Relative Sentiment

Is Relative Sentiment an Anomaly?

By |August 19th, 2022|Relative Sentiment, Research Insights, Tactical Asset Allocation Research|

Relative sentiment is an indicator that measures the positions, flows, and attitudes of institutional investors compared to those of individual investors–where institutions typically consist of large asset managers, insurance companies, pension funds, and endowments. In some instances, however–depending on the dataset and the asset class under consideration–institutions might also include hedge funds, CTAs, and other large speculators. 

Relative Sentiment and Machine Learning for Tactical Asset Allocation: Out-of-Sample Results

By |July 19th, 2022|Relative Sentiment, Research Insights, Trend Following, AI and Machine Learning, Tactical Asset Allocation Research|

We examine Sentix sentiment indices for use in tactical asset allocation. In particular, we construct monthly relative sentiment factors for the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Asia ex-Japan by taking the difference in 6-month economic expectations between each region's institutional and individual investors. These factors (along with one-month forward equity returns) then serve as inputs to a wide array of machine learning algorithms. Employing combinatorial cross-validation and adjusting for data snooping, we find relative sentiment factors have robust and significant predictive power in all four regions; that they surpass both standalone sentiment and time-series momentum in terms of informational content; and that they demonstrate the ability to identify the subsequent best- and worst-performing global equity markets from along a cross-section. The results are consistent with previous findings on relative sentiment, discovered using unrelated datasets.

Institutions Trading Against Anomalies: Are Their Trades Informed?

By |May 12th, 2022|Relative Sentiment, Factor Investing, Larry Swedroe, Research Insights, Academic Research Insight|

An interesting question is do the trades of the more sophisticated institutional investors against anomalies provide information on returns? To answer that question, Yangru Wu and Weike Xu, authors of the study “Changes in Ownership Breadth and Capital Market Anomalies,” published in the February 2022 issue of The Journal of Portfolio Management, examined whether the entries and exits of informed institutional investors (or ownership breadth changes) interact with the aforementioned 11 anomaly signals studied by Stambaugh and Yuan can be used to improve the performance of anomaly-based strategies. They explained that they emphasized institutions’ new entries and exits because they could be triggered by private information and correlated with future earnings news, thereby capturing useful information regarding future stock returns. To determine if the trades of the institutional investors were informed, they sorted all stocks into 10 decile portfolios based on quarterly changes in ownership breadth. Their data sample covered all NYSE/AMEX/Nasdaq common stocks from May 1981 to May 2018.

What Relative Sentiment Says About Market Regime Change

By |January 25th, 2022|Relative Sentiment, Research Insights, Factor Investing|

The weight of the evidence suggests we recently exited a secular bull market driven by high real earnings growth and have entered a secular bear market driven by high inflation. The takeaway is that while investors have become highly conditioned to buy the dip, the current dip is occurring with relative sentiment significantly bearish (i.e., retail likes equities more than institutions). Historically, that has not been a great time to buy equities.

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