Smart beta

Quality Factor in Sector Investing

14.January 2022

The critical question of this research is to examine whether the quality factor could be found in the aggregated groups of similar stocks such as industries or sectors. Additionally, instead of constructing a comprehensive quality metric like other papers, we examine the individual ratios aggregated to the whole sector. The aim is to investigate the fundamental ratios on which quality is based rather than the composite quality score of sectors.

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Out-of-sample Dataset Before the “Sample”: Pervasive Anomalies Before 1926

30.November 2021

Data are the key to systematic investing/trading strategies. The hypotheses testing, risk or return evaluations, correlations, and factor loadings rely on past data and backtests. With an increasing speed of publication in finance, critiques of quantitative strategies have emerged. Strategies seem to decay in alpha, post-publication returns tend to be lower, and many strategies become insignificant once rigorously tested (in or out-of-sample). Moreover, some might even appear profitable purely by chance and the repetitive examination of the same dataset, such as CRSP stocks after 1963. 

Is there any solution to overcome these limitations? Partially, the design of the novel machine learning strategies consisting of training, validation, and testing sets might help. Perhaps the most crucial part of such a scheme is the usage of the purely out-of-sample dataset. In this regard, the novel research by Baltussen et al. (2021) provides several valuable findings for the most recognized factors. The authors constructed a database of U.S. stocks, including dividends and market caps for 1488 major stocks from 1866 to 1926. The sample can be described as the pre-CRSP period, including independent, pre-publication, and “out-of-sample” data that can be a perfect test for the factors utilized today. 

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The Quant Cycle – The Time Variation in Factor Returns

22.November 2021

Although the factors in asset pricing models offer a premium in the long run, they are undergoing bull and bear market cycles in the short term. One would expect that it is due to their connection to the business cycles as the factor premium represents a reward for bearing the macroeconomic risks. A novel study by Blitz (2021) finds that traditional business cycle indicators can’t explain much of the time variation of factor returns as the factors are a behavioral phenomenon driven by investor sentiment. To capture the large factor cyclical variation, the author proposes a quant cycle that is defined by the peaks and troughs in the factor returns corresponding to the bull and bear markets.

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Six Examples of Trading Strategies That Use Alternative Data

26.October 2021

Why has been alternative data recently so much popular? The answer most of the time hovers around the notion of “seeking the new alpha sources”. First, the hunt for alpha is huge due to the low yield world and is getting only bigger. Secondly, some of the more popular strategies can become crowded, leading to diminishing alpha or the risk of a sudden reversal in performance (all of us remember this year’s growth vs. value switch).

We at Quantpedia don’t create nor manage any alternative data sets. But we are aware of this trend, and we strive hard to find new alpha opportunities which may lie in these new data sources. From the database of almost 700 quantitative investment strategies Quantpedia has gathered, almost 100 strategies are based on alternative datasets. Today, we picked just 6 of them to give you a little taste of how these alternative strategies may look like, what kind of datasets they utilize and how they perform.

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Asset Pricing Models in China

27.September 2021

The CAPM model was a breakthrough for asset pricing, but the times where the market factor was most widely used are long gone. Nowadays, if we exaggerate a bit, we have as many factors as we want. Therefore, it might not be straightforward which factor model should be used. 

Hanauer et al. (2021) provide several insights into factor models. The authors postulate that the factor models should be examined in the international samples since this can be understood as a test for asset pricing models. The domestic Chinese A-shares stock market seems to be an excellent “playground” for the factors models, given the size of the Chinese stock market, but mainly because of its uniqueness. The paper compares the models (and factors) based on various methods (performance, data-driven asset pricing framework, test assets, turnovers and even transaction costs). Apart from valuable insights into the several less-known factors, the key takeaway message could be that the “US classic” Fama-French factor models perform poorly in China. The modified Fama-French six-factor model or q-factor is better, but overall, it seems that factor models designed for China, such as the model of Liu, Stambaugh and Yuan (2019), are the best.

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Introduction to Clustering Methods In Portfolio Management – Part 2

22.September 2021

October’s is coming, and we continue our short series of introductory articles about portfolio clustering methods we will soon use in our new Quantpedia Pro report. In the previous blog, we introduced three clustering methods and discussed the pros and cons of each one. Additionally, we showed a few examples of clustering, and we presented various methods for picking an optimal number of clusters.

This section demonstrates the Partitioning Around Medoids (PAM) – a centroid-based clustering method, Hierarchical Clustering, which uses machine learning and Gaussian Mixture Model based on probability distribution and applies all three methods to an investment portfolio that consists of eight liquid ETFs.

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