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Expected Returns and Expected Dividend Growth

  • Martin Lettau
  • Sydney Ludvigson

We investigate a consumption-based present value relation that is a function of future dividend growth. Using data on aggregate consumption and measures of the dividend payments from aggregate wealth, we show that changing forecasts of dividend growth make an important contribution to fluctuations in the U.S. stock market, despite the failure of the dividend-price ratio to uncover such variation. In addition, these dividend forecasts are found to covary with changing forecasts of excess stock returns. The variation in expected dividend growth we uncover is positively correlated with changing forecasts of excess returns and occurs at business cycle frequencies, those ranging from one to six years. Because positively correlated fluctuations in expected dividend growth and expected returns have offsetting affects on the log dividend-price ratio, the results imply that both the market risk-premium and expected dividend growth vary considerably more than what can be revealed using the log dividend-price ratio alone as a predictive variable.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9605.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Publication status: published as Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney C., 2005. "Expected returns and expected dividend growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 583-626, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9605
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