Evidence on the Characteristics of Cross Sectional Variation in Stock Returns
CRSP Working Paper Number #416
Posted: 8 Feb 1996
Date Written: January 25, 1996 (revision)
Firm size and book-to-market ratios are both highly correlated with the returns of common stocks. Fama and French (1993) and others have argued that the association between these firm characteristics and their stock returns arises because size and book-to-market ratios are proxies for non-diversifiable factor risk. In contrast, the evidence in this paper indicates that the return premia on small capitalization and high book-to-market stocks does not arise because of the co-movements of these stocks with pervasive factors. It is the firm characteristics and not the covariance structure of returns that explain the cross-sectional variation in stock returns.
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation