The Equity Risk Premium in 2015
21 Pages Posted: 30 May 2015 Last revised: 4 Dec 2015
Date Written: October 1, 2015
We analyze the history of the equity risk premium from surveys of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) conducted every quarter from June 2000 to March 2015. The risk premium is the expected 10-year S&P 500 return relative to a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield. We show that the equity risk premium has increased more than 50 basis points from the levels observed in 2014. The current 10-year risk premium is 4.51%. Similarly, measures of risk such as investor disagreement and perceptions of volatility have increased. Interestingly, the increased premium and risk are not reflected in market-based measures of risk, such as the VIX and credit spreads. We also link our survey results to measures survey-based measures of the weighted average cost of capital and investment hurdle rates. The hurdle rates are significantly higher than the cost of capital implied by the market risk premium.
Keywords: Cost of capital, financial crisis, equity premium, WACC, hurdle rate, long-term market returns, stock return forecasts, long-term equity returns, expected excess returns, disagreement, individual uncertainty, skewness, asymmetry, survey methods, TIPs, VIX, credit spreads
JEL Classification: G11, G31, G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation