Centre for Investment Research - Journal Articles

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    Liquidity commonality and pricing in UK equities
    (Elsevier B.V., 2015-01) Foran, Jason; Hutchinson, Mark C.; O'Sullivan, Niall
    We investigate the pricing of systematic liquidity risk in UK equities using a large sample of daily data. Employing four alternative measures of liquidity we first find strong evidence of commonality in liquidity across stocks. We apply asymptotic principal component analysis (PCA) on the sample of stocks to extract market or systematic liquidity factors. Previous research on systematic liquidity risk, estimated using PCA, is focused on the US, which has very different market structures to the UK. Our pricing results indicate that systematic liquidity risk is positively priced in the cross-section of stocks, specifically for the quoted spread liquidity measure. These findings around the pricing of systematic liquidity risk are not affected by the level of individual stock liquidity as a risk characteristic. However, counter-intuitively, we find that the latter is negatively priced in the cross-section of stocks, confirming earlier research.
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    A review of behavioural and management effects in mutual fund performance
    (Elsevier B.V., 2016) Cuthbertson, Keith; Nitzsche, Dirk; O'Sullivan, Niall
    This paper surveys and critically evaluates the literature on the role of management effects and fund characteristics in mutual fund performance. First, a brief overview of performance measures is provided. Second, empirical findings on the predictive power of fund characteristics in explaining future returns are discussed. Third, the paper reviews the literature on fund manager behavioural biases and the impact these have on risk taking and returns. Finally, the impact of organizational structure, governance and strategy on both fund risk taking and future performance is examined. While a number of surveys on mutual fund performance are available, these have not focused on the role of manager behavioural biases, manager characteristics and fund management strategic behavior on fund performance and risk taking. This review is an attempt to fill this gap. Empirical results indicate that finding successful funds ex-ante is extremely difficult, if not impossible. In contrast, there is strong evidence that poor performance persists for many of the prior “loser fractile” portfolios of funds. A number of manager behavioural biases are prevalent in the mutual fund industry and they generally detract from returns.
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    The conditional pricing of systematic and idiosyncratic risk in the UK equity market
    (Elsevier, 2014-10) Cotter, John; O'Sullivan, Niall; Rossi, Francesco; Science Foundation Ireland
    We test whether firm idiosyncratic risk is priced in a large cross-section of U.K. stocks. A distinguishing feature of our paper is that our tests allow for a conditional relationship between systematic risk (beta) and returns, i.e., conditional on whether the excess market return is positive or negative. We find strong evidence in support of a conditional beta/return relationship which in turn reveals conditionality in the pricing of idiosyncratic risk. We find that idiosyncratic volatility is significantly negatively priced in stock returns in down-markets. Although perhaps initially counter-intuitive, we describe the theoretical support for such a finding in the literature. Our results also reveal some role for liquidity, size and momentum risk but not value risk in explaining the cross-section of returns.
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    Liquidity risk and the performance of UK mutual funds
    (Elsevier, 2014-10) Foran, Jason; O'Sullivan, Niall; Irish Research Council; University College Cork
    We examine the role of liquidity risk, both as a stock characteristic as well as systematic liquidity risk, in UK mutual fund performance for the first time. Using four alternative measures of stock liquidity we extract principal components across stocks in order to construct systematic or market liquidity factors. We find that on average UK mutual funds are tilted towards liquid stocks (except for small stock funds as might be expected) but that, counter-intuitively, liquidity as a stock characteristic is positively priced in the cross-section of fund performance. We find that systematic liquidity risk is positively priced in the cross-section of fund performance. Overall, our results reveal a strong role for stock liquidity level and systematic liquidity risk in fund performance evaluation models.
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    The profitability of momentum trading strategies in the Irish equity market
    (Blackhall Publishing, 2010-07) O'Sullivan, Fionnghuala; O'Sullivan, Niall
    We examine the profitability of momentum-based trading strategies in the Irish equity market between 1988 and 2007. We investigate a range of trading strategies over alternative backward-looking ranking periods and forward-looking holding horizons as well as for alternative size momentum portfolios. We find that returns to momentum-based strategies are highly non-normally distributed, giving rise to concern about the validity of inferences based on standard statistical tests of their abnormal performance. We therefore apply a bootstrap procedure to construct nonparametric p-values for the portfolio performance measures. Overall, we find little evidence that momentum-based trading strategies would have yielded an abnormal risk-adjusted return over the period. The Irish equity market appears to be quite efficient in this respect.