NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Stock Returns and Real Activity: A Century of Evidence

G. William Schwert

NBER Working Paper No. 3296 (Also Reprint No. r1471)
Issued in March 1990
NBER Program(s):   ME

This paper analyzes the relation between real stock returns and real activity from 1889-1988. It replicates Fama's (1990) results for the 1953-87 period using an additional 65 years of data. It also compares two measures of industrial production in the tests: (1) the series produced by Babson for 1889-1918, spliced with the Federal Reserve Board index of industrial production for 1919-1988, and (2) the new Miron and Romer (1989) index spliced with the Fed index in 1941. Fama's findings are robust for a much longer period -- future production growth rates explain a large fraction of the variation in stock returns. The new Miron-Romer measure of industrial production is less closely related to stock price movements than the older Babson and Federal Reserve Board measures.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3296

Published: The Journal of Finance, Vol. XLV, No. 4, pp. 1237-1257, (September 1990).

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