AgPa #45: Factor Investing in Private Debt

Investing with Style in Liquid Private Debt (2022)
Thomas Mählmann, Galina Sukonnik
Financial Analysts Journal 78(3), URL

This week’s AGNOSTIC Paper is yet another out-of-sample test of the Momentum and Value factor. The authors apply the factors within the relatively new asset class of private debt. More specifically, for “[…] loans to non-investment grade issuers, commonly known as leveraged loans.” This is obviously not my main area of expertise, but I learned from the paper that there is quite some trading of such loans in private secondary markets. Implementing a factor strategy for leveraged loans is obviously more complicated than for equities, but this is exactly what makes this study so interesting.

  • Private debt improves multi-asset portfolios
  • Value and Momentum are profitable within private debt

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AgPa #42: Global Factors since 1800

Global factor premiums (2021)
Guido Baltussen, Laurens Swinkels, Pim van Vliet
Journal of Financial Economics 124(3), 1128-1154, URL

This week’s AGNOSTIC Paper is another out-of-sample test of the major factors and goes even further back in time than the last one. The authors examine the major factor premiums among equity indices, government bond indices, currencies, and commodities in a sample that ranges from December 31, 1799 to December 31, 2016.

  • Momentum, Value, and Low-Risk “worked” globally, in different asset classes, and out-of-sample
  • There is little evidence for factor decay

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AgPa #7: Spotify Streaming and Stock Returns

Music sentiment and stock returns around the world (2021)
Alex Edmans, Adrian Fernandez-Perez, Alexandre Garel, Ivan Indriawan
Journal of Financial Economics, In Press, Corrected Proof, URL

This week’s AGNOSTIC Paper examines the role of music sentiment in the stock market. What sounds like statistical hocus-pocus is part of an important question. Do other factors than rational information drive stock markets?

I like the paper for its creative use of alternative data and its clean methodology. But to be honest, I was somewhat skeptical when I first heard about it. However, the authors present an intuitive economic rationale and rigorously test their hypotheses in various robustness checks. The results are quite interesting…

  • Music sentiment is related to stock market returns
  • Music sentiment is more important in less efficient markets
  • Music sentiment is also related to fund flows and bond market returns

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AgPa #5: The Return on Everything

The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870–2015 (2019)
Òscar Jordà, Katharina Knoll, Dmitry Kuvshinov, Moritz Schularick, Alan M. Taylor
The Quarterly Journal of Economics 134(3), 1225-1298, URL

This week’s AGNOSTIC Paper is a deep dive into financial history. The authors estimate the total return of equity, housing, bonds, and bills in 16 advanced economies for the period from 1870 to 2015.

The paper is very comprehensive and I focused on the issues that are (in my opinion) most interesting for investors:

  • Real returns on risky assets were 7-8% from 1870 to 2015
  • Returns on risky assets were substantial but volatile
  • Realized risk premiums fluctuate widely across time and countries

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