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Short Rates and Expected Asset Returns

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  • Kenneth A. Froot

Abstract

We present evidence that short-term interest rates forecast excess returns on many alternative assets: foreign exchange, stocks, bonds, and commodities. On average, a one percentage-point increase in short rates is associated with three percent lower annualized excess returns. To test whether this predictability is attributable to time-varying risk, independent measures of excess returns are formed using survey data on expected returns. We find similar predictability in these measures, too. Since the surveys don't include risk premia, the predictable components cannot be attributed to risk. We suggest that when short rates are high (low) investors are excessively optimistic (pessimistic) about alternative-asset returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth A. Froot, 1990. "Short Rates and Expected Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 3247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3247
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    1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Do Long-Term Interest Rates Overreact to Short-Term Interest Rates?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(1), pages 223-248.
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