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Finance and Economics Discussion Series
Finance and Economics Discussion Series logo links to FEDS home page Reexamining Stock Valuation and Inflation: The Implications of Analysts' Earnings Forecasts
Steven A. Sharpe

Abstract: This paper examines the effect of inflation on stock valuations and expected long-run returns. Ex ante estimates of expected long-run returns are constructed by incorporating analysts' earnings forecasts into a variant of the Campbell-Shiller dividend-price ratio model. The negative relation between equity valuations and expected inflation is found to be the result of two effects: a rise in expected inflation coincides with both (i) lower expected real earnings growth and (ii) higher required real returns. The earnings channel mostly reflects a negative relation between expected long-term earnings growth and expected inflation. The effect of expected inflation on required (long-run) real stock returns is also substantial. A one percentage point increase in expected inflation is estimated to raise required real stock returns about one percentage point, which on average would imply a 20 percent decline in stock prices. But the inflation factor in expected real stock returns is also in long-term Treasury yields; consequently, expected inflation has little effect on the long-run equity premium.

Keywords: Inflation, stock returns, equity premium, price-earnings ratio

Full paper (281 KB PDF)

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Last update: July 24, 2001