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513 Research Articles

Equity Factor Census

Should investors trust academic equity factor research? In their February 2019 paper entitled “A Census of the Factor Zoo”, Campbell Harvey and Yan Liu announce a comprehensive database of hundreds of equity factors from top academic journals and working papers through January 2019, including a link to citation and download information. They distinguish among six… Keep Reading

Factor Models with Frequent Value and Profitability Updates

What combination of factors best predicts stock market returns at a monthly frequency? In the October 2015 draft of their paper entitled “Comparing Asset Pricing Models”, Francisco Barillas and Jay Shanken apply a Bayesian procedure to compare all possible pricing models based on subsets of a given set of pricing factors. They consider a total of ten factors: market, two versions… Keep Reading

Factor/Smart Beta Investing Unsustainably Faddish?

Does transient factor popularity drive factor/smart beta portfolio performance by pushing valuations of associated stocks up and down? In their February 2016 paper entitled “How Can ‘Smart Beta’ Go Horribly Wrong?”, Robert Arnott, Noah Beck, Vitali Kalesnik and John West examine degrees to which factor hedge portfolio and stock factor tilt (smart beta) backtests are attractive due… Keep Reading

Global Smart Beta Strategy Diversification

Does global diversification improve smart beta (equity factor) investing strategies? In their September 2017 paper entitled “Diversification Strikes Again: Evidence from Global Equity Factors”, Jay Binstock, Engin Kose and Michele Mazzoleni examine effects of global diversification on equity factor hedge portfolios. They consider five factors: High-Minus-low Value (HML) – book equity divided by market capitalization. Small-Minus-Big Size (SMB) – market… Keep Reading

Sector vs. Factor U.S. Stock Diversification?

Which is better, sector-based or factor-based stock investing? In their June 2015 paper entitled “Factor-Based v. Industry-Based Asset Allocation: The Contest”, Marie Briere and Ariane Szafarz compare the attractiveness of sector-based and factor-based U.S. stock allocations. From Kenneth French’s data library, they extract return series for 10 sectors and five factors (size, value, profitability, investment and momentum). They expand the factor set to 10… Keep Reading

Return Acceleration More Effective than Momentum?

Does the rate of change of return momentum (return acceleration) usefully predict stock returns? In their August 2015 paper entitled “The Acceleration Effect and Gamma Factor in Asset Pricing”, Diego Ardila-Alvarez, Zalan Forro and Didier Sornette compare the effectiveness of return acceleration (difference between returns for the last six months and the preceding six months) and return momentum as stock return… Keep Reading

Equity Factor Time Series Momentum

In their July 2019 paper entitled “Momentum-Managed Equity Factors”, Volker Flögel, Christian Schlag and Claudia Zunft test exploitation of positive first-order autocorrelation (time series, absolute or intrinsic momentum) in monthly excess returns of seven equity factor portfolios: Market (MKT). Size – small minus big market capitalizations (SMB). Value – high minus low book-to-market ratios (HML)…. Keep Reading

Expected Investment Growth as Stock Return Predictor

Do stocks with expectations of high capital expenditures (growth opportunities) outperform those with expectations of low capital expenditures? In their December 2016 paper entitled “Expected Investment Growth and the Cross Section of Stock Returns”, Jun Li and Huijun Wang examine the power of expected investment growth (EIG) to predict cross-sectional stock returns. They construct EIG for each stock… Keep Reading

Critiquing the Five-factor Model of Stock Returns

Is the recent Fama-French augmentation of their classic three-factor (market, size, book-to-market) model of stock returns with profitability and investment factors a major advance? In their November 2016 paper entitled “Five Concerns with the Five-Factor Model”, David Blitz,  Matthias Hanauer, Milan Vidojevic and Pim van Vliet identify five concerns regarding the five-factor model. Based on empirical and theoretical (rationale)… Keep Reading

Recent Weaknesses of Factor Investing

How have value, quality, low-volatility and momentum equity factors, and combinations of these factors, performed in recent years. In their October 2020 paper entitled “Equity Factor Investing: Historical Perspective of Recent Performance”, Benoit Bellone, Thomas Heckel, François Soupé and Raul Leote de Carvalho review and put into context recent performances of these these factors/combinations as… Keep Reading