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The role of future economic conditions in the cross-section of stock returns: Evidence from the US and UK

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Listed:
  • Zhu, Sheng
  • Gao, Jun
  • Sherman, Meadhbh

Abstract

Our study investigates the explanatory power of future economic conditions on individual stock returns in the US and UK equity markets. We analyse a new trading strategy that is based on rational forecasts of future real activity. In addition, we specifically examine the performance of this trading strategy applied to two different classifications of stocks – procyclical stocks and countercyclical stocks. Our findings indicate a strong persistence in the relationship between returns on pro-cyclical stocks and the business cycle. However, such persistence is not present when moving to counter-cyclical stocks in the US and the UK. From this we suggest that US and UK equity investors who predict future real activity accurately can improve their investment profitability by longing pro-cyclical stocks when they expect future economic conditions to be above the long-run trend and shorting those stocks when future activity is anticipated to be below the steady state.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhu, Sheng & Gao, Jun & Sherman, Meadhbh, 2020. "The role of future economic conditions in the cross-section of stock returns: Evidence from the US and UK," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:riibaf:v:52:y:2020:i:c:s0275531919304088
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ribaf.2020.101193
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Goodell, John W. & Huynh, Toan Luu Duc, 2020. "Did Congress trade ahead? Considering the reaction of US industries to COVID-19," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pro-cyclical; Counter-cyclical; Future economic conditions; Expectations;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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