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A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns

  • John Y. Campbell

This paper shows that unexpected stock returns must be associated with changes in expected future dividends or expected future returns A vector autoregressive method is used to break unexpected stock returns into these two components. In U.S. monthly data in 1927-88, one-third of the variance of unexpected returns is attributed to the variance of changing expected dividends, one-third to the variance of changing expected returns, and one-third to the covariance of the two components. Changing expected returns have a large effect on stock prices because they are persistent: a 1% innovation in the expected return is associated with a 4 or 5% capital loss. Changes in expected returns are negatively correlated with changes in expected dividends, increasing the stock market reaction to dividend news. In the period 1952-88, hanging expected. returns account for a larger fraction of stock return variation than they do in the period 1927-51.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3246.

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Date of creation: Jan 1990
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as The Economic Journal, Vol. 101, No. 405, pp. 157-179, (March 1991).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3246
Note: ME
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  1. John Y. Campbell & Richard H. Clarida, 1987. "The Dollar and Real Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 2151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrew W. Lo & A. Craig MacKinlay, 1987. "Stock Market Prices Do Not Follow Random Walks: Evidence From a Simple Specification Test," NBER Working Papers 2168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Campbell, J.Y. & Shiller, R.J., 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings And Expected Dividends," Papers 334, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  4. Cecchetti, Stephen G & Lam, Pok-sang & Mark, Nelson C, 1990. "Mean Reversion in Equilibrium Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 398-418, June.
  5. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Persistence of Volatility and Stock Market Fluctuations," Working papers 353, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. John Y. Campbell, 1985. "Stock Returns and the Term Structure," NBER Working Papers 1626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell, 1986. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 812, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Culter, D.M. & Poterba, J.M. & Summers, L.H., 1990. "Speculative Dynamics," Working papers 544, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Campbell, John, 1990. "Measuring the Persistence of Expected Returns," Scholarly Articles 3207696, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Myung Jig Kim & Charles R. Nelson & Richard Startz, 1988. "Mean Reversion in Stock Prices? A Reappraisal of the Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Conrad, Jennifer & Kaul, Gautam, 1988. "Time-Variation in Expected Returns," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(4), pages 409-25, October.
  12. 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.
  13. John Y. Campbell & Albert S. Kyle, 1988. "Smart Money, Noise Trading and Stock Price Behavior," NBER Technical Working Papers 0071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robert B. Litterman & Laurence Weiss, 1983. "Money, Real Interest Rates, and Output: A Reinterpretation of Postwar U.S. Data," NBER Working Papers 1077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  16. Keim, Donald B. & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1986. "Predicting returns in the stock and bond markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 357-390, December.
  17. Kenneth A. Froot & Maurice Obstfeld, 1989. "Intrinsic Bubbles: The Case of Stock Prices," NBER Working Papers 3091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-65, April.
  19. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1988. "Permanent and Temporary Components of Stock Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 246-73, April.
  20. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
  21. Poterba, James M. & Summers, Lawrence H., 1988. "Mean reversion in stock prices : Evidence and Implications," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 27-59, October.
  22. David M. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "What Moves Stock Prices?," NBER Working Papers 2538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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