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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.
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  7. Feldstein, Martin, 1980. "Inflation, tax rules and the stock market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 309-331, July.
  8. 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.
  9. Chen, Nai-Fu, 1991. " Financial Investment Opportunities and the Macroeconomy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 529-54, June.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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  18. Martha S. Scanlon, 1981. "Postwar trends in corporate rates of return," Monograph, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), number 1981pticro.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Bodie, Zvi, 1976. "Common Stocks as a Hedge against Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 459-70, 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. John Y. Campbell, 1998. "Asset Prices, Consumption, and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 6485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Inflation and the Valuation of Corporate Equities," NBER Working Papers 0824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. 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.
  26. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
  27. 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.
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