Low Risk Anomalies?
71 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2016 Last revised: 11 Jan 2018
Date Written: February 28, 2016
This paper shows theoretically and empirically that beta- and volatility-based low risk anomalies are driven by return skewness. The empirical patterns concisely match the predictions of our model which generates skewness of stock returns via default risk. With increasing downside risk, the standard capital asset pricing model increasingly overestimates required equity returns relative to firms' true (skew-adjusted) market risk. Empirically, the profitability of betting against beta/volatility increases with firms' downside risk. Our results suggest that the returns to betting against beta/volatility do not necessarily pose asset pricing puzzles but rather that such strategies collect premia that compensate for skew risk.
Keywords: Low risk anomaly, skewness, credit risk, risk premia, equity options
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