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515 Research Articles

Modeling the Equity Factor Zoo to Near Death

Which equity factors truly explain stock returns, and what group of them constitute the best model? In their November 2019 paper entitled “Bayesian Solutions for the Factor Zoo: We Just Ran Two Quadrillion Models”, Svetlana Bryzgalova, Jiantao Huang and Christian Julliard present a Bayesian estimation and model selection method for pricing of stock portfolios that… Keep Reading

Compressing the Equity Factor Zoo

The number of published factors significantly explaining variation in individual stock returns has grown steadily over time into the hundreds, inviting the term “factor zoo.” Are all these factors important when applied in combination? In their October 2023 paper entitled “Factor Zoo”, Alexander Swade, Matthias Hanauer, Harald Lohre and David Blitz assess compressibility of the… Keep Reading

Sifting the Factor Zoo

The body of U.S. stock market research offers hundreds of factors (the factor zoo) to explain and predict return differences across stocks. Is there a reduced set of factors that most accurately and consistently captures fundamental equity risks? In their March 2018 paper entitled “Searching the Factor Zoo”, Soosung Hwang and Alexandre Rubesam employ Bayesian inference to test all… Keep Reading

Emptying the Equity Factor Zoo?

As described in “Quantifying Snooping Bias in Published Anomalies”, anomalies published in leading journals offer substantial opportunities for exploitation on a gross basis. What profits are left after accounting for portfolio maintenance costs? In their November 2017 paper entitled “Accounting for the Anomaly Zoo: A Trading Cost Perspective”, Andrew Chen and Mihail Velikov examine the combined… Keep Reading

Factor Zoo Shrinking?

How does the U.S. stock return factor zoo, corrected for data snooping bias, change over time? In their March 2023 draft paper entitled “Useful Factors Are Fewer Than You Think”, Bin Chen, Qiyang Yu and Guofu Zhou tackle this question by asking: How many of 207 published factors remain significant after controlling for false discovery… Keep Reading

Bringing Order to the Factor Zoo?

From a purely statistical perspective, how many factors are optimal for explaining both time series and cross-sectional variations in stock anomaly/stock returns, and how do these statistical factors relate to stock/firm characteristics? In their July 2018 paper entitled “Factors That Fit the Time Series and Cross-Section of Stock Returns”, Martin Lettau and Markus Pelger search for the… Keep Reading

Taming the Factor Zoo?

How should researchers address the issue of aggregate/cumulative data snooping bias, which derives from many researchers exploring approximately the same data over time? In the October 2014 version of their paper entitled “. . . and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns”, Campbell Harvey, Yan Liu and Heqing Zhu examine this issue with respect to studies… Keep Reading

Better Four-factor Model of Stock Returns?

Are the widely used Fama-French three-factor model (market, size, book-to-market ratio) and the Carhart four-factor model (adding momentum) the best factor models of stock returns? In their September 2014 paper entitled “Digesting Anomalies: An Investment Approach”, Kewei Hou, Chen Xue and Lu Zhang construct the q-factor model comprised of market, size, investment and profitability factors and test its ability to predict… Keep Reading

Perfect Factor Model of U.S. Stock Returns?

How many factors are optimal for modeling future returns of individual stocks? How do these factors relate to conventionally used factors (market, size, value, momentum, investment, profitability…)? In the June 2016 version of their paper entitled “Multifactor Models and the APT: Evidence from a Broad Cross-Section of Stock Returns”, Ilan Cooper, Paulo Maio and Dennis Philip derive… Keep Reading

Best Factor Model of U.S. Stock Returns?

Which equity factors from among those included in the most widely accepted factor models are really important? In their October 2019 paper entitled “Winners from Winners: A Tale of Risk Factors”, Siddhartha Chib, Lingxiao Zhao, Dashan Huang and Guofu Zhou examine what set of equity factors from among the 12 used in four models with… Keep Reading