Investor sentiment in 2021 can be summed-up in one word: “concerned”. Generally speaking, investors know there are only a handful of events that can spark a turning point in a market cycle — and in 2021 most expected tapering to be one of them.
Much has been written about the spectacular comeback of Value stocks. But has this also been reflected in the credit market? The steep rise of the Value factor from the Axioma Factor-based Fixed Income Risk Model over the past 14 months seems to suggest that the answer is yes.
After experiencing a period of steadily rising returns from 1982 through 2006, investing in “cheap” stocks has been out of favor since 2007. Granted, a few good quarters for the Value factor have popped up every now and again, but so have strings of poor performance, yielding a return of roughly 0% over the 13-year period ended September 2020.
The recent release of the Axioma Macroeconomic Projection Equity Factor Risk Model highlights the risk and return impact of economic variables on equity strategies. Quantitatively driven portfolios are usually constructed (and invested in) without considering the potential impact of big moves in economic variables.
The impact of Robinhood at al did not escape the attention of our risk models. The roles of Liquidity and Leverage as risk factors in the Axioma fundamental models has been in full display on the heels of the recent trading frenzy which sent previously unpopular stocks soaring in January, only to tumble in early February. Other typically “compensated” style factors, such as Volatility and Size, also had a significant reaction, resulting in an overall increase in style factor risk.
The US market soared in November, producing one of the highest monthly returns since at least 1982. With regard to factor returns, the month started out fairly slowly. But things changed on November 9, when it started to look like the pandemic could end someday.
November 9 was a profoundly bad day for Momentum. In most regions we cover closely, Momentum’s return for the day was between seven and 10 standard deviations below expectations, and the return was the worst of any day going back to 1999, according to Qontigo’s medium-horizon models.
Active strategies that tilt on dividend yield have suffered mightily during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dividend yield ETFs, for example, have strongly underperformed the broader US market, as investors lost confidence in companies’ ability to pay dividends.