An introduction to security returns
The equity premium - the difference between the return achievable from investment in the equity market (RM) and the risk-free rate of return (RF)- plays an important part in corporate finance. The expression equity premium (sometimes referred to as the equity risk premium) is used to denote the ex ante expectation of investors. The term excess return refers to the ex post achievement of stock returns over and above the risk-free return. If we compare US and UK returns, we find that total returns, real returns and the value of (RM - RF) are all marginally higher for the UK. Summarized evidence appears in Table 1 and Table 6. Such greater returns may be due to an increased risk premium related to increasing unexpected inflation. Particularly important in estimating the equity risk premium is whether excess returns are measured using a geometric or an arithmetic mean return. To a significant extent, this question revolves around mean reversion in stock returns. Evidence of mean reversion is substantial, although it cannot be proved unequivocally. Given the weight of evidence of mean reversion, there may be a strong case for the use of a geometric mean with an equity premium of between 3% and 5% - or even less.
Volume (Year): 5 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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