High (low) quality stocks generate anomalously high (low) returns above and beyond expected returns based on betas, market sizes, valuations, and momentum. We provide a comprehensive overview of commonly used quality definitions and test their predictive power for stock returns. We show that quality measures predict stock returns if and only if they forecast earnings growth, and that this information is not contained in other characteristics that have been shown to drive expected stock returns. At the same time, we find that the quality premium is unrelated to different measures of distress risk, and therefore inconsistent with a risk-based interpretation. Finally, our results are robust across different regions and carry over to the corporate bond market.

Earnings growth, Earnings variability, Factor premiums, Gross profitability, Investments, Leverage, Operating accruals, Profit margins, Quality, Return-on-equity
Hypothesis Testing (jel C12), Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions (jel G11), Asset Pricing (jel G12), Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies (jel G14)
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2020.105785, hdl.handle.net/1765/126102
Journal of Banking & Finance
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Kyosev, G. (Georgi), Hanauer, M.X. (Matthias X.), Huij, J.J, & Lansdorp, S.D. (2020). Does earnings growth drive the quality premium?. Journal of Banking & Finance, 114. doi:10.1016/j.jbankfin.2020.105785