Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Two CAPM articles of interest for 610

Thought these might help some for our discussion of CAPM. the yare from the April 2004 FinanceProfessor.com newsletter:

I love summary articles. They help make sense of the world and let us see the forest through the trees. Some of my favorites include the Harris and Raviv summary article on capital structure, Fama's paper that responds to Behavioral Finance Theories, and Cliff Smith's introduction to his book of readings in Corporate Finance. And now I have a favorite on the CAPM and other pricing models. While still officially a working paper, Fama and French give us an excellent recap of both current and past work in the field. My favorite line (and totally coincidentally the conclusion): "The CAPM, Like Markowitz' (1952, 1959) portfolio model on which it is built, is nevertheless a theoretical tour de force. We continue to teach the CAPM….but we also warn students that despite its seductive simplicity, the CAPM's empirical problems probably invalidate its use in applications." WOW! Well said. http://gsbwww.uchicago.edu/fac/finance/papers/capm%202004.pdf

Confused about the differing assumptions of pricing models? More than likely you know that the assumptions don't hold very well and you probably know much research has looked at how the assumptions matter. Fama and French now provide a framework to hopefully make sense of some of this confusion. In a working paper they show that investor tastes and expectations matter. For instance, when discussing the CAPM, they conclude that with differing expectations, there is little a priori reason to expect that the market portfolio is the tangency portfolio (and hence the market portfolio may or may not be mean variance efficient, which is a central tenant of CAPM). Additionally the authors use the concept of investor disagreement (and its impact on the market portfolio) to discuss a range of topics ranging from value investing, to stock picking, and mutual fund performance. Very interesting. Not sure how they do it. Great paper after Great paper! http://gsbwww.uchicago.edu/fac/finance/papers/assetprices2004b.pdf

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