The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns: What Have We Learnt from the Past Twenty-Five Years of Research?


  • I am grateful to Michael Brennan and Ravi Jagannathan for valuable comments.


I review the recent literature on cross-sectional predictors of stock returns. Predictive variables used emanate from informal arguments, alternative tests of risk-return models, behavioural biases, and frictions. More than fifty variables have been used to predict returns. The overall picture, however, remains murky, because more needs to be done to consider the correlational structure amongst the variables, use a comprehensive set of controls, and discern whether the results survive simple variations in methodology.