Aqr's Momentum Funds (a) Essays

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1. What is a momentum investment strategy? Momentum is the phenomenon that stocks which have performed well in the past will continue to perform well in the future, and that stocks which have performed poorly will continue to perform poorly. Therefore a momentum investment strategy is to invest in short term portfolios that have high returns in the past, and to short those with low returns over the same period. 2. Analyze these portfolios. By analyzing monthly returns of all 10 portfolios from 1927-2012 and 2000-2012, we can see that there is a general pattern that stocks with higher momentum have higher return, which confirms the momentum strategy. The average return of stocks with high minus low momentum is a little lower than that…show more content…
One is that since the ten portfolios are grouped according to their performance, portfolios are usually made up by similar stocks and thus cannot diversify the risks. The other is that both skewness and kurtosis have effect on the risk a stock bears and thus cause the pattern of variance. (Results are shown in Exhibit A) 3. Does momentum work? In general, we could say that the momentum does work. To justify whether it works, we first ran a regression on the Three-Factor Fama French Model (Market Excess Return, SMB and HML) from Jan 1972 to Dec 2012 respectively for the High-, 5-, Low-, and High-Minus-Low Portfolio. Then, we added momentum into the model to create a four-factor model (Momentum, Market Excess Return, SMB and HML) for the same period on a monthly basis. (See Exhibit 2). The absolute value of intercept (alpha) in the Three-Factor Model for Low Portfolio is 1.1159, 0.1347 for 5 Portfolio, 0.6354 for High Portfolio, and 1.4591 for High-Minus-Low Portfolio. They all are larger than those in the Four-Factor Model, given 0.2081 for Low Portfolio, 0.0961 for 5 Portfolio, 0.0412 for High Portfolio, and 0.0402 for High-Minus-Low Portfolio. Therefore, alpha, a measurement of deviation from the model, is much smaller in the Four-Factor Model than in the Three-Factor Model. It shows that the Four-Factor Model fits the real situation better. In addition, we could see that R-Square (percentage of data that can be explained by the model) for the
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