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Upside and Downside Risks in Momentum Returns

Author

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  • Victoria Dobrynskaya

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

Abstract

I provide a novel risk-based explanation for the profitability of momentum strategies. I show that the past winners and the past losers are differently exposed to the upside and downside market risks. Winners systematically have higher relative downside market betas and lower relative upside market betas than losers. As a result, the winner-minus-loser momentum portfolios are exposed to extra downside market risk, but hedge against the upside market risk. Such asymmetry in the upside and downside risks is a mechanical consequence of rebalancing momentum portfolios. But it is unattractive for an investor because both positive relative downside betas and negative relative upside betas carry positive risk premiums according to the Downside-Risk CAPM. Hence, the high returns to momentum strategies are a mere compensation for their upside and downside risks. The Downside Risk-CAPM is a robust unifying explanation of returns to momentum portfolios, constructed for different geographical and asset markets, and it outperforms alternative multi-factor models.

Suggested Citation

  • Victoria Dobrynskaya, 2015. "Upside and Downside Risks in Momentum Returns," HSE Working papers WP BRP 50/FE/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:50/fe/2015
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    File URL: http://www.hse.ru/data/2015/11/24/1081666297/50FE2015.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jean-Sébastien Fontaine & René Garcia & Sermin Gungor, 2015. "Funding Liquidity, Market Liquidity and the Cross-Section of Stock Returns," Staff Working Papers 15-12, Bank of Canada.
    2. 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, June.
    3. Pastor, Lubos & Stambaugh, Robert F., 2003. "Liquidity Risk and Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 642-685, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Victoria Dobrynskaya, 2017. "Dynamic Momentum and Contrarian Trading," HSE Working papers WP BRP 61/FE/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    momentum; downside risk; downside beta; upside risk; upside beta; Downside-Risk CAPM;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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