Factor Momentum

Robert D. Arnott (Research Affiliates), et al.
January 31, 2018
Past industry returns predict the cross section of industry returns, and this predictability is at its strongest at the one-month horizon (Moskowitz and Grinblatt 1999). We show that the cross section of factor returns shares this property, and that industry momentum stems from factor momentum. Factor momentum is transmitted into the cross section of industry returns via variation in industries’ factor loadings. Momentum in industry-neutral factors spans industry momentum; factor momentum is therefore not a by-product of industry momentum. Factor momentum is a pervasive property of all factors; we show that factor momentum can be captured by trading almost any set of factors. Factor momentum does not resolve the puzzle of momentum in individual stock returns; it significantly deepens this puzzle.

The Conservative Formula: Quantitative Investing Made Easy
Pim van Vliet and David Blitz (Robeco Asset Management)
March 21, 2018
We propose a conservative investment formula which selects 100 stocks based on three criteria: low return volatility, high net payout yield, and strong price momentum. We show that this simple formula gives investors full and efficient exposure to the most important factor premiums, and thus effectively summarizes half a century of empirical asset pricing research into one easy to implement investment strategy. With a compounded annual return of 15.1 percent since 1929, the conservative formula outperforms the market by a wide margin. It reduces downside risk and shows a positive return over every decade. The formula is also strong in European, Japanese and Emerging stock markets, and beats a wide range of other strategies based on size, value, quality, and momentum combinations. The formula is designed to be a practically useful tool for a broad range of investors and addresses academic concerns about ‘p-hacking’ by using three simple criteria, which do not even require accounting data.

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