NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Covariance Risk, Mispricing, and the Cross Section of Security Returns

Kent D. Daniel, David Hirshleifer, Avanidhar Subrahmanyam

NBER Working Paper No. 7615
Issued in March 2000
NBER Program(s):   AP

This paper offers a multisecurity model in which prices reflect both covariance risk and misperceptions of firms' prospects, and in which arbitrageurs trade to profit from mispricing. We derive a pricing relationship in which expected returns are linearly related to both risk and mispricing variables. The model thereby implies a multivariate relation between expected return, beta, and variables that proxy for mispricing of idiosyncratic components of value tends to be arbitraged away but systematic mispricing is not. The theory is consistent with several empirical findings regarding the cross-section of equity returns, including: the observed ability of fundamental/price ratios to forecast aggregate and cross-sectional returns, and of market value but not non-market size measures to forecast returns cross-sectionally; and the ability in some studies of fundamental/price ratios and market value to dominate traditional measures of security risk. The model also offers several untested empirical implications for the cross-section of expected returns and for the relation of volume to subsequent volatility.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7615

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