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Short-term stock selection model boosts performance Enhanced Indexing

11-12-2014 | Research | Michael Strating, Weili Zhou, CFA, Wilma de Groot, CFA Robeco Enhanced Indexing invests in global developed markets equities, and has a low tracking error against its benchmark, the MSCI World index. In recent years, performance has been strong. In this article we focus on one element that distinguishes Robeco’s strategy from those of others: our short-term stock selection model (SHOT).

The short-term stock selection model
The SHOrt-Term stock selection model (SHOT) was developed in 2007 as a stand-alone performance driver for a holding period of one to three months. It aims to distinguish factors not covered by the core stock selection model, which has an investment horizon of nine to twelve months. The model’s structure is similar to that of the core stock selection model: it combines variables into themes, which are combined into a final model ranking.

The Robeco short-term selection model (SHOT)
the-robeco-short-term-selection-model.jpg
Source: Robeco

The model identifies three themes: price reversal, liquidity and earnings revisions. They exploit market inefficiencies arising as a result of predictable patterns in investor behavior:

  • Price reversal. Academic literature shows that stocks with high recent returns tend to underperform stocks with low recent returns. This theme exploits the systematic overreaction of investors and works especially well in a turbulent market environment.
  • Liquidity. The SHOT model likes stocks that have had more attention in the past one to three months. Academic articles have documented that abnormal trading volumes are usually caused by investors with material, non-public information. This is usually positive for stock prices.
  • Earnings revisions. This theme exploits the empirical finding that stocks for which analysts have recently upgraded earnings forecasts tend to outperform, whereas those with negative revisions tend to underperform.

In brief, SHOT likes stocks that have recently experienced a strong drawdown, favorable short-term earnings revisions and increased attention from investors.

SHOT’s integration into quantitative equity strategies
In the investment process, we use the ranking of the core stock selection model as a starting point. Subsequently, we adjust this ranking - upwards or downwards - in accordance with the ranking produced by SHOT. In doing so, we apply a maximum adjustment of 20 percentage points.

Positive performance contribution since the start
The table below shows that the SHOT model performed well on a standalone basis since it was included in the model in March 2009. The model was able to separate the winners from the losers.

performance-top-bottom-and-top-minus.jpg

Besides strong performance, SHOT also offers diversification as the correlation with the core stock selection model has been around 20% since March 2009. The chart shows that the incorporation of the SHOT model has made a positive contribution to performance.

Cumulative log performance of the top-minus-bottom 20% of the stock selection model with and without integration of SHOT, March 2009 - December 2013
cumulative-log-performance.jpg
Source: Robeco. The graph does not represent returns of an actual portfolio. It depicts returns of securities as ranked by the Stock Selection Model, as used by the Quantitative Equities team. We assume a 3-month holding period. Securities ranked in the top or bottom quintile may or may not have been included in the actual portfolio. Results are shown gross of fees. Results would be reduced by application of fees and expenses incurred in the management of the account. Returns shown do not represent the results of actual trading. Actual results could have been different, and potentially lower than the hypothetical results that are presented.


SHOT makes the difference
Robeco Enhanced Indexing shows a strong investment performance.

track-record.jpg

Over the past five years, the integration of the short-term stock selection model (SHOT) in the investment process has contributed to this performance. Improving the timing of buy and sell decisions, SHOT differentiates Robeco’s strategy from other strategies with similar investment objectives.


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