Optimization of Equity Momentum: (How) Does it Work?
32 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2015
Date Written: August 31, 2015
Standard mean-variance optimized momentum outperforms the traditional equally weighted momentum strategy if the expected return vector used reflects momentum's top and bottom only characteristic. This top and bottom only characteristic is the phenomenon that only the stocks in the top decile of momentum's ranking outperform and that only stocks in the bottom decile underperform, while all stocks in the intermediate deciles of the ranking have similar performance. If the optimization does not take this phenomenon into account the portfolio is also long the deciles 2 to 5 and short the deciles 6 to 9, while all these positions thus do not add anything to the return of the strategy. A new simplified bootstrapping methodology shows that the Sharpe-ratio of 52.8 percent of the optimized portfolio is significantly higher (p-value of 0.006) than the Sharpe-ratio of 29.3 percent for traditional equally weighted momentum. The optimized portfolio also exhibit less time-varying equity risk factor return exposures than traditional momentum and as such have more stable returns over the business cycle and have smaller drawdowns.
Keywords: Momentum, Mean-variance optimization, Time-varying risk, Sharpe-ratio, Bootstrap
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