By quantifying the tone of firm-specific articles in leading national newspapers between 1989 and 2010, we propose a bottom-up measure of aggregate journalist disagreement. In line with theoretical considerations, our novel high-frequency proxy for differences of opinion negatively forecasts the market return, in particular during recessions. Moreover, it has predictive power for the cross-section of stock returns. Collectively, our insights support asset pricing theories incorporating belief dispersion and highlight the role of the media in this context.
Journal of Financial Markets, Vol. 41, pp. 57-76, 2018