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Do stocks outperform Treasury bills?

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  • Bessembinder, Hendrik

Abstract

The majority of common stocks that have appeared in the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) database since 1926 have lifetime buy-and-hold returns less than one-month Treasuries. When stated in terms of lifetime dollar wealth creation, the best-performing 4% of listed companies explain the net gain for the entire US stock market since 1926, as other stocks collectively matched Treasury bills. These results highlight the important role of positive skewness in the distribution of individual stock returns, attributable to skewness in monthly returns and to the effects of compounding. The results help to explain why poorly diversified active strategies most often underperform market averages.

Suggested Citation

  • Bessembinder, Hendrik, 2018. "Do stocks outperform Treasury bills?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(3), pages 440-457.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:129:y:2018:i:3:p:440-457
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2018.06.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Guo, Danqiao & Boyle, Phelim & Weng, Chengguo & Wirjanto, Tony, 2019. "Age matters," MPRA Paper 93653, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 May 2019.
    2. Chambers, David & Dimson, Elroy & Spaenjers, Christophe, 2020. "Art as an Asset: Evidence from Keynes the Collector," CEPR Discussion Papers 14357, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Michela Altieri & Giovanna Nicodano, 2020. "Survival and Pricing Puzzles," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 604, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    4. Philipp-Bastian Brutscher & Christopher Hols, 2020. "The European Corporate Equity Puzzle," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 62(1), pages 69-104, March.
    5. Harford, Jarrad & Stanfield, Jared & Zhang, Feng, 2019. "Do insiders time management buyouts and freezeouts to buy undervalued targets?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1), pages 206-231.
    6. Hang Bai & Erica X.N. Li & Chen Xue & Lu Zhang, 2019. "Does Costly Reversibility Matter for U.S. Public Firms?," NBER Working Papers 26372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Individual stock returns; Return skewness; Buy-and-hold returns; Wealth creation;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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