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Aggregate earnings and stock market returns: The good, the bad, and the state-dependent

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  • Zolotoy, Leon
  • Frederickson, James R.
  • Lyon, John D.

Abstract

Prior research documents a negative aggregate earnings-returns relation. In contrast, we posit that the sign of the relation varies, depending upon the macroeconomic and financial market conditions that exist in the earnings announcement quarter. We argue that the existing macroeconomic and financial market conditions influence market participants’ frame of reference, which in turn affects whether they interpret aggregate earnings surprises to be informative about the expected inflation component of the discount rate, the market risk premium component of the discount rate, or aggregate future cash flows. Consistent with this, we find that the sign of the aggregate earnings-returns relation changes numerous times across our sample period. We also find that market participants interpret aggregate earnings to be informative about changes in expected inflation (market risk premium) when the sign of the aggregate earnings-returns relation is negative (positive). Finally, we identify macroeconomic and financial market conditions under which the aggregate earnings-returns relation is more (less) likely to be negative (positive).

Suggested Citation

  • Zolotoy, Leon & Frederickson, James R. & Lyon, John D., 2017. "Aggregate earnings and stock market returns: The good, the bad, and the state-dependent," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 157-175.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:77:y:2017:i:c:p:157-175
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2017.01.005
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    Keywords

    Aggregate earnings; Discount rate; Market returns; State dependence;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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