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Stock Returns and Real Activity: A Century of Evidence

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  • G. William Schwert

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relation between real stock returns and real activity from 1889-1988. It replicates Fama's (1990) results for the 1953-87 period using an additional 65 years of data. It also compares two measures of industrial production in the tests: (1) the series produced by Babson for 1889-1918, spliced with the Federal Reserve Board index of industrial production for 1919-1988, and (2) the new Miron and Romer (1989) index spliced with the Fed index in 1941. Fama's findings are robust for a much longer period -- future production growth rates explain a large fraction of the variation in stock returns. The new Miron-Romer measure of industrial production is less closely related to stock price movements than the older Babson and Federal Reserve Board measures.

Suggested Citation

  • G. William Schwert, 1990. "Stock Returns and Real Activity: A Century of Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3296
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
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    4. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "The Stock Market and Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(1), pages 115-131.
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    6. French, Kenneth R. & Schwert, G. William & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1987. "Expected stock returns and volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-29, September.
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