The Behaviour of Small Cap vs. Large Cap Stocks in Recessions and Recoveries: Empirical Evidence for the United States and Canada
North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Vol. 21, pp. 332-346, 2010
15 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2011
Date Written: December 2010
This paper examines the relative performance of small-caps vs. large caps surrounding periods of peaks and troughs of economic activity, and reexamines the relationship between the small firm anomaly and the business cycle. Small-cap firms outperform large caps over the year subsequent to an economic trough. In the year prior to the business cycle peak, however, small caps tend to lag. US style based large caps perform better over peaks, but there is no dominant category across size and book to market asset classes over troughs. The US small cap premium is related to default risk, although recessions per se do not on average impact on this premium. Default risk and the inflation risk differential between Canada and the US significantly impact on the Canada–US equity premium. Abnormal positive performance observed for US smallcaps in the recent (post 2001) period as well as for the long horizon is attributable to the small cap growth cohort. Canadian small firm stocks also exhibit significantly positive performance in the post 2001 period.
Keywords: Small-cap equities, business cycles, style based investing, market segmentation
JEL Classification: G01, G11, G12. G14, G15
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