Why Does Idiosyncratic Risk Increase with Market Risk

53 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2017

See all articles by Söhnke M. Bartram

Söhnke M. Bartram

Warwick Business School - Department of Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Gregory W. Brown

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area

René M. Stulz

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: July 13, 2017

Abstract

From 1963 through 2015, idiosyncratic risk (IR) is high when market risk (MR) is high. We show that the positive relation between IR and MR is highly stable through time and is robust across exchanges, firm size, liquidity, and market-to-book groupings. Though stock liquidity affects the strength of the relation, it is strong for the most liquid stocks. The relation has roots in fundamentals. Higher market risk predicts greater idiosyncratic earnings volatility as well as dispersion and errors in analysts’ earnings forecasts. Firm characteristics related to the ability of firms to adjust to higher uncertainty help explain the strength of the relation. We find evidence that the relation is weaker for firms with more growth options, which is consistent with the view that such options provide a hedge against macroeconomic uncertainty.

Keywords: uncertainty, idiosyncratic risk, market risk, growth options, liquidity, limits to arbitrage

JEL Classification: G100, G110, G120

Suggested Citation

Bartram, Söhnke M. and Brown, Gregory W. and Stulz, Rene M., Why Does Idiosyncratic Risk Increase with Market Risk (July 13, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6560. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3014723

Söhnke M. Bartram (Contact Author)

Warwick Business School - Department of Finance ( email )

Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
+44 (24) 7657 4168 (Phone)
+1 425 952 1070 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://go.warwick.ac.uk/sbartram/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Gregory W. Brown

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

Rene M. Stulz

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/fin/faculty/stulz

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

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