32 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2020
Date Written: December 16, 2019
We find that realized skewness is a significant indicator of returns across a range of assets from different asset classes, namely commodities, government bonds, equity indices and currencies. Taking on skewness risk is broadly compensated within, but more substantially across asset classes. Portfolios in these four asset classes with long positions on most negatively (or least positively) skewed assets and short positions on least negatively (or most positively) skewed assets generate on average a Sharpe ratio of 0.35 between 1990 and 2017. We find little evidence of a common risk driver among these portfolios, to the extent that their combination benefits substantially from diversification, delivering a Sharpe ratio of 0.72. The patterns are not subsumed by other known factors that drive returns, such as value, momentum or carry factors and, consequently, mean-variance efficient multi-factor portfolios assign a positive weight to skewness. Our results remain robust to different measures of skewness and across sub-samples.
Keywords: asset pricing, behavioral finance, skewness, factor premium, skewness preferences, risk preferences, currencies, commodities, bonds
JEL Classification: G02, G12, G13, G15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation