Market portfolio

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Market portfolio is a portfolio consisting of a weighted sum of every asset in the market, with weights in the proportions that they exist in the market, with the necessary assumption that these assets are infinitely divisible.[1]

Richard Roll's critique (1977)[2] states that this is only a theoretical concept, as to create a market portfolio for investment purposes in practice would necessarily include every single possible available asset, including real estate, precious metals, stamp collections, jewelry, and anything with any worth, as the theoretical market being referred to would be the world market. As a result, proxies for the market (such as the FTSE 100 in the UK, DAX in Germany or the S&P 500 in the US) are used in practice by investors. Roll's critique states that these proxies cannot provide an accurate representation of the entire market.

The concept of a market portfolio plays an important role in many financial theories and models, including the capital asset pricing model where it is the only fund in which investors need to invest, to be supplemented only by a risk-free asset, depending upon each investor's attitude towards risk.

Doeswijk, Lam and Swinkels (2012)[3] (2013)[4] argue that the portfolio of the average investor contains important information for strategic asset allocation purposes. This portfolio shows the relative value of all assets according to the market crowd, which one could interpret as a benchmark or the optimal portfolio for the average investor. The authors determine the market values of equities, private equity, real estate, high yield bonds, emerging debt, non-government bonds, government bonds, inflation linked bonds, commodities, and hedge funds. For this range of assets, they estimate the invested global market portfolio for the period 1990-2012. For the main asset categories equities, real estate, non-government bonds and government bonds they extend the period to 1959-2012.

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