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What's good for GM...? Using auto industry stock returns to forecast business cycles and test the Q-theory of investment

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  • Gregory R. Duffee
  • Steven D. Prowse

Abstract

We examine the ability of auto industry stock returns to forecast quarterly changes in the growth rates of real GDP, consumption, and investment. We find that auto stock returns are superior to aggregate stock market returns in predicting growth rates of GDP and various forms of consumption. The superior predictive power of auto returns holds for both in-sample and out-of-sample forecasts and has not declined over time. We then apply a finding in this paper---that market returns have no explanatory power for future output or consumption growth when auto returns are included in the regression---to analyze the causal relation between the stock market and investment. We use auto returns to proxy for forecasts of future fundamentals, allowing market returns to capture the effect of the stock market on investment. We find that aggregate returns forecast equipment investment in the presence of auto returns, providing empirical support for q-theory. Results for structures investment are less convincing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 96-38.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:96-38

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Keywords: Automobile industry and trade ; Business cycles ; Gross domestic product;

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  1. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "The Stock Market and Investment," NBER Working Papers 2925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1995. "Predicting U.S. Recessions: Financial Variables as Leading Indicators," NBER Working Papers 5379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1982. "Hall's consumption hypothesis and durable goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 417-425.
  4. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  5. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1992. "A Procedure for Predicting Recessions With Leading Indicators: Econometric Issues and Recent Experience," NBER Working Papers 4014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Olivier Blanchard & Changyong Rhee & Lawrence Summers, 1990. "The Stock Market, Profit and Investment," NBER Working Papers 3370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  8. Galeotti, Marzio & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1994. "Stock Market Volatility and Investment: Do Only Fundamentals Matter?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(242), pages 147-65, May.
  9. Barry Bosworth, 1975. "The Stock Market and the Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 6(2), pages 527-300.
  10. Randall Morck & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Stock Market and Investment: Is the Market a Sideshow?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(2), pages 157-216.
  11. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  12. Fischer, Stanley & Merton, Robert C., 1984. "Macroeconomics and finance: The role of the stock market," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 57-108, January.
  13. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
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Cited by:
  1. John V. Duca, 1997. "Has long-run profitability risen in the 1990s," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q IV, pages 2-14.
  2. Ozlem Goktas & Aycan Hepsag, 2011. "Do stock returns lead real economic activity? Evidence from seasonal cointegration analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(3), pages 2117-2127.

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