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An inquiry into the economic fundamentals of the Fama and French equity factors

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  • Simpson, Marc W.
  • Ramchander, Sanjay

Abstract

This study investigates the economic underpinnings of the Fama and French three-factor (FF3) model. We evaluate the impact of surprises in 23 different types of macroeconomic announcements on stock returns in the framework of the CAPM and the FF3 model. The relative merit of the FF3 model is demonstrated whenever macroeconomic surprises have a smaller impact on the returns within an FF3 model versus their impact within the CAPM. In general, there is strong evidence to suggest that the FF3 model outperforms the CAPM. The relative merit of the FF3 model is highlighted by its ability to capture information related to Personal Consumption, Retail Sales, CPI, PPI, Factory Orders, Leading Indicators, Construction Spending, Housing Starts, and New Home Sales. An attribution analysis of the relative performance of SMB and HML equity factors indicate that both factors, in isolation, equally account for macroeconomic surprises. Lastly, there is evidence that the FF3 model can be marginally improved by incorporating credit variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Simpson, Marc W. & Ramchander, Sanjay, 2008. "An inquiry into the economic fundamentals of the Fama and French equity factors," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 801-815, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:empfin:v:15:y:2008:i:5:p:801-815
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-465, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Gosnell & Ali Nejadmalayeri, 2010. "Macroeconomic news and risk factor innovations," Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(7), pages 566-582, June.
    2. Huffman, Stephen P. & Makar, Stephen D. & Beyer, Scott B., 2010. "A three-factor model investigation of foreign exchange-rate exposure," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-12.
    3. Du, Ding, 2013. "Another look at the cross-section and time-series of stock returns: 1951 to 2011," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 130-146.
    4. Joseph, Nathan Lael & Lambertides, Neophytos & Savva, Christos S., 2015. "Short-horizon excess returns and exchange rate and interest rate effects," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 54-76.
    5. Wu, Po-Chin & Liu, Shiao-Yen & Chen, Che-Ying, 2016. "Re-examining risk premiums in the Fama–French model: The role of investor sentiment," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 154-171.

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