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Alternative Thinking

2021 Capital Market Assumptions for Major Asset Classes

We update our estimates of medium-term (5- to 10-year) expected returns for major asset classes. We also discuss what investors should expect from the stock-bond correlation in the coming decade.

Perspective

Now There's Nothing Certain But Death

Over the last few years, we’ve built a considerable effort in tax-optimized investing. Admittedly, this was a little bit of a “if we build it, they will come” venture, given many taxable investors seem to ignore after-tax returns. Thus, it is gratifying to see my AQR colleagues win the Top Graham and Dodd Award for their research on tax optimization, a topic that I’ve long thought deserved a much more prominent place in asset management.

Data Set

Commodities for the Long Run: Index Level Data, Monthly

We have updated the data set for the paper “Commodities for the Long Run”, in which we analyze a novel data set of commodity futures prices going back to 1877, allowing us to show that returns of commodity futures indices have, on average, been positive over the long run. We update the data monthly.

Data Set

How Do Factor Premia Vary Over Time? A Century of Evidence, Factor Data Monthly

This is the updated data set related to the paper “How Do Factor Premia Vary Over Time? A Century of Evidence,” in which we examine four prominent factor premia – value, momentum, carry, and defensive – over a century from six asset classes.

Perspective

A Gut Punch

Sure, the last nearly three years have hurt, but at least the explanation was straightforward. A core part of our process, value, suffered. So when value rebounds, we will too, right? Well, not necessarily. To be clear, if value makes a prolonged major recovery, we certainly believe we will as well, but over short periods that doesn’t have to happen. Unfortunately, this is what we have experienced since the end of October. Regardless, it does not change my view one drop that going forward multi-factor investing is a darn good bet in a world that needs some darn good bets.

White Paper

(Car)Bon Voyage: The Road to Low Carbon Investment Portfolios

We discuss how an investment portfolio could dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, potentially even achieving a ‘net zero’ carbon footprint. We discuss the pros and cons of techniques to achieve carbon reduction goals, including security selection, shorting high carbon footprint companies, and trading instruments such as carbon offsets and carbon permits.

'20 Questions

2020 is almost over, but it has left many questions unanswered. This week, I’ll answer eleven of them in a not-so-fond farewell to the year. It will be forecast-free. If you want forecasts you can go to any news site or turn on any TV channel. Or wait in line anywhere. Happy New Year!

Working Paper

Does ESG Help or Hurt Returns?

Combining several large data sets, we compute the empirical ESG-efficient frontier and show the costs and benefits of responsible investing.

Not Your Average Economic Cycle

Market analysis is often based on comparisons with past economic cycles. This week, we look at why we should be cautious in drawing analogies to previous recessions and recoveries.

Working Paper

Modeling Corporate Bond Returns

We propose a new conditional factor model for corporate bond returns with four factors and time-varying factor loadings instrumented by observable bond characteristics. We find our factor model excels in describing the risks and returns of corporate bonds, improving over previously proposed models in the literature by a large margin.