Introduction to CAPM, the Capital Asset Pricing Model


It can be difficult to find a clear statement of what the Capital Asset Pricing Model (henceforth CAPM) is. I’m not trying to do much more than provide that. In particular, I did not find the wiki article to be useful, even after acquiring a couple of recent books on the subject.

I own six references:

  • Sharpe, Wiliam F.; “Investments”, Prentice Hall, 1978; 0-13-504605-X.
  • Reilly, Frank K.; “Investments”, CBS College Publishing (The Dryden Press), 1980; 0-03-056712-2.
  • Gringold, Richard C and Kahn, Ronald N.; Active Portfolio Management, McGraw-Hil, 2000; 0-07-024882-6.
  • Roman, Steven; Introduction to the Mathematics of Finance, Springer, 2004; 0-387-21364-3.
  • Benninga, Simon; Financial Modeling, 3rd ed. MIT, 2008; 0-262-02628-7.
  • Ruppert, David; Statistics and Data Analysis for Financial Engineering; Springer 2011; 978-1-4419-7786-1.

There is more than one version of the CAPM… Roman (p. 62) tells me that “The major factor that turns Markowitz portfolio theory into capital market theory is the inclusion of a riskfree asset in the model…. generally regarded as the contribution of William Sharpe, for which he won the Nobel Prize…. the theory is sometimes referred to as the Sharpe-Lintner-Mossin (SLM) capital asset pricing model.”

Then Benninga (p. 265) told me about “Black’s zero-beta CAPM… in which the role of the risk-free asset is played by a portfolio with a zero beta with respect to the particular envelope portfolio y.” (We’ll come back to this, briefly.)
Read the rest of this entry »