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The relationship between asset growth and the cross-section of stock returns

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  • Gray, Philip
  • Johnson, Jessica

Abstract

There is a large body of literature examining the association between stock characteristics and the cross-section of stock returns in international markets. Recently, Cooper et al. (2008) reported a strong association between total asset growth and stock returns in the US. In this paper, we show that an asset-growth effect also exists in the Australian equity market. Of particular interest, it is present amongst the largest Australian stocks. Over the 1983-2007 period, an equally-weighted portfolio of low-growth Big stocks outperforms a portfolio of high-growth Big stocks by an average 1% per month, equating to nearly 13% per annum. At an individual stock level of analysis, the asset-growth effect remains even after controlling for other variables whose association with the cross-section of returns is well known. Finally, we explicitly test whether asset growth is a priced risk factor using the common two-stage cross-sectional regression methodology. We find no evidence to support a risk-based explanation, thereby lending credence to Cooper et al.'s (2008) suggestion that the asset-growth effect is attributable to mispricing.

Suggested Citation

  • Gray, Philip & Johnson, Jessica, 2011. "The relationship between asset growth and the cross-section of stock returns," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 670-680, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:35:y:2011:i:3:p:670-680
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