This paper develops a continuous time portfolio optimization model where the mean returns of individual securities or asset categories are explicitly affected by underlying economic factors such as dividend yields, a firm's return on equity, interest rates, and unemployment rates. In particular, the factors are Gaussian processes, and the drift coefficients for the securities are affine functions of these factors. We employ methods of risk-sensitive control theory, thereby using an infinite horizon objective that is natural and features the long run expected growth rate, the asymptotic variance, and a single risk-aversion parameter. Even with constraints on the admissible trading strategies, it is shown that the optimal trading strategy has a simple characterization in terms of the factor levels. For particular factor levels, the optimal trading positions can be obtained as the solution of a quadratic program. The optimal objective value, as a function of the risk-aversion parameter, is shown to be the solution of a partial differential equation. A simple asset allocation example, featuring a Vasicek-type interest rate which affects a stock index and also serves as a second investment opportunity, provides some additional insight about the risk-sensitive criterion in the context of dynamic asset management.
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