Sunday, May 15, 2011

US weekly portfolio recommendation (from 16, May 2011)

Important update: Up to now, I have recommended a long-only low-volatility portfolio with equal weights in its composition. From now, I will recommend the same long-only portfolio but with minimum-variance weights in its composition. These weights attain even better risk-adjusted returns.
Moreover, I will add another portfolio recommendation that allows for short sales. In particular, I will recommend a “130:30” low-volatility portfolio, which is long 130% and short 30%, also with minimum-variance weights.
For more details about the implementation of these strategies, please read the following post: Some efficient low-volatility portfolios: the minimum-variance policy.
The long-only and the 130:30 low-volatility portfolios recommended for this week, with their corresponding weights, can be found in this file: US_weights_20110516.csv

Although I recommend a portfolio composition every week, it is desirable to maintain this composition for several weeks (for instance a quarter year), and then rebalance with the new composition.
The current long-only portfolio composition is very similar to that of previous quarter: three more stocks (out of 20) have been added. The turnover is 18% (due to the portfolio growth and the purchase of the three companies). On the other hand, the turnover of the current 130:30 portfolio is a bit larger: 24%.
Regarding the performance, over the last year (52 weeks), the long-only strategy attained a volatility of 10% (versus 15% of the S&P 500). The volatility of the 130:30 strategy is even better: 8.5%.

The weekly 95%-VaR of the long-only portfolio was 1.9% (versus 3.8% of the S&P 500). The corresponding VaR for the 130:30 portfolio was 1.8%.

The last year annualized Sharpe ratio of the long-only strategy was 2.86 (after proportional transaction costs of 40 bps were discounted). On the other hand, the SR of the 130:30 strategy was 2.99. Finally, the SR of the S&P 500 was 1.28 over the same period.

The next graph shows the risk-return space for the three considered portfolios.

The red point represents the mean return and volatility of the long-only portfolio over the past 52 weeks. On the other hand, the green point represents the 130:30 portfolio, and finally the blue point represents the S&P 500 index over the same 52 past weeks.

We can see the two low-volatility portfolios have better mean returns than that of the S&P 500, and also their volatilities are better. In this case, we say the low-vol portfolios dominate the index.

I have computed the same risk-return space for every week over the last year, using the same 52-weeks historical method to estimate the mean returns and the volatilities. The long-only and 130:30 portfolios attained a higher return than that of the S&P 500 (94% and 73% of the time, respectively). Moreover, the volatility of both low-vol portfolios was always less than that of the S&P 500.

As a summary, the low-volatility strategies dominate the market index most of the time, showing they attain consistently better risk-adjusted returns.

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