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Size matters! How position sizing determines risk and return of technical timing strategies

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  • Scholz, Peter

Abstract

The application of a technical trading rule, which just provides long and short signals, requires the investor to decide upon the exposure to stake in each trade. Although this position sizing (or money management) crucially affects the risk and return characteristics, recent academic literature has largely ignored this effect, leaving reported results incomparable. This work systematically analyzes the impact of position sizing on timing strategies and clarifies the relation to the Kelly criterion, which proposes to bet relative fractions from the remaining gambling budget. Both erratic as well as different relative positions, i.e. fixed proportions of the remaining portfolio value, are compared for simple moving average trading rules. The simulation of parametrized return series allows systematically varying those asset price properties, which are most in uential on timing results: drift, volatility, and autocorrelation. The study reveals that the introduction of relative position sizing has a severe impact on trading results compared to erratic positions. In contrast to a standard Kelly framework, however, an optimal position size does not exist. Interestingly, smaller trading fractions deliver the highest risk-adjusted returns in most scenarios.

Suggested Citation

  • Scholz, Peter, 2012. "Size matters! How position sizing determines risk and return of technical timing strategies," CPQF Working Paper Series 31, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Centre for Practical Quantitative Finance (CPQF).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cpqfwp:31
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Inklaar, Robert & Koetter, Michael & Noth, Felix, 2012. "Who's afraid of big bad banks? Bank competition, SME, and industry growth," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 197, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    2. Dietmar Harhoff & Elisabeth Mueller & John Reenen, 2014. "What are the Channels for Technology Sourcing? Panel Data Evidence from German Companies," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 204-224, March.
    3. Boeing, Philipp & Mueller, Elisabeth & Sandner, Philipp, 2012. "What makes Chinese firms productive? Learning from indigenous and foreign sources of knowledge," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 196, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    4. Alexander Libman & Vladimir Kozlov & André Schultz, 2012. "Roving Bandits in Action: Outside Option and Governmental Predation in Autocracies," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 526-562, November.
    5. Böing, Philipp & Müller, Elisabeth, 2012. "Technological Capabilities of Chinese Enterprises: Who is Going to Compete Abroad?," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62081, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Kelly criterion; money management; parameterized simulation; position sizing; technical analysis; technical trading; timing strategy;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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