The Leverage Effect on Stock Returns
34 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 10, 2010
This paper examines the relation between abnormal stock returns and leverage. Expanding on Modigliani and Miller’s (1958) Proposition II, abnormal returns are estimated using the asset pricing models of Sharpe and Lintner (the traditional Capital Asset Pricing Model, CAPM), of Fama and French and of Carhart. The findings indicate that returns are decreasing in firm leverage. This paper tests this relation empirically with other risk factors and finds that the results remain robust. The results show that leverage is a firm characteristic that loads on a risk factor. This evidence suggests that leverage should be priced as a risk factor and requires adequate incorporation into common asset pricing models.
Keywords: Leverage, Asset Pricing, Stock Returns
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