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Title: Profitability, asset investment, and aggregate stock returns
Authors: Chue, TK 
Xu, J
Issue Date: 2018
Source: Paper presentation at 2018 China International Conference in Finance July 10-13, 2018, TianJin, China, p. 1-75
Abstract: The book-to-market ratio (B/M), profitability, and asset investment exhibit robust joint predictive power for the equity premium, generating out-of-sample R2s of 7%, 20%, and 29%, respectively, in one-quarter-, one-year-, and two-year-ahead forecasts. Since profitability and investment are positively correlated with each other yet predict future returns in opposite directions, while B/M and profitability are negatively correlated with each other yet predict future returns in the same direction, the variables’ joint predictive power is much higher than the sum of their standalone counterparts. Just as Fama and French (2006, 2015, 2016) and Hou, Xue, and Zhang (2014, 2015, 2017) show that profitable firms who invest conservatively are associated with high future alphas in the cross section, we find that high aggregate profits and low asset growth precede high aggregate stock returns in the time series. We also find that short-term (long-term) asset growth predicts one-year-ahead (two-year-ahead) stock returns—consistent with firms’ investment decisions being more responsive to changes in discount rates that correspond to the investment’s time horizon. To explain this pattern from a behavioral perspective requires two types of sentiment—one that primarily influences short-term investment and another that affects long-term investment only.
Keywords: Profitability
Asset growth
Book-to-market ratio
Equity premium forecasts
Rights: Posted with permission of the author.
Appears in Collections:Conference Paper

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