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Cross-sectional Variation in Stock Returns: Liquidity and Idiosyncratic Risk

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  • Matthew Spiegel
  • Xiaotong Wang

Abstract

The roles played by idiosyncratic risk and liquidity in determining stock returns have recently received a great deal of attention. However, recent empirical tests have not examined the interaction between these two factors. As others have shown (and this paper confirms) stocks idiosyncratic risk and liquidity are negatively correlated. To what extent then is each variable responsible for the observed cross sectional patterns in stock returns? Overall, using monthly data, the paper finds that stock returns are increasing with the level of idiosyncratic risk and decreasing in a stock's liquidity. However, while both liquidity and idiosyncratic risk play a role in determining returns, the impact of idiosyncratic risk is much stronger and often eliminates liquidity's explanatory power. The point estimates indicate that a one standard deviation change in idiosyncratic risk has between 2.5 and 8 times the impact of a corresponding change in liquidity on cross sectional expected returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Spiegel & Xiaotong Wang, 2005. "Cross-sectional Variation in Stock Returns: Liquidity and Idiosyncratic Risk," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2540, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Mar 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:amz2540
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    File URL: http://icfpub.som.yale.edu/publications/2540
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wagner, Niklas & Winter, Elisabeth, 2013. "A new family of equity style indices and mutual fund performance: Do liquidity and idiosyncratic risk matter?," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 69-85.
    2. Fu, Fangjian, 2009. "Idiosyncratic risk and the cross-section of expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 24-37, January.
    3. James S. Doran & Danling Jiang & David R. Peterson, 2011. "Gambling Preference and the New Year Effect of Assets with Lottery Features," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 16(3), pages 685-731.
    4. Doran, James & Jiang, Danling & Peterson, David, 2007. "Short-Sale Constraints and the Non-January Idiosyncratic Volatility Puzzle," MPRA Paper 4995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Cheema, Muhammad A. & Nartea, Gilbert V., 2014. "Momentum returns and information uncertainty: Evidence from China," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 173-188.
    6. Cao, Jie & Han, Bing, 2016. "Idiosyncratic risk, costly arbitrage, and the cross-section of stock returns," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-15.
    7. Au, Andrea S. & Doukas, John A. & Onayev, Zhan, 2009. "Daily short interest, idiosyncratic risk, and stock returns," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 290-316, May.
    8. Chabi-Yo, Fousseni, 2011. "Explaining the idiosyncratic volatility puzzle using Stochastic Discount Factors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1971-1983, August.
    9. Bley, Jorg & Saad, Mohsen, 2012. "Idiosyncratic risk and expected returns in frontier markets: Evidence from GCC," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 538-554.
    10. Duan, Ying & Hu, Gang & McLean, R. David, 2010. "Costly arbitrage and idiosyncratic risk: Evidence from short sellers," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 564-579, October.
    11. Spiegel, Matthew, 2008. "Patterns in cross market liquidity," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 2-10, March.

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    Keywords

    idiosyncratic risk; liquidity; stock returns;

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