Asset Pricing When Returns Are Nonnormal: Fama-French Factors versus Higher-Order Systematic Comoments
A growing literature contends that, since returns are not normal, higher-order comoments matter to risk-averse investors. Fama and French (1993, 1995) find that nonmarket risk factors based on size and book-to-market ratio are priced by investors. We test the hypothesis that the Fama-French factors simply proxy for the pricing of higher-order comoments. Using portfolio returns over various time horizons, we show that adding a set of systematic comoments (but not standard moments) of order 3–10 reduces the explanatory power of the Fama-French factors to insignificance in almost every case.
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