DP12631 | The Leading Premium

Publication Date

01/22/2018

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Abstract

In this paper, we compute conditional measures of lead-lag relationships between GDP growth and industry-level cash-flow growth in the US. Our results show that firms in leading industries pay an average annualized return 4% higher than that of firms in lagging industries. The difference in the returns of leading and lagging firms is priced in the cross section of equity returns, even after we control for a large number of risk factors. This finding can be rationalized in a model in which (a) agents price growth news shocks, and (b) leading industries provide valuable resolution of uncertainty about the growth prospects of lagging industries.