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The Leverage Factor: Credit Cycles and Asset Returns

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  • Davis, Josh
  • Taylor, Alan M.

Abstract

Research finds strong links between credit booms and macroeconomic outcomes like financial crises and output growth. Are impacts also seen in financial asset prices? We document this robust and significant connection for the first time using a large sample of historical data for many countries. Credit boom periods tend to be followed by unusually low returns to equities, in absolute terms and relative to bonds. Return predictability due to this leverage factor is distinct from that of established factors like momentum and value and generates trading strategies with meaningful excess profits out-of-sample. These findings pose a challenge to conventional macro-finance theories.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, Josh & Taylor, Alan M., 2019. "The Leverage Factor: Credit Cycles and Asset Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 14115, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:14115
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    asset allocation; Asset Pricing; Cycles; debt; leverage; return predictability;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G17 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Financial Forecasting and Simulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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