Betting against beta (and gamma) using government bonds
Purportedly consistent with ?risk parity? (RP) asset allocation, recent studies document compelling ?low risk? trading strategies that exploit a persistently negative relation between Sharpe ratios (SRs) and maturity along the U.S. Treasury (UST) term structure. This paper extends this evidence on betting against beta with government bonds (BABgov) in four respects. First, out-of-sample tests suggest that excess returns may have waned somewhat recently and that the pattern seems most pronounced for USTs given data on ten other previously unexamined government bond markets. Second, BABgov ...
The term structure of the price of variance risk
We estimate the term structure of the price of variance risk (PVR), which helps distinguish between competing asset-pricing theories. First, we measure the PVR as proportional to the Sharpe ratio of short-term holding returns of delta-neutral index straddles; second, we estimate the PVR in a Heston (1993) stochastic-volatility model. In both cases, the estimation is performed separately for different maturities. We find the PVR is negative and decreases in absolute value with maturity; it is more negative and its term structure is steeper when volatility is high. These findings are ...
Global variance term premia and intermediary risk appetite
Sellers of variance swaps earn time-varying risk premia for their exposure to realized variance, the level of variance swap rates, and the slope of the variance swap curve. To measure risk premia, we estimate a dynamic term structure model that decomposes variance swap rates into expected variances and term premia. Empirically, we document a strong global factor structure in variance term premia across the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Japan. We further show that variance term premia are negatively correlated with the risk appetite of hedge funds, broker-dealers, and mutual funds. Our results ...
Term structures of asset prices and returns
We explore the term structures of claims to a variety of cash flows: U.S. government bonds (claims to dollars), foreign government bonds (claims to foreign currency), inflation-adjusted bonds (claims to the price index), and equity (claims to future equity indexes or dividends). Average term structures reflect the dynamics of the dollar pricing kernel, of cash flow growth, and of their interaction. We use simple models to illustrate how relationships between the two components can deliver term structures with a wide range of levels and shapes.
Equity Volatility Term Premia
Investors can buy volatility hedges on the stock market using variance swaps or VIX futures. One motivation for hedging volatility is its negative relationship with the stock market. When volatility increases, stock returns tend to decline contemporaneously, a result known as the leverage effect. In this post, we measure the cost of volatility hedging by decomposing the prices of variance swaps and VIX futures into volatility forecasts and estimates of expected returns (“equity volatility term premia”) from January 1996 to June 2020.
Does the Yield Curve Predict Output?
Does the yield curve have the ability to predict output and recessions? At some times and in certain places, of course! But many details are matters of dispute: When and where does the yield curve predict successfully, which aspects of the curve matter most, and which economic forces account for the predictive ability? Over the years, an increasingly sophisticated set of tools, both statistical and theoretical, have addressed these issues. For the US, an inverted yield curve, particularly when the spread between the yield on 10-year and 3-month Treasuries becomes negative, has been a robust ...
Horizon-Dependent Risk Aversion and the Timing and Pricing of Uncertainty
Inspired by experimental evidence, we amend the recursive utility model to let risk aversion decrease with the temporal horizon. Our pseudo-recursive preferences remain tractable and retain appealing features of the long-run risk framework, notably its success at explaining asset pricing moments. Calibrating the agents? preferences to explain the market returns observed in the data no longer implies an extreme preference for early resolutions of uncertainty and captures key puzzles in finance on the valuation and demand for risk at long maturities.
The Law of One Price in Equity Volatility Markets
Can option traders take a square root? Surprisingly, maybe not. This post shows that VIX futures prices exhibit significant deviations from their option-implied upper bounds—the square root of variance swap forward rates—thus violating the law of one price, a fundamental concept in economics and finance. The deviations widen during periods of market stress and predict the returns of VIX futures. Just as the stock market struggles with multiplication, the equity volatility market appears unable to take a square root at times.
Anxiety in the face of risk
We model an ?anxious? agent as one who is more risk averse with respect to imminent risks than with respect to distant risks. Based on a utility function that captures individual subjects? behavior in experiments, we provide a tractable theory relaxing the restriction of constant risk aversion across horizons and show that it generates rich implications. We first apply the model to insurance markets and explain the high premia for short-horizon insurance. Then, we show that costly delegated portfolio management, investment advice, and withdrawal fees emerge as endogenous features and ...
Equity Volatility Term Premia
This paper estimates the term-structure of volatility risk premia for the stock market. Realized variance term premia are increasing in systematic risk and predict variance swap returns. Implied volatility term premia are decreasing in risk initially, but then increase at a lag, predicting VIX futures returns. By modeling the logarithm of realized variance, the paper derives a closed-form relationship between the prices of variance swaps and VIX futures. The model provides accurate pricing and highlights periods of dislocation between the index options and VIX futures markets. Term premia ...