Stock returns as predictors of interest rates and inflation: The South African experience.
This study analyses the extent to which stock returns provide forecasts of changes in interest rates and inflation for the South African market. The period under investigation, January 1966 - February 1989, is characterised by structural changes in the South African economy, especially in the financial markets. The earnings yield on shares is used as a measure of the return on stocks. Stock returns of 10 specific industries are used in addition to the overall market return. Monthly inflation series were constructed by employing both the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Producer Price Index (PPI). Before examining that relationship, tests were done to examine the relationship between nominal stock returns and expected inflation. The relation between the stock market and expected inflation is estimated by using three measures of expected inflation. The results appear to suggest that the stock market reacted positively to expected inflation during the 1966 - 1982 period. Two proxies of expected inflation. Best results inflation are used to were obtained with measure future the Fama-Gibbons measure. In addition, the results suggest that stock returns provide additional information of future inflation to that contained in the Fama-Gibbons and interest rate models. Returns for specific industries, used in this study, appear to provide marginally better forecasts of inflation than the overall market return. The results also suggest that stock returns provide forecasts of changes in interest rates and inflation. There is no evidence that the specific industries used, provide consistent better forecasts of interest rate changes than the overall market.