, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 33-50
Date: 17 Mar 2009

New Evidence on Risk Factors, Characteristics and the Cross-Sectional Variation of Japanese Stock Returns

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This paper examines whether the cross-sectional variations in stock returns are better described by systematic risk factors or by firm characteristics such as book-to-market ratios and market capitalization. It provides new evidence from the Japanese stock market based on the recent sample period from 2002 to 2007, which is not addressed in the existing literature. Also, the new results are derived from the generalized method of moments applied to daily returns. The evidence suggests that both the firm size and book-to-market ratio are significantly related to average return premiums. There is mixed evidence, which tends to lend stronger support to the characteristic model rather than the Fama-French three-factor model as more reflective of the return dynamics in the Japanese stock market.