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Commodity Risk Factors and the Cross-Section of Equity Returns

The article examines whether commodity risk is priced in the cross-section of equity returns. Alongside a long-only equally-weighted portfolio of commodity futures, we employ as an alternative commodity risk factor a term structure portfolio that captures the propensity of commodity futures markets to be backwardated or contangoed. Equity-sorted portfolios with greater sensitivities to the two commodity risk factors command higher average returns. The two commodity portfolios are also found to explain part of the size, value and momentum anomalies. Conclusions regarding the pricing of the commodity risk factors are not an artifact driven by crude oil and are robust to the inclusion of financial and macroeconomic variables and to the addition of a composite leading indicator in the pricing model.

Published on 1st September 2014
Authors Professor Chris Brooks
Series Reference ICM-2014-09