markets. However, unlike existing studies, the paper provides new insights into the forward-oriented nexus between financial markets and economic growth.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper takes a forward-looking approach of using financial market information to predict future economic growth. The authors use ARDL modeling approach to predict economic growth using the information from stock market sectoral returns.

Findings

The authors find that sectoral stock returns significantly improve economic growth forecasts. However, the forecasting superiority is not uniform across sectors and horizons. Auto, consumers' spending, materials and realty sectors provide the most forecasting gains. In contrast, banking, capital goods and industrial sectors provide superior forecasts, but only at horizons beyond one year. The authors also find that the forecast superiority of sectors at longer horizons is inversely related to volatility.

Research limitations/implications

Research highlights the need for sector-focused policy actions in driving economic growth. Further, the findings of the paper identify sectors that drive short-, medium- and long-term economic growth.

Practical implications

There is a significant heterogeneity among different sectors and across horizons in predicting economic growth. Results suggest that targeted policy actions in sectors like materials, metals, oil and gas, and realty are key in driving economic growth. Further, policies geared toward the grassroots industries are at least as beneficial as the large-scale industries. Evidence also suggests the need for an active fiscal policy to address infrastructural bottlenecks in primary industries like basic materials and energy. Evidence nevertheless does not undermine the role of monetary policy actions.

Originality/value

Unlike any paper till date, the innovation of the paper is that it takes an ARDL modeling approach to measure stock market sectoral returns' ability to forecast economic growth several months ahead in the future. Though the paper considers the Indian case, the innovation and contribution extents to the entire field of economic studies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the detailed and useful comments received from two anonymous referees.

Citation

Marfatia, H. (2023), "The financial market's ability to forecast economic growth: information from sectoral movements", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JES-08-2022-0466

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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