Earnings, Retained Earnings, and Book-to-Market in the Cross Section of Expected Returns
66 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2017 Last revised: 10 Sep 2018
Date Written: September 5, 2018
Book value of equity consists of two economically different components: retained earnings and contributed capital. We predict that book-to-market strategies work because the retained earnings component of the book value of equity includes the accumulation and, hence, the averaging of past earnings. Retained earnings-to-market predicts the cross section of average returns in U.S. and international data and subsumes book-to-market. Contributed capital-to-market has no predictive power. We show that retained earnings-to-market -- and, by extension, book-to- market -- predicts returns because it is a good proxy for underlying earnings yield (Ball, 1978; Berk, 1995) and not because book value represents intrinsic value.
Keywords: G11, G12, M41
JEL Classification: Book-to-market, Contributed capital, Earnings yield, Mispricing, Retained earnings, Value premium
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation