Are practitioners right? On the relative importance of industrial factors in international stock returns
This paper investigates the relative influences of industrial and country factors in international stock returns. Until very recently, academic research has consistently found that country factors dominate industrial factors. This result is in contradiction with practitioners beliefs. This paper re-examines this issue by analyzing a sample of more than 4000 stocks quoted in 20 developed countries. We find that on average the country effect still dominates stock returns over the period 1997-2000. This result has to be interpreted with caution though, as an analysis that allows for time-varying relative influences demonstrates the rapidly increasing impact of industry effects in recent times. We find, in particular, that this trend is common to all 20 developed countries considered and not only to those that are members of the European Monetary Union. We interpret this result as evidence of the increasing globalization of international equity markets.
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