IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Two centuries of trend following

  • Y. Lemp\'eri\`ere
  • C. Deremble
  • P. Seager
  • M. Potters
  • J. P. Bouchaud
Registered author(s):

    We establish the existence of anomalous excess returns based on trend following strategies across four asset classes (commodities, currencies, stock indices, bonds) and over very long time scales. We use for our studies both futures time series, that exist since 1960, and spot time series that allow us to go back to 1800 on commodities and indices. The overall t-stat of the excess returns is $\approx 5$ since 1960 and $\approx 10$ since 1800, after accounting for the overall upward drift of these markets. The effect is very stable, both across time and asset classes. It makes the existence of trends one of the most statistically significant anomalies in financial markets. When analyzing the trend following signal further, we find a clear saturation effect for large signals, suggesting that fundamentalist traders do not attempt to resist "weak trends", but step in when their own signal becomes strong enough. Finally, we study the performance of trend following in the recent period. We find no sign of a statistical degradation of long trends, whereas shorter trends have significantly withered.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: Latest version
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by in its series Papers with number 1404.3274.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Apr 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1404.3274
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Clifford S. Asness & Tobias J. Moskowitz & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2013. "Value and Momentum Everywhere," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(3), pages 929-985, 06.
    2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates
      [This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    3. Harrison Hong & Jeremy C. Stein, 1999. "A Unified Theory of Underreaction, Momentum Trading, and Overreaction in Asset Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2143-2184, December.
    4. Clare, Andrew & Seaton, James & Smith, Peter N. & Thomas, Stephen, 2014. "Trend following, risk parity and momentum in commodity futures," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 1-12.
    5. De Long, J Bradford, et al, 1990. " Positive Feedback Investment Strategies and Destabilizing Rational Speculation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 379-95, June.
    6. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud & Rama Cont, 1998. "A Langevin approach to stock market fluctuations and crashes," Science & Finance (CFM) working paper archive 500027, Science & Finance, Capital Fund Management.
    8. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
    9. G. William Schwert, 2002. "Anomalies and Market Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 9277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-74, May.
    11. Szakmary, Andrew C. & Shen, Qian & Sharma, Subhash C., 2010. "Trend-following trading strategies in commodity futures: A re-examination," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 409-426, February.
    12. Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. " Does the Stock Market Rationally Reflect Fundamental Values?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 591-601, July.
    13. Smith, Vernon L & Suchanek, Gerry L & Williams, Arlington W, 1988. "Bubbles, Crashes, and Endogenous Expectations in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1119-51, September.
    14. Wyart, Matthieu & Bouchaud, Jean-Philippe, 2007. "Self-referential behaviour, overreaction and conventions in financial markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-24, May.
    15. De Bondt, Werner F M & Thaler, Richard, 1985. " Does the Stock Market Overreact?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-805, July.
    16. Kent Daniel & David Hirshleifer & Avanidhar Subrahmanyam, 1998. "Investor Psychology and Security Market Under- and Overreactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1839-1885, December.
    17. Hommes, Cars & Sonnemans, Joep & Tuinstra, Jan & van de Velden, Henk, 2008. "Expectations and bubbles in asset pricing experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 116-133, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1404.3274. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (arXiv administrators)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.