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Contrarian Investment and Macroeconomic Risk


  • Alan Gregory
  • Richard D.F. Harris
  • Maria Michou


It is now widely accepted that contrarian, or value investment strategies deliver superior returns. Gregory, Harris and Michou (2001) examine the performance of contrarian investment strategies in the UK and find that value strategies formed on the basis of a wide range of measures of value have delivered excess returns that are both statistically and economically significant. However, while value strategies appear to be profitable, the reason for their superior perform- ance is far from clear. Under the contrarian model, value strategies are profitable because they are contrarian to naïve strategies such as those that erroneously extrapolate past performance, while under the rational pricing model, value strategies are profitable because they are fundamentally riskier in some sense. In this paper, we discriminate between these two possibilities by undertaking a comprehensive investigation of the relationship between the returns to value investment strategies and various macroeconomic state variables that in a multi-factor asset pricing model could reasonably be taken as proxies for risk. Moreover, we examine whether the returns to value strategies predict future GDP, consumption and investment growth over and above the contribution of the Fama and French (1993 and 1996) SMB, HML and market factors. While the SMB and HML factors behave in a manner consistent with the rational pricing model, we show that some value strategies in the UK are able to generate excess returns that do not seem to be related to known risk factors. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Gregory & Richard D.F. Harris & Maria Michou, 2003. "Contrarian Investment and Macroeconomic Risk," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1-2), pages 213-256.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:30:y:2003-01:i:1-2:p:213-256

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Li, Qing & Vassalou, Maria & Xing, Yuhang, 2001. "An Investment-Growth Asset Pricing Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 3058, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Michou, 2009. "Is the Value Spread a Good Predictor of Stock Returns? UK Evidence," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(7-8), pages 925-950.
    2. Kwame Addae-Dapaah & James Webb & Kim Ho & Yan Tan, 2010. "Industrial Real Estate Investment: Does the Contrarian Strategy Work?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 193-227, August.
    3. Leone, Vitor & de Medeiros, Otavio Ribeiro, 2015. "Signalling the Dotcom bubble: A multiple changes in persistence approach," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 77-86.
    4. Alan Gregory & Maria Michou, 2009. "Industry Cost of Equity Capital: UK Evidence," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(5-6), pages 679-704.
    5. Galariotis, Emilios C. & Rong, Wu & Spyrou, Spyros I., 2015. "Herding on fundamental information: A comparative study," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 589-598.
    6. Walid Saleh, 2014. "Explaining the Cross-Sectional Patterns of UK Expected Stock Returns: The Effect of Intangibles," International Journal of Financial Research, International Journal of Financial Research, Sciedu Press, vol. 5(2), pages 160-170, April.
    7. Xiafei Li & Chris Brooks & Joëlle Miffre, 2009. "The Value Premium and Time-Varying Volatility," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(9-10), pages 1252-1272.
    8. Gębka, Bartosz & Korczak, Adriana & Korczak, Piotr & Traczykowski, Jędrzej, 2017. "Profitability of insider trading in Europe: A performance evaluation approach," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 66-90.
    9. Alan Gregory & Rajesh Tharyan & Ian Tonks, 2013. "More than Just Contrarians: Insider Trading in Glamour and Value Firms," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 19(4), pages 747-774, September.
    10. Kie Wong & Ruth Tan & Wei Liu, 2006. "The Cross-Section of Stock Returns on The Shanghai Stock Exchange," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 23-39, February.
    11. Grout, Paul A. & Zalewska, Anna, 2006. "The impact of regulation on market risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 149-184, April.

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