NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Markus Pelger

312 Huang Engineering Center
Department of Management Science & Engineering
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Stanford University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2018Factors that Fit the Time Series and Cross-Section of Stock Returns
with Martin Lettau: w24858
We propose a new method for estimating latent asset pricing factors that fit the time-series and cross-section of expected returns. Our estimator generalizes Principal Component Analysis (PCA) by including a penalty on the pricing error in expected returns. We show that our estimator strongly dominates PCA and finds weak factors with high Sharpe-ratios that PCA cannot detect. Studying a large number of characteristic sorted portfolios we find that five latent factors with economic meaning explain well the cross-section and time-series of returns. We show that out-of-sample the maximum Sharpe-ratio of our five factors is more than twice as large as with PCA with significantly smaller pricing errors. Our factors are based on only a subset of the stock characteristics implying that a signific...
May 2018Estimating Latent Asset-Pricing Factors
with Martin Lettau: w24618
We develop an estimator for latent factors in a large-dimensional panel of financial data that can explain expected excess returns. Statistical factor analysis based on Principal Component Analysis (PCA) has problems identifying factors with a small variance that are important for asset pricing. We generalize PCA with a penalty term accounting for the pricing error in expected returns. Our estimator searches for factors that can explain both the expected return and covariance structure. We derive the statistical properties of the new estimator and show that our estimator can find asset-pricing factors, which cannot be detected with PCA, even if a large amount of data is available. Applying the approach to portfolio data we find factors with Sharpe-ratios more than twice as large as those b...
 
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