Earnings and Expected Returns

49 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 1996 Last revised: 1 Jan 2023

See all articles by Owen A. Lamont

Owen A. Lamont

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 1996


The aggregate dividend payout ratio forecasts aggregate excess returns on both stocks and corporate bonds in post-war US data. Both high corporate profits and high stock prices forecast low excess returns on equities. When the payout ratio is high, expected returns are high. The payout ratio's correlation with business conditions gives it predictive power for returns; it contains information about future stock and bond returns that is not captured by other variables. The payout ratio is useful because it captures the temporary components of earnings. The dynamic relationship between dividends, earnings and stock prices shows that a positive innovation in earnings lowers expected returns in the near future, but raises them thereafter.

Suggested Citation

Lamont, Owen A., Earnings and Expected Returns (July 1996). NBER Working Paper No. w5671, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=7842

Owen A. Lamont (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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