Volatility continues spiraling downwards as the factor seemingly marches back to the beat of its old drum. As we highlighted in last week’s Factor Spotlight, Volatility spent almost the whole of 2020 skyrocketing with positive performance; however, performance since February 2021 would show that the factor may be coming back down to earth.
Volatility has spent almost the whole of 2020 terrorizing investor portfolios as it soared on a rocket ship of positive performance. From January 2020 to its peak in February 2021, we saw this factor rise by almost 20% on a cumulative basis.
Last week, we discussed how much the market's recent drawdown was driven by a factor rotation away from the cyclical factors (Volatility, Market Sensitivity, & Momentum) and into the more defensive factors of Size, Value, & Profitability. Though we've seen a market bounceback in the past week, movements continue to be heavily correlated with the factor rotation, as shown below.
In our May 11th Factor Spotlight, we highlighted that the Oil & Gas sector and Oil commodity factors were being flagged as Overbought in both our US and Macro models. We also discussed the potential readthrough to the Value factor, which was the most correlated factor to Oil & Gas at the time.
In the intervening weeks, these factors have seen a sharp selloff on a cumulative and normalized...
Over the past several weeks, we've watched normalized factor return for Medium-Term Momentum revert from a peak of +1.97 standard deviations above the mean to -0.81 SD below the mean on April 19th, with a curve that appears to be gradually flattening.
As we've discussed in previous blogs, there are various reasons why portfolio managers need to monitor and adjust the factor risk of their portfolio. Much of the time, it's prudently done to avoid unknown or unintended exposures. Other times, the emergence of a new factor risk in a portfolio can be evidence of style drift that a PM doesn't want. Sometimes, a manager has a macro view that leads...