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News Media and Attention Spillover across Energy Markets: A Powerful Predictor of Crude Oil Futures Prices

We develop two news-based investor attention measures from the news trends function of the Bloomberg terminal and investigate their predictive power for returns on crude oil futures contracts with various maturities. Our main results after controlling for relevant macroeconomic variables show that the Oil-based Institutional Attention Index is useful in predicting oil futures returns, especially during price downturn periods, while the forecasting accuracy is further improved when the Commodity Market Institutional Attention Index is used. This forecasting accuracy decreases, however, with the maturity of oil futures contracts. Moreover, we find some evidence of Granger-causality and regime-dependent interactions between investor attention measures and oil futures returns. Finally, variable selection algorithms matter before making predictions since they create the best forecasting results in many cases considered. These findings are important for informed traders and policymakers to better understand the price dynamics of the oil markets.

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Keywords: Crude oil returns, Density forecasting, Investor attention, Time-varying Granger causality, Variable selection

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.43.SI1.ocep

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Published in Volume 43, Special Issue of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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