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Is beta still alive? Conclusive evidence from the Swiss stock market

  • Dusan Isakov

Recent evidence from Fama and French (1992, 1996) and others shows that betas and returns are not related empirically. They interpret this as evidence against the validity of the capital asset pricing model and conclude that the beta is not a good measure of risk. This paper claims that usual tests do not leave much opportunity for beta to appear as a useful variable capable of explaining returns, because tests are often performed in periods where the average realized market excess return is not significantly different from zero. In order to assess the usefulness of beta, an alternative approach that dissociates results obtained in periods where the realized market excess is positive from those where it is negative is proposed. These new tests are then applied to a representative sample of the Swiss stock market over the period 1983-1991. The different results unambiguously support the fact that beta is a good measure of risk, because beta is strongly related to the cross-section of realized returns. These results also confirm that there are no arbitrage opportunities on this market.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The European Journal of Finance.

Volume (Year): 5 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 202-212

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Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjfi:v:5:y:1999:i:3:p:202-212
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  1. Black, Fischer, 1972. "Capital Market Equilibrium with Restricted Borrowing," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 444-55, July.
  2. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan, 1992. "Does Market Risk Really Explain the Size Effect?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(03), pages 337-351, September.
  3. Ravi Jagnnathan & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1995. "The CAPM debate," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 2-17.
  4. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
  5. Affleck-Graves, J. F. & Bradfield, D. J., 1993. "An examination of the power of Univariate tests of the CAPM: A simulation approach," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 17-33, February.
  6. Pettengill, Glenn N. & Sundaram, Sridhar & Mathur, Ike, 1995. "The Conditional Relation between Beta and Returns," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 101-116, March.
  7. Modigliani, Franco. & Pogue, G. A., 1973. "A test of the capital asset pricing model on European stock markets," Working papers 667-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  8. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-36, May-June.
  9. Gibbons, Michael R & Ross, Stephen A & Shanken, Jay, 1989. "A Test of the Efficiency of a Given Portfolio," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 1121-52, September.
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