The Market Risk Factor


The first risk factor in the Fama/French Five-Factor Model is the “market risk factor” or the amount of an investor’s exposure to the overall stock market compared to risk-free investments, such as the 30-day T-Bill. Investors take on market risk through all of their different equity investments. Figure 8-7 plots the risk and return associated with the market risk factor for five allocations of the total U.S. stock market and U.S. Treasury bills. The highest market exposure, labeled 5, carries 100% exposure to the total U.S. market. The button labeled 0 is invested in 100% T-Bills. The chart reflects the differences in growth of $1 and annualized returns in the various market exposures over the 90-year period from January 1, 1928 through December 31, 2017.

Figure 8-7

Step 8Market FactorFive-Factor ModelMarket RiskTreasury Bills