Inflation and individual equities

We study the inflation hedging ability of individual stocks. While the poor inflation hedging ability of the aggregate stock market has long been documented, there is considerable heterogeneity in howindividual stock returns covary with inflation. Stocks with good inflation-hedging abilities since 1990 have had higher returns, on average, than stocks with low inflation betas and tend to be drawnfrom the Oil and Gas and Technology sectors. However, we show that the time variation of stock inflation betas is substantial. This makes it difficult to construct portfolios of stocks that are goodinflation hedges out of sample. This is true for portfolios constructed on past inflation betas, sector portfolios, and portfolios constructed from high-paying dividend stocks.

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