Academics have shown that momentum strategies can generate extraordinary excess returns in virtually every asset class (stocks, FX, commodities) or their respective parts (equity sectors, industries, countries). This includes momentum into the standard strategy set of nearly each portfolio manager.
But is momentum applicable also to market anomalies or factor portfolios? Yes, it is. Multiple research papers show it is possible to apply momentum strategies to successfully rotate between equity styles (small-cap value, large-cap growth, etc.). The beauty of this approach is its simplicity (as various equity styles portfolios are easily accessible via ETFs) and the practically zero correlation to the broad equity market (if the investor uses the long-short version of this strategy), which makes this an easily accessible, good portfolio diversifier.
* For those interested in systematic quantitative momentum factor ETF implementation, here is a link to the Alpha Architect Quantitative Momentum ETF (strategy background), our partner. *
The obvious observation is that styles perform differently over time (the same way different assets do). The popularity of style investing itself may influence the structure and dynamics of asset returns since prices deviate substantially from fundamental values as styles become popular or unpopular. This non-random behavior gives the foundation to the rise of exploitable momentum.
Backtest period from source paper
Confidence in anomaly's validity
Notes to Confidence in Anomaly's Validity
Notes to Indicative Performance
per annum, long short strategy, data from table 3
Period of Rebalancing
Notes to Period of Rebalancing
Notes to Estimated Volatility
long short strategy, data from table 3
Number of Traded Instruments
Notes to Number of Traded Instruments
Notes to Maximum drawdown
Notes to Complexity Evaluation
Simple trading strategy
Russell’s ETFs for six equity styles are used (small-cap value, mid-cap value, large-cap value, small-cap growth, mid-cap growth, large-cap growth). Each month, the investor calculates 12-month momentum for each style and goes long on the winner and short on the loser. The portfolio is rebalanced each month.
Hedge for stocks during bear markets
Not known - Source and related research papers don’t offer insight into the correlation structure of the proposed trading strategy to equity market risk; therefore, we do not know if this strategy can be used as a hedge/diversification during the time of market crisis. The strategy is built as a long-short, but it can be split into two parts. The long leg of the strategy is surely strongly correlated to the equity market; however, the short-only leg can be maybe used as a hedge during bad times. Rigorous backtest is, however, needed to determine return/risk characteristics and correlation.
Out-of-sample strategy's implementation/validation in QuantConnect's framework