Yield Spreads as Alternative Risk Factors for Size and Book-to-Market
This paper investigates whether the size and book-to-market factors of Fama and French (1993) proxy for the risks associated with business cycle fluctuations. We find that changes in default spread (Δ def ) and changes in term spread (Δ term ) capture the systematic differences in average returns along the size and book-to-market dimensions in the way that the Fama-French factors do: small stock portfolios have higher loadings on Δ def than large stock portfolios, while high book-to-market portfolios have higher loadings on Δ term than low book-to-market portfolios. Furthermore, in the presence of Δ def and Δ term , the Fama-French factors are superfluous in explaining the size and book-to-market effects. The results suggest that the size and value premiums are compensation for higher exposure to the risks related to changing credit market conditions and interest rates proxied by Δ def and Δ term .
Volume (Year): 41 (2006)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
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