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Information ratio analysis of momentum strategies

  • Fernando F. Ferreira
  • A. Christian Silva
  • Ju-Yi Yen
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    In the past 20 years, momentum or trend following strategies have become an established part of the investor toolbox. We introduce a new way of analyzing momentum strategies by looking at the information ratio (IR, average return divided by standard deviation). We calculate the theoretical IR of a momentum strategy, and show that if momentum is mainly due to the positive autocorrelation in returns, IR as a function of the portfolio formation period (look-back) is very different from momentum due to the drift (average return). The IR shows that for look-back periods of a few months, the investor is more likely to tap into autocorrelation. However, for look-back periods closer to 1 year, the investor is more likely to tap into the drift. We compare the historical data to the theoretical IR by constructing stationary periods. The empirical study finds that there are periods/regimes where the autocorrelation is more important than the drift in explaining the IR (particularly pre-1975) and others where the drift is more important (mostly after 1975). We conclude our study by applying our momentum strategy to 100 plus years of the Dow-Jones Industrial Average. We report damped oscillations on the IR for look-back periods of several years and model such oscilations as a reversal to the mean growth rate.

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    File URL: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1402.3030
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    Paper provided by arXiv.org in its series Papers with number 1402.3030.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2014
    Date of revision: Jul 2014
    Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1402.3030
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