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Stock returns and expected business conditions: Half a century of direct evidence

  • Campbell, Sean D.
  • Diebold, Francis X.

We explore the macro/finance interface in the context of equity markets. In particular, using half a century of Livingston expected business conditions data we characterize directly the impact of expected business conditions on expected excess stock returns. Expected business conditions consistently affect expected excess returns in a statistically and economically significant counter-cyclical fashion: depressed expected business conditions are associated with high expected excess returns. Moreover, inclusion of expected business conditions in otherwise standard predictive return regressions substantially reduces the explanatory power of the conventional financial predictors, including the dividend yield, default premium, and term premium, while simultaneously increasing R2. Expected business conditions retain predictive power even after controlling for an important and recently introduced non-financial predictor, the generalized consumption/wealth ratio, which accords with the view that expected business conditions play a role in asset pricing different from and complementary to that of the consumption/wealth ratio. We argue that time-varying expected business conditions likely capture time-varying risk, while time-varying consumption/wealth may capture time-varying risk aversion.

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Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2005/22.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200522
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  1. Chen, Nai-Fu & Roll, Richard & Ross, Stephen A, 1986. "Economic Forces and the Stock Market," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 383-403, July.
  2. Torben G. Andersen & Tim Bollerslev & Francis X. Diebold & Jin (Ginger) Wu, 2005. "A Framework for Exploring the Macroeconomic Determinants of Systematic Risk," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-009, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
  4. repec:cup:etheor:v:13:y:1997:i:6:p:808-17 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell, 1986. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 812, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Martin Lettau & Sydney Ludvigson, 1999. "Resurrecting the (C)CAPM: a cross-sectional test when risk premia are time-varying," Staff Reports 93, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. G. William Schwert, 1990. "Why Does Stock Market Volatility Change Over Time?," NBER Working Papers 2798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Campbell, John Y, 1991. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 157-79, March.
  9. Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. "Dividend Yields and Expected Stock Returns: Alternative Procedures for Inference and Measurement," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 357-86.
  10. Hamilton, James D & Gang, Lin, 1996. "Stock Market Volatility and the Business Cycle," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(5), pages 573-93, Sept.-Oct.
  11. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
  12. Peter F. Christoffersen & Francis X. Diebold, 1997. "Optimal prediction under asymmetric loss," Working Papers 97-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  13. Leitch, Gordon & Tanner, J Ernest, 1991. "Economic Forecast Evaluation: Profits versus the Conventional Error Measures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 580-90, June.
  14. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "The Stock Market and Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(1), pages 115-31.
  15. Miller, Edward M, 1977. "Risk, Uncertainty, and Divergence of Opinion," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1151-68, September.
  16. Ferson, Wayne E & Harvey, Campbell R, 1991. "The Variation of Economic Risk Premiums," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 385-415, April.
  17. Fama, Eugene F, 1990. " Stock Returns, Expected Returns, and Real Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1089-1108, September.
  18. Gultekin, N Bulent, 1983. " Stock Market Returns and Inflation Forecasts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(3), pages 663-73, June.
  19. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
  20. Guo, Hui & Savickas, Robert, 2006. "Idiosyncratic Volatility, Stock Market Volatility, and Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 43-56, January.
  21. Sydney Ludvigson & Martin Lettau, 1999. "Consumption, aggregate wealth and expected stock returns," Staff Reports 77, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  22. Dean Croushore, 1997. "The Livingston Survey: still useful after all these years," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Mar, pages 15-27.
  23. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
  25. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1989. "Business conditions and expected returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 23-49, November.
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