Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills?

53 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2017 Last revised: 3 Jun 2018

Date Written: May 28, 2018

Abstract

Four out of every seven common stocks that have appeared in the CRSP database since 1926 have lifetime buy-and-hold returns less than one-month Treasuries. When stated in terms of lifetime dollar wealth creation, the best-performing four percent of listed companies explain the net gain for the entire U.S. stock market since 1926, as other stocks collectively matched Treasury bills. These results highlight the important role of positive skewness in the distribution of individual stock returns, attributable both to skewness in monthly returns and to the effects of compounding. The results help to explain why poorly-diversified active strategies most often underperform market averages.

Keywords: Long horizon returns, return skewness, stock market wealth creation

Suggested Citation

Bessembinder, Hendrik (Hank), Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills? (May 28, 2018). Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2900447 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2900447

Hendrik (Hank) Bessembinder (Contact Author)

W.P. Carey School of Business ( email )

W. P. Carey School of Business
PO Box 873906
Tempe, AZ 85287-3906
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://wpcarey.asu.edu/people/profile/2717225

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
35,624
Abstract Views
139,884
rank
59
PlumX Metrics