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How does capital market line differ from security market line?

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2008-10-06 20:06:46
2008-10-06 20:06:46

From Investopedia.com:

The capital market line (CML) is a line used in the capital asset pricing model to illustrate the rates of return for efficient portfolios depending on the risk-free rate of return and the level of risk (standard deviation) for a particular portfolio.

The CML is derived by drawing a tangent line from the intercept point on the efficient frontier to the point where the expected return equals the risk-free rate of return.

The CML is considered to be superior to the efficient frontier since it takes into account the inclusion of a risk-free asset in the portfolio. The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) demonstrates that the market portfolio is essentially the efficient frontier. This is achieved visually through the security market line (SML).

The security market line is a line that graphs the systematic, or market, risk versus return of the whole market at a certain time and shows all risky marketable securities.

The SML essentially graphs the results from the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) formula. The x-axis represents the risk (beta), and the y-axis represents the expected return. The market risk premium is determined from the slope of the SML.

The security market line is a useful tool in determining whether an asset being considered for a portfolio offers a reasonable expected return for risk. Individual securities are plotted on the SML graph. If the security's risk versus expected return is plotted above the SML, it is undervalued because the investor can expect a greater return for the inherent risk. A security plotted below the SML is overvalued because the investor would be accepting less return for the amount of risk assumed.

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Related Questions


SML is also known as Security market line. It is the graphical representation of CAPM or Capital Asset Pricing Model. Here few advantages of SML approach: Financing of Capital Goods Additional Source of Finance


No- the market risk premium is the slope of the Security Market Line (SML).


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The CAPM is a model for pricing an individual security (asset) or a portfolio. For individual security perspective, we made use of the security market line (SML) and its relation to expected return and systematic risk (beta) to show how the market must price individual securities in relation to their security risk class. The SML enables us to calculate the reward-to-risk ratio for any security in relation to that of the overall market. Therefore, when the expected rate of return for any security is deflated by its beta coefficient, the reward-to-risk ratio for any individual security in the market is equal to the market reward-to-risk ratio




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CML = CAL for the entire market, assuming everyone has the same mean variance expectations ( E(R), variances, correlations). CAL is just the CML for individual investors. CAL and CML both combine the risk free asset with the optimal portfolio, only with CML that optimal portfolio is the market portfolio (tangency point of CML).



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