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Asset tangibility, industry representation and the cross section of equity returns


  • Paul Docherty
  • Howard Chan

    (Department of Finance, The University of Melbourne, Australia)

  • Steve Easton

    (Newcastle Business School, The University of Newcastle, Australia)


Recent theory relates expected returns and covariant risk to the investment decisions of a firm across certain stages of the business cycle. Using the Australian accounting environment that provides a wider scope for the capitalisation of intangible assets compared with the United States, this paper tests the relationship between asset tangibility and returns within the Fama and MacBeth (1973) framework. A relationship is found to exist between asset tangibility and the cross-section of equity returns. This relationship is most evident in the materials industry, which is characterised by irreversible, firm-specific assets. These results persist after controlling for firm characteristics that Fama and French (1992) show are related to returns, although the effect is largely driven by microcap stocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Docherty & Howard Chan & Steve Easton, 2011. "Asset tangibility, industry representation and the cross section of equity returns," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 36(1), pages 75-87, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ausman:v:36:y:2011:i:1:p:75-87

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    Cited by:

    1. Karen Benson & Peter M Clarkson & Tom Smith & Irene Tutticci, 2015. "A review of accounting research in the Asia Pacific region," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 40(1), pages 36-88, February.
    2. repec:wyi:journl:002153 is not listed on IDEAS


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