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A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns

  • Campbell, John Y

This paper shows that unexpected stock returns must be associated with changes in expected future dividends or expected future returns. A vector autoregressive method is used to break unexpected stock returns into these two components. In U.S. monthly data in 1927-88, one-third of the variance of unexpected returns is attributed to the variance of changing expected dividends, one-third to the variance of changing expected returns, and one-third to the covariance of the two components. Changing expected returns have a large effect on stock prices because they are persistent: a 1 percent innovation in the expected return is associated with a 4 or 5 percent capital loss. Changes in expected returns are negatively correlated with changes in expected dividends, increasing the stock market reaction to dividend news. In the period 1952-88, changing expected returns account for larger fraction of stock return variation than they do in the period 1927-51. Copyright 1991 by Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 101 (1991)
Issue (Month): 405 (March)
Pages: 157-79

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:101:y:1991:i:405:p:157-79
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  1. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1988. "Permanent and Temporary Components of Stock Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 246-73, April.
  2. Campbell, John Y., 1987. "Stock returns and the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 373-399, June.
  3. Kim, Myung Jig & Nelson, Charles R & Startz, Richard, 1991. "Mean Reversion in Stock Prices? A Reappraisal of the Empirical Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 515-28, May.
  4. John Y. Campbell & Albert S. Kyle, 1988. "Smart Money, Noise Trading and Stock Price Behavior," NBER Technical Working Papers 0071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Mean Reversion in Stock Prices: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 2343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1986. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," NBER Working Papers 2100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Cecchetti, Stephen G & Lam, Pok-sang & Mark, Nelson C, 1990. "Mean Reversion in Equilibrium Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 398-418, June.
  8. Kenneth A. Froot & Maurice Obstfeld, 1989. "Intrinsic Bubbles: The Case of Stock Prices," NBER Working Papers 3091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1989. "Business conditions and expected returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 23-49, November.
  10. David M. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1990. "Speculative Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 3242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  12. Donald B. Keim & Robert F. Stambaugh, . "Predicting Returns in the Stock and Bond Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  13. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1988. " Stock Prices, Earnings, and Expected Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 661-76, July.
  14. Robert B. Litterman & Laurence M. Weiss, 1984. "Money, real interest rates, and output: a reinterpretation of postwar U.S. data," Staff Report 89, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Campbell, John & Clarida, Richard, 1987. "The Dollar and Real Interest Rates," Scholarly Articles 3221495, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Persistence of Volatility and Stock Market Fluctuations," Working papers 353, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Andrew W. Lo & A. Craig MacKinlay, 1987. "Stock Market Prices Do Not Follow Random Walks: Evidence From a Simple Specification Test," NBER Working Papers 2168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Conrad, Jennifer & Kaul, Gautam, 1988. "Time-Variation in Expected Returns," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(4), pages 409-25, October.
  19. Campbell, John Y, 1990. "Measuring the Persistence of Expected Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 43-47, May.
  20. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
  21. David M. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "What Moves Stock Prices?," NBER Working Papers 2538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-65, April.
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