Quantamentals - The Price is Right

Macquarie | October 29, 2013

In this paper we investigate whether stocks' current prices reflect "mispricing" or a reflection of their intrinsic value?

This is important as identifying between these competing hypotheses can aid investors in making rational decisions on whether to exploit the market's misunderstanding of the stocks' future potential or to avoid these companies as they are "cheap" or "expensive" for a genuine reason.

Quantamentals - The Price is Right [White Paper]


Identifying the Drivers of Stock Returns

Valuation models are commonly used by fundamental analyst; hence we employ a valuation based approach to explain the drivers of stock returns. We show that fundamentals matter more over longer than shorter investment horizons. For example, over a one-month horizon, valuation models explain just 3% of the stock returns, which increases to 9%, 17% and 25% as we increase the investment horizon to 3-, 6- and 12-month periods respectively.

Trading Mispricing: Is this an Alpha Signal?

We classify stock returns unexplained by the valuation model as „mispriced‟ and evaluate the efficacy of this signal. We find „mispriced‟ stocks deliver an IC of 3.8% or return of 5.1% pa, which is better than that for value factors. They also have low correlations to style factors like value and analyst sentiment. This makes it an attractive signal for systematic managers. Moreover, we note that the signal works well across global regions, albeit better in larger markets.

Rationalising Mispricing

We attempt to rationalise whether a stock is „cheap‟ or „expensive‟ for a reason, or „mispriced‟. We highlight the limitations of valuation models in that stock price can be driven by sentiment, which is difficult to capture, or due to errors in forecasting earnings or discount rates which limits the usefulness of valuation models. We show that identifying additional drivers of returns like sentiment, management quality, earnings visibility and leverage helps to discriminate between stocks that are „mispriced‟ and „cheap/expensive‟ for a reason.

Do Corporate Actions Influence Mispricing?

We leverage RavenPack‟s news-flow database to identify corporate actions like Share Buybacks, M&A, Executive Employment, Clinical Trials, etc. that act as catalysts in either driving mean reversion or explain the persistence of stock „mispricing‟. We show that complementing the „mispricing‟ signal with corporate action news-flow helps to gain a better understanding of stock price behaviour and improves the performances of these trading strategies.

A ‘Quantamental’ approach to Stock Selection

Conceptually this approach is not different from an alpha model; however, its advantage is that we start with a valuation framework, which is how fundamental analysts evaluate investment opportunities. Additionally a valuation approach broadens the appeal to investors who view investment decisions outside the dimensions of styles. To us, this approach appeals to both fundamental and quantitative managers, i.e. a „quantamental‟ approach to stock selection.

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