Fundamental factors often reflect macroeconomic innovations and so help inform better stock investment decisions.

Jacob Miramar

2019-08-22 11:35:00 Thu ET

Fundamental factors often reflect macroeconomic innovations and so help inform better stock investment decisions. Nobel Laureate Eugene Fama and his long-time co-author Ken French empirically find that several fundamental factors help price the cross-section of average asset returns. These fundamental factors include the return spreads between the top-and-bottom stock portfolios that the analyst sorts on size, value, momentum, asset growth, profitability, and market risk exposure.

In terms of stock market capitalization, small stocks often outperform large stocks by a significant 5%-7% factor premium. Value stocks can consistently beat glamour stocks by a 7%-9% factor premium. Furthermore, investors can earn hefty average returns on stocks with high recent share price performance, low capital-intensive asset growth, high cash profitability, and low market risk exposure (beta arbitrage). AQR Capital investment practitioners show that both value and momentum factor premiums significantly persist in global asset markets. To the extent that key factor premiums exhibit mutual causation with macroeconomic surprises, this causation serves as a new condition for fundamental factor selection. As investors learn from their behavioral biases, quirks, and other investment mistakes, these investors tilt their asset portfolios toward high factor premiums. This factor investment approach helps generate consistent supernormal asset returns in the long run.

 


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