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Stock prices, expected returns, and inflation

  • Steven A. Sharpe

This paper examines the effect of expected inflation on stock prices and expected long-run returns. An ex ante estimates measure of expected long-run returns is derived by incorporating estimates of expected of future corporate cash flows into a variant of the Campbell-Shiller dividend-price ratio model. In this model, the log earnings-price ratio is expressed as a linear function of expected future returns, expected earnings growth rates, and the log of the current dividend-payout ratio. Expectations of earnings growth are inferred from equity analysts' earnings forecasts, while inflation expectations are drawn from surveys of professional forecasters. I find that the negative relation between equity valuations and expected inflation results from two effects: higher expected inflation coincides with (I) lower expected real earnings growth and (ii) higher required real returns. The earnings channel is not merely a reflection of inflation's recession-signalling properties; rather, much of the negative valuation effect results from a negative relation between expected inflation and expected longer-term real earnings growth. The effect of expected inflation on required (long-run) real stock returns is also substantial. A one percentage point increase in expected inflation raises required real stock returns about one percentage point, which on average implies a 20 percent decline in the level of stock prices. The inflation-related component of expected real stock returns is closely related to the component explained by real long-term bond yields.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1999-02.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-02
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  1. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1988. " Stock Prices, Earnings, and Expected Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 661-76, July.
  2. Donald B. Keim & Robert F. Stambaugh, . "Predicting Returns in the Stock and Bond Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  3. Campbell, John Y & Ammer, John, 1993. " What Moves the Stock and Bond Markets? A Variance Decomposition for Long-Term Asset Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-37, March.
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  5. Shiller, Robert J. & Beltratti, Andrea E., 1992. "Stock prices and bond yields : Can their comovements be explained in terms of present value models?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 25-46, October.
  6. Geske, Robert & Roll, Richard, 1983. " The Fiscal and Monetary Linkage between Stock Returns and Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(1), pages 1-33, March.
  7. Campbell, John Y., 1999. "Asset prices, consumption, and the business cycle," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1231-1303 Elsevier.
  8. Chen, Nai-Fu, 1991. " Financial Investment Opportunities and the Macroeconomy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 529-54, June.
  9. William R. Nelson, 1999. "The aggregate change in shares and the level of stock prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-08, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Martin Feldstein, 1979. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and the Stock Market," NBER Working Papers 0403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Martha S. Scanlon, 1981. "Postwar trends in corporate rates of return," Monograph, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), number 1981pticro.
  12. Bodie, Zvi, 1976. "Common Stocks as a Hedge against Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 459-70, May.
  13. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
  14. Boudoukh, Jacob & Richardson, Matthew & Whitelaw, Robert F, 1994. " Industry Returns and the Fisher Effect," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1595-1615, December.
  15. Thorbecke, Willem, 1997. " On Stock Market Returns and Monetary Policy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 635-54, June.
  16. Dechow, Patricia M. & Sloan, Richard G., 1997. "Returns to contrarian investment strategies: Tests of naive expectations hypotheses," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 3-27, January.
  17. Boudoukh, Jacob & Richardson, Matthew, 1993. "Stock Returns and Inflation: A Long-Horizon Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1346-55, December.
  18. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
  19. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Inflation and the Stock Market," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 186-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Bernard, Victor L., 1986. "Unanticipated inflation and the value of the firm," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 285-321, March.
  21. von Furstenberg, George M & Malkiel, Burton G, 1977. "Financial Analysis in an Inflationary Environment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 575-88, May.
  22. Stulz, Rene M, 1986. " Asset Pricing and Expected Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(1), pages 209-23, March.
  23. Pearce, Douglas K & Roley, V Vance, 1988. " Firm Characteristics, Unanticipated Inflation, and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(4), pages 965-81, September.
  24. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1989. "Business conditions and expected returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 23-49, November.
  25. Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "The Nonadjustment of Nominal Interest Rates: A Study of the Fisher Effect," NBER Working Papers 0836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Kaul, Gautam, 1987. "Stock returns and inflation : The role of the monetary sector," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 253-276, June.
  27. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Inflation and the Valuation of Corporate Equities," NBER Working Papers 0824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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