Expected value (for example, expected stock return) looks either to the future, as a forecast, or to the “true” value of the mean (the population mean, discussed in the reading on statistical concepts and market returns). We should distinguish expected value from the concepts of historical or sample mean. The sample mean also summarizes in a single number a central value. However, the sample mean presents a central value for a particular set of observations as an equally weighted average of those observations. To summarize, the contrast is forecast versus historical, or population versus sample.
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