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Profiting from Mean-Reverting Yield Curve Trading Strategies

  • Krishna Ramaswamy
  • Choong-Tze Chua
  • Winston T.H. Koh

A large class of fixed income trading strategies focuses on opportunities offered by the interest rate term structure. This paper studies a set of yield curve trading strategies that are based on the view that the yield curve mean-reverts to an unconditional curve. These mean-reverting trading strategies exploit deviations in the level, slope and curvature of the yield curve from historical norms. We consider cash-neutral trades with one-month holding periods. Some mean-reverting strategies were found to be highly profitable, and outperform, on a risk-adjusted basis before transaction costs, alternative strategies of an investment in the Lehman Brothers Bond index (by up to 5.9 times) and an investment in the S&P index (by up to 5.1 times). Even after accounting for transaction costs, some of these strategies are still significantly more profitable than the benchmarks. Furthermore, transaction costs can be reduced substantially by changing the trading frequency or through structured derivative trades. We found evidence that market efficiency has improved, and the scope for excess returns has diminished since the late 1980s

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings with number 142.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:142
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  1. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "A Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 385-407, March.
  2. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix," NBER Technical Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1985. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 1669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Pelaez, Rolando F., 1997. "Riding the yield curve: Term premiums and excess returns," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 113-119.
  6. Balduzzi, Pierluigi & Bertola, Giuseppe & Foresi, Silverio, 1997. "A model of target changes and the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 223-249, July.
  7. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(1), pages 173-224.
  8. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
  9. Drakos, Konstantinos, 2001. "Fixed income excess returns and time to maturity," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 431-442.
  10. Vasicek, Oldrich, 1977. "An equilibrium characterization of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 177-188, November.
  11. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1981. "A Re-examination of Traditional Hypotheses about the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(4), pages 769-99, September.
  12. Hamburger, Michael J & Platt, Elliott N, 1975. "The Expectations Hypothesis and the Efficiency of the Treasury Bill Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(2), pages 190-99, May.
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