The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
We explore the link between international stock market comovement and the degree to which firms operate globally. Using stock returns and balance sheet data for companies in 20 countries, we estimate a factor model that decomposes stock returns into global, country-specific and industry-specific shocks. We find a large and highly significant link: on average, a firm raising its international sales by 10 percent raises the exposure of its stock return to global shocks by 2 percent and reduces its exposure to country-specific shocks by 1.5 percent. This link has grown stronger since the mid-1980s.