Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Momentum Effects and Firm Fundamentals

The more Long Chen's work I read, the more I like it. I recently mentioned one of his pieces on a new 3-factor model. Here's another, on the momentum effect, titled "Myopic Extrapolation, Price Momentum, and Price Reversal." In it, he links the well-known momentum effect to patterns in firm fundamentals. Here's the abstract:
The momentum profits are realized through price adjustments reflecting shocks to firm fundamentals after portfolio formation. In particular, there is a consistent cross - sectional trend, from short-term momentum to long-term reversal, that happens to earnings shocks, to revisions to expected future cash flows at all horizons, and to prices. The evidence suggests that investors myopically extrapolate current earnings shocks as if they were long lasting, which are then incorporated into prices and cash flow forecasts. Accordingly, the realized momentum profits can be completely explained by the cross - sectional variation of contemporaneous earnings shocks or revisions to future cash flows. Importantly, these cash flow variables dominate the lagged returns in explaining the realized momentum profits. As a result, the realized momentum profits represent cash flow news that has little to do with the ex ante expected returns. In fact, the ex ante expected momentum profits are significantly negative.
So, in essence, he finds that investors ignore mean-reverting patterns in firm earnings, and over-weight recent earnings shocks.

Very nice.

On an unrelated note, the Unknown Family will be traveling the next few days for a family reunion in West Virginia (the Unknown Wife's father grew up their, and that fork in the family tree has a get-together every year). So, unless I schedule a few pieces to post automatically, posting will likely be slim for the next few days.