Characteristics, Covariances, and Average Returns: 1929-1997
Posted: 13 Feb 2001
The value premium in U.S. stocks returns is robust. The positive relation between average return and book-to-market equity (BE/ME) is as strong for 1929-63 as for the subsequent period studied in previous papers. Like others, we also find a size premium in stock returns. Small stocks have higher average returns than big stocks. The size premium is, however, weaker and less reliable than the value premium. The relations between average return and firm characteristics (size and BE/ME) are better explained by a three-factor risk model than by the behavioral hypothesis that investor overreaction causes characteristics to be compensated irrespective of risk loadings.
JEL Classification: G12
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