Predicting Returns in the Stock and Bond Markets
We find that several ex ante observable variables based on asset price levels predict ex post risk premiums on common stocks of NYSE firms of various sizes, long-term bonds of various default risks, and U.S. Government bonds of various maturities. The predictive ability is consistent over the 52-year sample period from 1927 through 1978. Ex post premiums on small-firm stocks and low-grade bonds are more sensitive in January than in the rest of the year to ex ante levels of asset prices, especially prices of small firms. We consider the possibility that the significantly higher January returns on these stocks and bonds are associated in part with increased risk around the turn of the year.
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