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Diversification, Volatility, and Surprising Alpha

Adrian Banner, Robert Fernholz, Vassilios Papathanakos, Johannes Ruf and David Schofield

Papers from arXiv.org

Abstract: It has been widely observed that capitalization-weighted indexes can be beaten by surprisingly simple, systematic investment strategies. Indeed, in the U.S. stock market, equal-weighted portfolios, random-weighted portfolios, and other naive, non- optimized portfolios tend to outperform a capitalization-weighted index over the long term. This outperformance is generally attributed to beneficial factor exposures. Here, we provide a deeper, more general explanation of this phenomenon by decomposing portfolio log-returns into an average growth and an excess growth component. Using a rank-based empirical study we argue that the excess growth component plays the major role in explaining the outperformance of naive portfolios. In particular, individual stock growth rates are not as critical as is traditionally assumed.

Date: 2018-09
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