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Biases in Decomposing Holding-Period Portfolio Returns


  • Weimin Liu
  • Norman Strong


A growing number of studies in finance decompose multiperiod portfolio returns into a series of single-period returns, using these to test asset pricing models or market efficiency or to evaluate the returns to investment strategies such as those based on momentum, size, and value--growth. We provide a formal analysis of the decomposition method. Crucially, we argue and present empirical evidence that some methods researchers use involve portfolios that nobody would seriously consider ex ante, that transactions costs associated with such portfolios make them poor investment vehicles, and that they can lead to spurious statistical inferences. The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Weimin Liu & Norman Strong, 2008. "Biases in Decomposing Holding-Period Portfolio Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(5), pages 2243-2274, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:21:y:2008:i:5:p:2243-2274

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    Cited by:

    1. Fletcher, Jonathan, 2011. "Do optimal diversification strategies outperform the 1/N strategy in U.K. stock returns?," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 375-385.
    2. Marshall, Ben R. & Visaltanachoti, Nuttawat, 2010. "The Other January Effect: Evidence against market efficiency?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2413-2424, October.
    3. Bilinski, Pawel & Liu, Weimin & Strong, Norman, 2012. "Does liquidity risk explain low firm performance following seasoned equity offerings?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 2770-2785.
    4. Patel, Vinay & Michayluk, David, 2016. "Return predictability following different drivers of large price changes," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 202-214.
    5. repec:eee:finana:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:211-224 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Fletcher, Jonathan, 2014. "Benchmark models of expected returns in U.K. portfolio performance: An empirical investigation," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 30-46.
    7. J. Davies & Jonathan Fletcher & Andrew Marshall, 2015. "Testing index-based models in U.K. stock returns," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 337-362, August.
    8. Zhong, Angel & Limkriangkrai, Manapon & Gray, Philip, 2014. "Anomalies, risk adjustment and seasonality: Australian evidence," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 207-218.
    9. Jonathan Fletcher & Patricia Ntozi-Obwale, 2009. "Exploring the Conditional Performance of U.K. Unit Trusts," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 21-44, August.
    10. Kingsley Fong & David R. Gallagher & Adrian D. Lee, 2009. "The Value of Alpha Forecasts in Portfolio Construction," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 34(1), pages 97-121, June.
    11. Vinay Patel, 2015. "Price Discovery in US and Australian Stock and Options Markets," PhD Thesis, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, number 27, january-d.
    12. repec:eee:finana:v:55:y:2018:i:c:p:23-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Fletcher, Jonathan & Basu, Devraj, 2016. "An examination of the benefits of dynamic trading strategies in U.K. closed-end funds," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 109-118.
    14. Jan Klobucnik & Daniel Kreutzmann & Soenke Sievers & Stefan Kanne, 2012. "To buy or not to buy? The value of contradictory analyst signals," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 03-03, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    15. Stefan Kanne & Jan Klobucnik & Daniel Kreutzmann & Soenke Sievers, 2012. "To buy or not to buy? The value of contradictory analyst signals," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 26(4), pages 405-428, December.
    16. Chau Duong & Gioia Pescetto & Daniel Santamaria, 2014. "How value-glamour investors use financial information: UK evidence of investors' confirmation bias," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(6), pages 524-549, June.

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