Journal of Index Investing, vol. 4, no. 2, Fall 2013
Posted: 8 Feb 2017
Date Written: November 1, 2013
It is well established that stocks with lower price fluctuations tend to outperform riskier ones. This article reviews plausible explanations for the low volatility anomaly and reproduce the performance of low volatility strategies in different market environments as well as in different geographical applications. We further attribute the outperformance by decomposing the excess returns of low volatility strategies into well-known sources of equity factor premiums. We find that standard long-only low volatility strategies capture not just the low volatility premium, but, in many cases, also rely on other premiums. Additionally, we illustrate the benefit of incorporating low volatility equity strategies in an asset allocation exercise; the inclusion of low volatility strategies can significantly expand the efficient frontier and improve the resulting portfolio’s overall risk/return profile.
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