ESG Incidents and Shareholder Value

14.May 2021

ESG scores are the modern trend in the financial markets, and while this sustainable investing has its critics, it seems to become a regular part of the markets. Frequently, and probably rightfully, ESG is criticized for the lack of commonality across various “scorers”, and as a result, there might be a large dispersion among the score of one firm. The reason is that the score usually consists of different metrics and aggregation methodology. Apart from this “long-term” score, investors can easily recognize the “short-term” score, which can be proxied by negative incidents such as pollution, poor social aspects, social or governance scandals and so on. Moreover, these incidents could be more informative about (un)sustainable practice compared to ESG scores. These ESG incidents are studied by the novel research of Simon Glossner (2021). Using incidents news, the author provides interesting results that mainly support proponents of sustainable investing. Poor ESG performance proxied by incidents predicts more incidents in the future, lower profitability which should subsequently spill to negative performance in future. For example, portfolios consisting of negative incidents stocks significantly underperform the market for both US and European stocks. Therefore, this research paper is a compelling addition to the literature that, apart from social aspects, connects ESG also with performance.

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Market Sentiment and an Overnight Anomaly

19.April 2021

Various research papers show that market sentiment, also called investor sentiment, plays a role in market returns. Market sentiment refers to the general mood on the financial markets and investors’ overall tendency to trade. The mood on the market is divided into two main types, bullish and bearish. Naturally, rising prices indicate bullish sentiment. On the other hand, falling prices indicate bearish sentiment. This paper shows various ways to measure market sentiment and its influence on returns.

Additionally, we take a look at an overnight anomaly in combination with three market sentiment indicators. We analyse the Brain Market sentiment indicator in addition to VIX and the short-term trend in SPY ETF. Our aim is not to build a trading system. Instead, it is to analyze financial markets behaviour. Overall the transaction costs of this kind of strategy would be high. However, more appropriate than using this system on its own would be to use it as an overlay when deciding when to make trades.

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Retail Investment Boom, Robinhood, Passive Investing and Market Inelasticity

19.March 2021

This week’s blog is unique compared to our previous posts. We have identified two papers that are connected, each with interesting findings and implications. One of today’s leading topics is the Robinhood platform, but not from the point of view of recent short squeezes and speculations. The Robinhood can be an interesting insight into retail investing and implications for the market. Research suggests that despite the very low share of retail investors, their power is significantly high. This seems to be caused by the inelastic market, which passive investing contributes to. Therefore, inelasticity is another crucial point.

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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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Trading Index (TRIN) – Formula, Calculation & Trading Strategy in Python

14.December 2020

Short-term mean reversion trading on equity indexes is a popular trading style. Often, price-based technical indicators like RSI, CCI are used to assess if the stock market is in overbought or oversold conditions. A new research article written by Chainika Thakar and Rekhit Pachanekar explores a different indicator – TRIN, which compares the number of advancing and declining stocks to the advancing and declining volume. TRIN’s advantage is that it’s cross-sectionally based and its calculation uses not only price but also volume information. Thakar& Pachanekar’s research paper is useful for fans of indicator’s based trading strategies and offers a short introduction to TRIN’s calculation together with an example of mean-reversion market timing strategy written in a python code.

Authors: Chainika Thakar, Rekhit Pachanekar

Title: Trading Index (TRIN) – Formula, Calculation & Strategy in Python

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Not all Gold Shines in Crisis Times – COVID-19 Evidence

23.October 2020

Nowadays, gold is a hot topic, but that is not a surprise given the worldwide situation. The gold is by the majority considered as a hedge, safe haven and often recognized for its ability to preserve the value in the long term. However, gold itself is not the only gold-related investable asset. There are numerous gold-related stocks – producers, explorers and developers. Common sense might suggest that the price of such stocks should reflect the gold prices, but the novel research by Baur and Trench (2020) shows that this logic is not always correct. Results suggest that gold equities cannot be considered as safe havens and investors differentiate between producers, explorers and developers during regular times. On the other hand, during the recent (and lasting) stressful COVID period, all types of gold stocks moved similarly to gold.

Authors: Dirk G. Baur and Allan Trench

Title: Not all Gold Shines in Crisis Times – COVID-19 Evidence

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