Alternative data

Man vs. Machine: Stock Analysis

17.July 2021

Nowadays, we see an increasing number of machine learning based strategies and other related financial analyses. But can the machines replace us? Undoubtedly, AI algorithms have greater capacities to “digest” big data, but as always in the markets, everything is not rational. Cao et al. (2021) dives deeper into this topic and examines the stock analysts. Target prices and earnings forecasts are crucial parts of the investing practice and are frequently used by traders and investors (and even ML-based strategies). The novel research examines and compares the abilities of human analysts versus the AI algorithm in forecasting the target price. As a whole, AI-based analysts, on average, outperforms human analysts, but it is not that straightforward. While AI can learn from large datasets, humans do not seem to be replaced soon. There are certain fields where human uniqueness is valuable. For example, in illiquid and smaller firms or firms with asset-light business models. Moreover, it seems that rather than competing with each other, AI and human analysts are complementary. The novel technology can be used with great success to help us in areas where we lag, and the combined knowledge and forecasts of AI and humans outperform the AI analyst in each year.

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Community Alpha of QuantConnect – Part 1: Following numerous quantitative strategies

1.July 2021

Quantitative based community is represented by the Quantconnect – Algorithmic Trading Platform, where quants can research, backtest and trade their systematic strategies. Additionally, similar to Seeking Alpha, there is a possibility to follow other quants/analysts through the open free market – Alpha Market.
To our best knowledge, the literature on community/social media alpha is scarce, and this paper aims to fill this gap. In the first part, we evaluate the benchmark strategy that consists of all strategies in the alpha market that are equally weighted. Moreover, through multidimensional scaling and clustering analysis, we examine how well can significantly lower amount of strategies track the aforementioned benchmark. This could solve the problem of costly and inconvenient following of every strategy in the market. Overall, this approach can lead to a strategy that follows the benchmark with drastically reduced costs, and these strategies can be even more profitable and less volatile.

Stay tuned for the 2nd and 3rd parts of this series, where we will step on the gas and explore factor meta-strategies built on top of the QuantConnect’s Alpha Market.

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The Knowledge Graphs for Macroeconomic Analysis with Alternative Big Data

25.June 2021

There are many known relationships among macroeconomic variables in economics, while some of them are even presented as “laws”—for example, money supply and inflation or benchmark interest rates and inflation. However, the well-known economic models usually utilize only a small amount of variables. Nowadays, with the advances in machine learning and big data fields, these established models might be improved. A possible solution is presented in the research paper of Yang et al. (2020). The authors construct knowledge graphs where they connect widely recognized variables such as GDP, inflation, etc., with other more or less known variables based on the massive textual data from financial journals and research reports published by leading think tanks, consulting firms or asset management companies. With the help of advanced natural language processing, it is possible to basically “read “all the relevant published research and find the relationships among the macroeconomic variables. While this task could take years for human readers, the machine learning method can go through these texts in a much shorter time.

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Pump and Dump in Cryptocurrencies

24.May 2021

It is striking how cryptocurrencies are both similar and dissimilar to the more established asset classes at the same time. On the one hand, many findings from traditional asset classes also apply to this novel class. On the other hand, this “new” world with its own characteristics brings many novel “problems” that attract researchers. This week’s blog presents several research papers connected to the pump and dump schemes in cryptos. These pumps and dumps are nothing new, and we already know them from the stock market. However, there are some notable differences…

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Does Social Media Sentiment Matter in the Pricing of U.S. Stocks?

15.March 2021

Although the models cannot entirely capture the reality, they are essential in the analysis and problem solving, and the same could be said about asset pricing models. These models had a long journey from the CAPM model to the most recent Fama French five-factor model. However, the asset pricing models still rely on fundamentals, and as we see in the practice every day, the financial markets or investors are not always rational, and prices tend to deviate from their fundamental values. Past research has already suggested that the assets are driven by both the fundamentals and sentiment. The novel research of Koeppel (2021) continues in the exploration of the hypothesis mentioned above and connects the sentiment with the factors in Fama´s and French´s methodology. The most interesting result of the research is the construction of the sentiment risk factor based on the direct search-based sentiment indicators. The data are sourced by the MarketPsych that analyze information flowing on social media. For comparison, public news is not a source of such exploitable sentiment indicator.

The sentiment score extracted from social media can be exploited to augment the Fama French five factors model. Based on the results, this addition seems to be justified. Adding the sentiment to the pure fundamental model explains more variation and reduce the alphas (intercepts). Moreover, the factor is unrelated to the well-known and established risk factors utilized in the previous asset pricing models, including the momentum. Finally, the sentiment factor seems to be outperforming several other factors, even those established as the smart beta factors.

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The Knapsack problem implementation in R

16.October 2020

Our own research paper ESG Scores and Price Momentum Are More Than Compatible utilized the Knapsack problem to make the ESG strategies more profitable or Momentum strategies significantly less risky. The implementation of the Knapsack problem was created in R, using slightly modified Simulated annealing optimization algorithm. Recently, we have been asked about our implementation and the code. The code is commented and probably could be implemented more efficiently (in R or in another programming language). For example, R is more efficient with matrices, but the code would not be that “straightforward”. Lastly, the most important tuning parameter is the temperature decrease (the probability of accepting a new solution is falling with the rising number of iterations).

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