|Abstract: In this paper we estimate the mean-variance portfolio in the high-dimensional case using the recent results from the theory of random matrices. We construct a linear shrinkage estimator which is distribution-free and is optimal in the sense of maximizing with probability 1 the asymptotic out-of-sample expected utility, i.e., mean-variance objective function for different values of risk aversion coefficient which in particular leads to the maximization of the out-of-sample expected utility and to the minimization of the out-of-sample variance. One of the main features of our estimator is the inclusion of the estimation risk related to the sample mean vector into the high-dimensional portfolio optimization. The asymptotic properties of the new estimator are investigated when the number of assets p and the sample size $n$ tend simultaneously to infinity such that p/n --> c ∈ (0,+∞). The results are obtained under weak assumptions imposed on the distribution of the asset returns, namely the existence of the 4+ε moments is only required. Thereafter we perform numerical and empirical studies where the small- and large-sample behavior of the derived estimator is investigated. The suggested estimator shows significant improvements over the existent approaches including the nonlinear shrinkage estimator and the two-fund portfolio rule when the portfolio dimension is comparable to the sample size. Moreover, it is robust to deviations from normality.|
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