NBER Working Papers by Kewei Hou

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Working Papers

March 2015The CAPM Strikes Back? An Investment Model with Disasters
with Hang Bai, Howard Kung, Lu Zhang: w21016
Value stocks are more exposed to disaster risk than growth stocks. Embedding disasters into an investment-based asset pricing model induces strong nonlinearity in the pricing kernel. Our single-factor model reproduces the failure of the CAPM in explaining the value premium in finite samples in which disasters are not materialized, and its relative success in samples in which disasters are materialized. The relation between pre-ranking market betas and average returns is flat in simulations, despite a strong positive relation between true market betas and expected returns. Evidence in the long U.S. sample from 1926 to 2014 lends support to the model’s key predictions.
January 2015Are Firms in "Boring" Industries Worth Less?
with Jia Chen, René M. Stulz: w20880
Using theories from the behavioral finance literature to predict that investors are attracted to industries with more salient outcomes and that therefore firms in such industries have higher valuations, we find that firms in industries that have high industry-level dispersion of profitability have on average higher market-to-book ratios than firms in low dispersion industries. This positive relation between market-to-book ratios and industry profitability dispersion is economically large and statistically significant and is robust to controlling for variables used to explain firm-level valuation ratios in the literature. Consistent with the mispricing explanation of this finding, we show that firms in less boring industries have a lower implied cost of equity and lower realized returns. We...
November 2014A Comparison of New Factor Models
with Chen Xue, Lu Zhang: w20682
This paper compares the Hou, Xue, and Zhang (2014) q-factor model and the Fama and French (2014a) five-factor model on both conceptual and empirical grounds. It raises four concerns with the motivation of the five-factor model: The internal rate of return often correlates negatively with the one-period-ahead expected return; the value factor seems redundant in the data; the expected investment tends to correlate positively with the one-period-ahead expected return; and past investment is a poor proxy for the expected investment. Empirically, the four-factor q-model outperforms the five-factor model, especially in capturing price and earnings momentum.
October 2012Digesting Anomalies: An Investment Approach
with Chen Xue, Lu Zhang: w18435
Motivated from investment-based asset pricing, we propose a new factor model consisting of the market factor, a size factor, an investment factor, and a return on equity factor. The new factor model outperforms the Carhart four-factor model in pricing portfolios formed on earnings surprise, idiosyncratic volatility, financial distress, net stock issues, composite issuance, as well as on investment and return on equity. The new model performs similarly as the Carhart model in pricing portfolios formed on size and momentum, abnormal corporate investment, as well as on size and book-to-market, but underperforms in pricing the total accrual deciles. The new model's performance, combined with its clear economic intuition, suggests that it can be used as a new workhorse model for academic resear...

Published: Digesting Anomalies: An Investment Approach Kewei Hou, Chen Xue and Lu Zhang Rev. Financ. Stud. (2015) 28 (3): 650-705. doi: 10.1093/rfs/hhu068 First published online: September 26, 2014

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