RONG, WU (2013) Equity Style Investing. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
Despite the well documented benefits of equity style investing in today’s financial markets, the academic view of the underlying cause for such benefits remains an ongoing debate. A number of theories have been proposed to explain why some asset classes earn better returns than others do under the same economic regimes. Rational finance links the outperformance of some stock groups to the equity characteristics that proxy for the common risk factors, behavioural finance, however, argues that mispricing resulting from irrational investor’s sentiment to fundamentals plays a key role. Meanwhile, a variety of business cycle variables have also suggested to contain information useful in explaining the expected stock returns. The observed style returns change all the time with predictable time-varying components, reflecting the structural and cyclical shocks to the macroeconomy.
Motivated by the current ongoing controversy of anomaly versus risk compensation over interpreting equity style premiums, this thesis investigates how firm characteristics and business cycle conditions function separately to affect the style return dynamics based on the size and value-growth categorisations. It adds to the extant literature by explicitly examining the relative importance of the common risk factors versus firm-specific information as driving sources in the divergent equity style returns in the U.K. market. By identifying the dominant driving force that determines the relative style performance, it provides a further dimension to the current debate regarding the sources of style premiums and offers the choice of corresponding style investing strategies.
The divergent style returns and its time-varying nature offer astute investors the opportunity to implement active style management to enhance portfolio returns. Motivated by the benefits of capitalising on such style return cyclicality and in particular the availability and popularity of Exchange Traded Funds based on market segments in leading financial markets as investment vehicle that offers low cost and high liquidity, this thesis examines a dynamic long-short tactical trading strategy by applying a binomial approach to focus on the rotation between pairs of equity styles. By answering key questions of whether equity style cycles exist in the U.K. market and whether the return dynamics of such style momentum strategy is distinct from the price and industry momentum effects, it contributes to the literature by providing valuable empirical evidence to compare with other studies in different economic and institutional environments.
In response to the increasing popularity of using macro information to aid optimal style selection for the quant circles in the investment community, building on the methodology of Brandt and Santa-Clara (2006), this thesis approximates a solution of a mean-variance multi-style investor’s optimal style investing problem incorporating the business cycle predictability. This approach is parsimonious as the optimal style weights are parameterised directly on a set of pervasive business cycle predictors. By exploring how the distributions of the expected style returns and the location or the shape of the optimal style allocations are affected by given shocks to the business cycles, this thesis contributes to the extant literature by demonstrating the transmission mechanism of how business cycle volatility affects equity style return volatility and in turn a mean-variance investor’s optimal style allocation.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Style investing, business cycle, asset allocation|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||31 May 2013 12:14|