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

  • Simpson, Marc W.
  • Ramchander, Sanjay
Registered author(s):

    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.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Empirical Finance.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 5 (December)
    Pages: 801-815

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:empfin:v:15:y:2008:i:5:p:801-815
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jempfin

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    1. Andersen, Torben G. & Bollerslev, Tim & Diebold, Francis X. & Vega, Clara, 2002. "Micro Effects of Macro Announcements: Real-Time Price Discovery in Foreign Exchange," Working Papers 02-16, Duke University, Department of Economics.
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    16. Banz, Rolf W., 1981. "The relationship between return and market value of common stocks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 3-18, March.
    17. Balduzzi, Pierluigi & Elton, Edwin J. & Green, T. Clifton, 2001. "Economic News and Bond Prices: Evidence from the U.S. Treasury Market," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(04), pages 523-543, December.
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