In this paper, I examine whether stock return dispersion (RD) provides useful information about future stock returns. RD consistently forecasts a decline in the excess market return at multiple horizons, and compares favorably with alternative predictors used in the literature. The out-of-sample performance of RD tends to beat the alternative predictors, and is economically significant as indicated by the certainty equivalent gain associated with a trading investment strategy. RD has greater forecasting power for big and growth stocks compared to small and value stocks, respectively. I discuss a theoretical mechanism giving rise to the negative correlation between RD and the equity premium.
- 512 Business and Management
- Asset pricing
- Stock return dispersion
- Cross-sectional variance of stock returns
- Predictability of stock returns
- Out-of-sample predictability