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Inflation and the stock market: Understanding the “Fed Model”

Listed author(s):
  • Geert Bekaert
  • Eric Engstrom

The so-called Fed model postulates that the dividend or earnings yield on stocks should equal the yield on nominal Treasury bonds, or at least that the two should be highly correlated. In US data there is indeed a strikingly high time series correlation between the yield on nominal bonds and the dividend yield on equities. This positive correlation is often attributed to the fact that both bond and equity yields comove strongly and positively with expected inflation. While inflation comoves with nominal bond yields for well-known reasons, the positive correlation between expected inflation and equity yields has long puzzled economists. We show that the effect is consistent with modern asset pricing theory incorporating uncertainty about real growth prospects and also habit-based risk aversion. In the US, high expected inflation has tended to coincide with periods of heightened uncertainty about real economic growth and unusually high risk aversion, both of which rationally raise equity yields. Our findings suggest that countries with a high incidence of stagflation should have relatively high correlations between bond yields and equity yields and we confirm that this is true in a panel of international data.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2009)
Issue (Month): Jan ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2009:i:jan:x:3
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  2. Chao Wei & Fred Joutz, 2011. "Inflation illusion or no illusion: what did pre- and post-war data say?," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(21), pages 1599-1603.
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  5. Steven A. Sharpe, 2001. "Reexamining stock valuation and inflation: the implications of analysts' earnings forecasts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-32, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  7. Ritter, Jay R. & Warr, Richard S., 2002. "The Decline of Inflation and the Bull Market of 1982–1999," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(01), pages 29-61, March.
  8. John Y. Campbell & Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2004. "Inflation Illusion and Stock Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 19-23, May.
  9. Bekaert, Geert & Engstrom, Eric & Grenadier, Steve, 2006. "Stock and Bond Returns with Moody Investors," CEPR Discussion Papers 5951, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Jacob Boudoukh & Roni Michaely & Matthew Richardson & Michael R. Roberts, 2007. "On the Importance of Measuring Payout Yield: Implications for Empirical Asset Pricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 877-915, 04.
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  14. Kaul, Gautam, 1987. "Stock returns and inflation : The role of the monetary sector," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 253-276, June.
  15. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Andrew B. Abel, 1998. "Risk Premia and Term Premia in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 6683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Giordani, Paolo & Soderlind, Paul, 2000. "Inflation Forecast Uncertainty," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 384, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 09 Oct 2000.
  18. Robert E. Cumby & John Huizinga, 1990. "Testing The Autocorrelation Structure of Disturbances in Ordinary Least Squares and Instrumental Variables Regressions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  20. Estrada, Javier, 2009. "The fed model: The bad, the worse, and the ugly," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 214-238, May.
  21. Geert Bekaert & Eric Engstrom & Yuhang Xing, 2005. "Risk, uncertainty, and asset prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-40, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  22. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1994. "Estimating and Interpreting Forward Interest Rates: Sweden 1992 - 1994," NBER Working Papers 4871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1990. "The Information in the Longer Maturity Term Structure about Future Inflation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 815-828.
  24. John H. Cochrane, 1989. "Explaining the Variance of Price Dividend Ratios," NBER Working Papers 3157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Lior Menzly & Tano Santos & Pietro Veronesi, 2004. "Understanding Predictability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-47, February.
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