Momentum

Momentum is the tendency of investments to persist in their performance. Assets that perform well over a 3 to 12 month period tend to continue to perform well into the future. The momentum effect of Jegadeesh and Titman (1993) is one of the strongest and most pervasive financial phenomena. Momentum investment strategies have been mostly applied to equities (see momentum in equities), however there is large evidence documenting momentum across different asset classes. Typical strategy consists of a universe of major indices on equity, bonds, real estate and commodities. The aim is to keep long only portfolio where an index with positive past 12 month returns is bought and negative returns sold. A well-known example of trend following momentum strategy is from Faber (2007). He creates 10 month moving average for which assets are sold and bought every month based on price being above or below the moving average. Using a 100 years of data, Faber claims to outperform the market with the mean return of 10.18% , 11.97 % volatility and max draw-down of 50.29%, compared to S&P 500 return of 9.32%, volatility of 17.87% and max draw-down of 83.46%.

In general, we distinguish between absolute and relative momentum. Absolute momentum is captured by trend following strategies that adjusts weights of assets based on past returns such as relative level of current prices compared to moving averages. Relative or cross sectional momentum, on the other hand, use long and short positions applied to both the long and short side of a market simultaneously. It makes little difference whether the studied markets go up or down, since short momentum positions hedge long ones, and vice versa. When looking only at long side momentum, however, it is desirable to be long only when both absolute and relative momentum are positive, since long-only momentum results are highly regime dependent. In order to increase performance, the simple momentum strategy is expanded to capture both relative and absolute momentum creating a long short portfolio.

Various extensions to the simple strategies shown above have been suggested. For example we can deploy mean-variance optimisation to re-weight our assets to minimise the risk given return. Moreover, we can diversify the strategy by restricting the weights to different asset classes and risk factors as well as adding various risk management practices to decrease leverage during heightened volatility periods. Furthermore, taking into account the cyclicality and idiosyncratic momentum of various sub-indices to Faber’s original asset classes produces even stronger improvements to risk-adjusted returns. Unfortunately, cross-sectional strategies use high number of stocks resulting in high trading costs. Luckily, it has been found that using sectors and indices instead of individual stocks still earns similar momentum returns while having lower trading costs.

Numerous empirical studies report on benefits of extending momentum strategy across asset classes (see Rouwenhorst 1998, Blake 1999, Griffin, Ji, and Martin 2003, Gorton, Hayashi, and Rouwenhorst 2008, Asness, Moskowitz, and Pedersen 2009). For example, including commodities in a momentum strategy can achieve better diversification and protection from inflation while having equity like returns (Erb and Harvey, 2006). Foreign exchange is another asset class with published momentum effects. Okunev and White (2003) find the well-documented profitability of momentum strategies with equities to hold for currencies throughout the 1980s and the 1990s. Contrary to already mentioned asset classes, bond returns have generally not displayed momentum. However, some later evidence suggests that assorting bonds with volatility adjusted returns leads to observation of momentum. Using 68,914 individual investment-grade and high-yield bonds, Jostova et al. (2013) find strong evidence of momentum profitability in US corporate bonds over the period from 1973 to 2008. Past six-month winners outperform past six-month losers by 61 basis points per month over a six-month holding period. Last but not least, momentum has been documented in real estate with a cross-sectional momentum buy/sell strategy significantly reducing volatility and drawdown of a long only REIT fund.

An often cited benefit of momentum strategies is their sustainable performance attributed to a true anomaly rather than skewedness in the return probability distribution that is cited to be responsible for value and carry strategy. Reasons explaining the momentum anomaly include analyst coverage, analyst forecast dispersion, illiquidity, price level, age, size, credit rating, return chasing and confirmation bias, market-to-book, turnover and others.

How to Paper Trade Quantpedia Backtests

18.November 2022

Quantpedia’s mission is simple – we want to analyze and process academic research related to quant/algo trading and simplify it into a more user-friendly form to help everyone who looks for new trading strategy ideas. It also means that we are a highly focused quant-research company, not an asset manager, and we do not manage any clients’ funds or managed accounts. But sometimes, our readers contact us with a request to help them to translate strategy backtests performed in Quantconnect into paper trading or real-trading environment. The following article is a short case study that contains a few useful tips on how to do it.

Continue reading

Impact of Dataset Selection on the Performance of Trading Strategies

14.November 2022

It would be great if the investment factors and trading strategies worked all around the world without change and under all circumstances. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Some of the strategies are market-specific, as shown in this short analysis. The Chinese market has its own specifics, mainly higher representation of retail investors and lower efficiency. And it’s not alone; countless strategies work just in cryptocurrencies, selected futures, or some other derivatives markets. So, what’s the takeaway? Simple, it’s really important to understand that each anomaly is linked to the underlying dataset and market structure, and we need to account for it in our backtesting process.

Continue reading

Multi Strategy Management for Your Portfolio

3.October 2022

If you follow Quantpedia’s blogs, you probably know that Quantpedia PRO already contains multiple risk management and portfolio construction tools for your quantitative investment strategies. The newest Quantpedia PRO tool (available in a few days) will analyze something completely different, though – how to manage multi-strategy portfolios. The newest Quantpedia PRO tool (available in a few days) will analyze something completely different, though – how to manage multi-strategy portfolios. You can easily apply these multi-strategy overlays to various types of underlying – ETFs, systematic strategies, multi-asset portfolios, or multi-strategy portfolios. This article again serves as a primer for the new report’s methodology.

Continue reading

The Worst One-Day Shocks and The Biggest Geopolitical Events of the Past Century

11.July 2022

We dedicated several articles to how we created 100-year history for bonds, stocks, and commodities . Now we analyze the 50 worst one-day shocks and the following days in each of the abovementioned asset classes. In addition to that, we also look at how the multi-asset trend-following strategy performed during the same periods. Further, the second part of this article focuses on critical geopolitical events (the starts of major wars, international crises, and deterioration of US presidents’ health) and their effect on bonds, stocks, commodities, and the multi-asset trend-following strategy.

Continue reading

Trend-Following in the Times of Crisis

10.June 2022

When someone mentions a financial crisis, most people immediately think of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. Even though this is the most significant economic crisis in recent years, there have been many more significant crisis periods in the past 100 years. This article examines the biggest crises in three asset classes: stocks, bonds, and commodities, during the past century. Additionally, we analyze the behavior of our trend-following strategy during each of the crisis periods and propose it as a hedge for the stock, bond, and/or commodity markets.

Continue reading

100-Years of Multi-Asset Trend-Following

27.May 2022

Trend-following strategies have gained extreme popularity in the recent decade. Almost every asset manager utilizes trend following, or momentum, in some form – whether consciously or subconsciously. We at Quantpedia are convinced that each and every strategy has to be scrutinized thoroughly before it’s put into use. This is one of our motivations why we will introduce to you our framework for building a 100-year daily history of a multi-asset trend-following strategy today.

Continue reading

Subscribe for Newsletter

Be first to know, when we publish new content


    logo
    The Encyclopedia of Quantitative Trading Strategies

    Log in