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White Paper

Certainly Uncertain

We certainly find ourselves in uncertain times – but how uncertain are they? We show macro uncertainty is currently high versus history. We also address whether elevated macro uncertainty is likely to persist, or if we should instead expect a return to the low uncertainty environment. Lastly, we address the implications for investors, both in terms of possible returns to traditional assets, and as to what alternatives might prosper or decline in such an environment.

White Paper

Economic Trend

“Economic trend” capitalizes on the tendency for new information to have a persistent impact on asset prices by positioning in each market on the basis of trends in macroeconomic fundamentals. The strategy has realized consistently attractive risk-adjusted returns over a 50+ year sample, and performance is pervasive across both markets and measures. While it is a close relative of price trend-following, the two strategies are highly complementary.

Alternative Thinking

Should Your Portfolio Protection Work Fast or Slow?

2022’s drawdown provides a clear picture for the types of strategies that can actually deliver in a “slow burn” market downturn. While some options-based strategies have generated positive returns, in many cases they have disappointed. In contrast, trend following strategies have generally posted very strong returns. Looking ahead, many of the macro conditions that have been advantageous to trend following are still in place—and have historically tended to persist.

White Paper

Trend-Following: Why Now? A Macro Perspective

Trend following is having a banner 2022 amidst a year of turmoil for traditional portfolios, but investors exploring an allocation to trend-following may be wondering if they are “late to the trade,” while also anchoring their expectations to the lean 2010s. We show that both the macroeconomic picture and empirical evidence suggest that strong performance for trend-following may persist, making it a potentially valuable source of diversifying returns during a challenging time for the rest of investors’ portfolios.

Quick Takes

Quick Clips: New Rules of Diversification

Hear from AQR's Portfolio Solutions Group on the the prospects for stock and bond markets, the impact of macroeconomic risks on a range of investments, and the use of diversifying investments to fortify portfolios.

Alternative Thinking

New Rules of Diversification

During the first half of 2022, equity markets tumbled around 20% from their peak, with losses on typical stock/ bond portfolios almost as large. More worryingly, this type of downturn may be unfamiliar to many younger investors: with inflation still high, there is little prospect of central banks riding to the market’s rescue. We assess the prospects for stock and bond markets after the H1 selloff, consider the impact of macroeconomic risks on a range of investments, and explore the use of diversifying investments to fortify portfolios.

White Paper

When Stock-Bond Diversification Fails

The events of 2020 to 2021 have increased uncertainty around the future path of inflation. We review how different inflationary outcomes can impact investor portfolios and evaluate what assets and strategies may enhance portfolio resilience to inflation.

White Paper

Inflation Outlook: the Macro, the Micro, the Transitory

Financial markets have had a relatively muted reaction to the recent bout of higher than expected inflation. We assess what might explain markets’ sanguine response. We explain why we believe there are factors suggesting a return to low inflation readings is unlikely in the near term, and what the investment implications might be of such a scenario.

White Paper

What Drives Bond Yields?

In this overview of the various factors that influence government bond yields, we show that both in theory and in the data, non-monetary policy factors drive significant variation in yields, particularly at longer maturities. Despite the exceptionally low yield environments we have witnessed, fundamentals continue to drive bond markets.

Alternative Thinking

Fire and Ice: Confronting the Twin Perils of Inflation and Deflation

The COVID-19 pandemic and the responses to it by governments, central banks and consumers have unleashed both disinflationary and inflationary forces, but we do not know which forces will win over the longer term. We explore the historical inflation sensitivities of a range of different investments and present the benefits of both risk-balanced asset allocations and dynamic directional strategies to prepare for uncertain times.