Separating Winners from Losers

PLEASE NOTE
Capital Ideas is now Chicago Booth Review but unfortunately original articles are no longer available. If you click through you will be taken to the Internet Archive site to find an archived copy.

High book-to-market (B-to-M) firms tend to be in poor financial health, as reflected by their low stock prices and poor earnings performance. Yet research consistently shows that a portfolio of these “value” firms outperforms both the overall market and portfolios comprised of low B-to-M “glamour” firms.

The reason for this is because a small number of high B-to-M firms are strong enough to raise the portfolio’s mean performance, compensating for the many high B-to-M firms that under-perform the market. Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to distinguish prospective winners from likely losers? A University of Chicago Graduate School of Business professor thought so, too.

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