Profitability, Product Market Competition, and Stock Returns
This paper finds that product market competition level (measured by Herfindahl Hirschman Index using Fama French 48 industries) affects the performance of zero-cost investment strategies based on gross probability. From 1973 to 2017, the positive returns from such strategy mainly comes from the most competitive industry quintile while a strong reversal exists the second most competitive quintile. The same strategy does not generate any statistically significant returns in concentrated industry quintiles. Out of 25 dependently sorted portfolios on product market competition level and gross profitability, the top performing portfolio comes from the least profitable firms in the second most competitive industry quintile, where 65% of firms are from pharmaceutical and oil industries.
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