Intermediary Leverage and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns
May 31, 2010
I find that an asset's expected return is largely explained by its covariance with intermediary leverage for a broad cross-section of returns. A one-factor leverage model performs as well as standard multi-factor models on most dimensions and in particular helps explain the 30 Industry and 10 Momentum portfolios. I consider two alternative views of how intermediary leverage is informative for asset prices: (1) the market segmentation view in which intermediaries are the agents relevant for pricing and leverage measures their marginal value of wealth and (2) the reflection of risk premia view in which consumers are the agents relevant for pricing and leverage reflects time-varying risk aversion. I find support for both views.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: Asset Pricing, Financial Intermediation
Date posted: June 7, 2010 ; Last revised: June 9, 2010