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Idiosyncratic Volatility: Evidence from Asia

  • Michael Drew
  • Madhu Veeraraghavan

The traditional Capital Asset Pricing Model states that assets can earn only higher returns if they have a high beta. However, evidence shows that the single risk factor is not quite adequate for describing the cross-section of stock returns. The current consensus is that firm size and book-to-market equity factors are pervasive risk factors besides the overall market factor. Malkiel and Xu (1997 and 2000) further the debate in empirical asset pricing by stating that idiosyncratic volatility is useful in explaining the cross-sectional expected returns. In this paper we provide international evidence on the relationship between expected stock returns, overall market factor, firm size and idiosyncratic volatility. Our findings suggest that size and idiosyncratic volatility premium are real and pervasive. We find that small and high idiosyncratic volatility stocks generate superior returns and hence suggest that such firms carry risk premia. Our findings also suggest that idiosyncratic volatility is more powerful than the CAPM beta and the firm size effect. Our findings challenge the portfolio theory of Markowitz (1952) and the CAPM of Sharpe (1964), which advances the notion that it is rational for a utility maximizing investor to hold a well-diversified portfolio of investments to eliminate idiosyncratic risks.

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File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2002/DP%20No%20107.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 107.

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Date of creation: 20 Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:107
Contact details of provider: Postal: GPO Box 2434, BRISBANE QLD 4001
Web page: http://www.bus.qut.edu.au/faculty/economics/
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  1. 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.
  2. Kent Daniel, 2001. "Explaining the Cross-Section of Stock Returns in Japan: Factors or Characteristics?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 743-766, 04.
  3. Jagannathan, Ravi & Wang, Zhenyu, 1996. " The Conditional CAPM and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 3-53, March.
  4. Kothari, S P & Shanken, Jay & Sloan, Richard G, 1995. " Another Look at the Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 185-224, March.
  5. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, 03.
  6. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  7. Banz, Rolf W., 1981. "The relationship between return and market value of common stocks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 3-18, March.
  8. William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, 09.
  9. John Y. Campbell & Martin Lettau & Burton G. Malkiel & Yexiao Xu, 2000. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 7590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. MacKinlay, A. Craig, 1995. "Multifactor models do not explain deviations from the CAPM," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 3-28, May.
  11. Jonathan B. Berk, 2000. "Sorting Out Sorts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 407-427, 02.
  12. Kent Daniel & Sheridan Titman, 1996. "Evidence on the Characteristics of Cross Sectional Variation in Stock Returns," NBER Working Papers 5604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1996. " Multifactor Explanations of Asset Pricing Anomalies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 55-84, March.
  14. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1995. " Size and Book-to-Market Factors in Earnings and Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 131-55, March.
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