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Averaged Input Assumptions and Momentum

Today I want to share another interesting idea contributed by Pierre Chretien. Pierre suggested using Averaged Input Assumptions and Momentum to create reasonably quiet strategy. The averaging techniques are used to avoid over-fitting any particular frequency.

To create Averaged Input Assumptions we combine returns over different look-back periods, giving more weight to the recent returns, to form overall Input Assumptions.

create.ia.averaged <- function(lookbacks, n.lag) {
	lookbacks = lookbacks
	n.lag = n.lag

	function(hist.returns, index=1:ncol(hist.returns), hist.all)
	{	
		nperiods = nrow(hist.returns)
		
		temp = c()
		for (n.lookback in lookbacks) 
			temp = rbind(temp, hist.returns[(nperiods - n.lookback - n.lag + 1):(nperiods - n.lag), ])
		create.ia(temp, index, hist.all)
	}	
}

To create Averaged Momentum we take a look-back weighted avaerage of momentums computed over different look-back periods.

momentum.averaged <- function(prices, 
	lookbacks = c(20,60,120,250) ,	# length of momentum look back
	n.lag = 3
) {
	momentum = 0 * prices
	for (n.lookback in lookbacks) {
		part.mom = mlag(prices, n.lag) / mlag(prices, n.lookback + n.lag) - 1
		momentum = momentum + 252 / n.lookback * part.mom
	}
	momentum / len(lookbacks)
}

Next let’s compare using historical Input Assumptions vs Averaged Input Assumptions and Momentum vs Averaged Momentum. I will consider Absolute Momentum (not cross sectional), for more information about relative and absolute momentum, please see

###############################################################################
# Load Systematic Investor Toolbox (SIT)
# https://systematicinvestor.wordpress.com/systematic-investor-toolbox/
###############################################################################
setInternet2(TRUE)
con = gzcon(url('http://www.systematicportfolio.com/sit.gz', 'rb'))
    source(con)
close(con)
 
	#*****************************************************************
	# Load historical data
	#****************************************************************** 
	load.packages('quantmod')
		
	# 10 funds
	tickers = spl('Us.Eq = VTI + VTSMX,
	Eurpoe.Eq = IEV + FIEUX,
	Japan.Eq = EWJ + FJPNX,
	Emer.Eq = EEM + VEIEX,
	Re = RWX + VNQ + VGSIX,		
	Com = DBC + QRAAX,
	Gold = GLD + SCGDX,
	Long.Tr = TLT + VUSTX,
	Mid.Tr = IEF + VFITX,
	Short.Tr = SHY + VFISX') 
	
	start.date = 1998
	
	dates = paste(start.date,'::',sep='') 
	
	data <- new.env()
	getSymbols.extra(tickers, src = 'yahoo', from = '1980-01-01', env = data, set.symbolnames = T, auto.assign = T)
		for(i in data$symbolnames) data[[i]] = adjustOHLC(data[[i]], use.Adjusted=T)
	bt.prep(data, align='keep.all', dates=paste(start.date-2,':12::',sep=''), fill.gaps = T)

	#*****************************************************************
	# Setup
	#****************************************************************** 		
	prices = data$prices   
		n = ncol(prices)
		nperiods = nrow(prices)
		
	periodicity = 'months'
	period.ends = endpoints(prices, periodicity)
		period.ends = period.ends[period.ends > 0]
		
	max.product.exposure = 0.6	
	
	#*****************************************************************
	# Input Assumptions
	#****************************************************************** 	
	lookback.len = 40
	create.ia.fn = create.ia
	
	# input assumptions are averaged on 20, 40, 60 days using 1 day lag
	ia.array = c(20,40,60)
	avg.create.ia.fn = create.ia.averaged(ia.array, 1)

	#*****************************************************************
	# Momentum
	#****************************************************************** 	
	universe = prices > 0
	
	mom.lookback.len = 120	
	momentum = prices / mlag(prices, mom.lookback.len) - 1
	mom.universe = ifna(momentum > 0, F)
	
	# momentum is averaged on 20,60,120,250 days using 3 day lag
	mom.array = c(20,60,120,250)	
	avg.momentum = momentum.averaged(prices, mom.array, 3)
	avgmom.universe = ifna(avg.momentum > 0, F)

	#*****************************************************************
	# Algos
	#****************************************************************** 	
	min.risk.fns = list(
		EW = equal.weight.portfolio,
		MV = min.var.portfolio,
		MCE = min.corr.excel.portfolio,
				
		MV.RSO = rso.portfolio(min.var.portfolio, 3, 100, const.ub = max.product.exposure),
		MCE.RSO = rso.portfolio(min.corr.excel.portfolio, 3, 100, const.ub = max.product.exposure)
	)

	#*****************************************************************
	# Code Strategies
	#****************************************************************** 	
make.strategy.custom <- function(name, create.ia.fn, lookback.len, universe, env) {
	obj = portfolio.allocation.helper(data$prices, 
		periodicity = periodicity,
		universe = universe,
		lookback.len = lookback.len,
		create.ia.fn = create.ia.fn,
		const.ub = max.product.exposure,
		min.risk.fns = min.risk.fns,
		adjust2positive.definite = F
	)
	env[[name]] = create.strategies(obj, data, prefix=paste(name,'.',sep=''))$models
}


	models <- new.env()	
	make.strategy.custom('ia.none'        , create.ia.fn    , lookback.len, universe       , models)
	make.strategy.custom('ia.mom'         , create.ia.fn    , lookback.len, mom.universe   , models)
	make.strategy.custom('ia.avg_mom'     , create.ia.fn    , lookback.len, avgmom.universe, models)
	make.strategy.custom('avg_ia.none'    , avg.create.ia.fn, 252         , universe       , models)
	make.strategy.custom('avg_ia.mom'     , avg.create.ia.fn, 252         , mom.universe   , models)
	make.strategy.custom('avg_ia.avg_mom' , avg.create.ia.fn, 252         , avgmom.universe, models)
	
	#*****************************************************************
	# Create Report
	#*****************************************************************		
strategy.snapshot.custom <- function(models, n = 0, title = NULL) {
	if (n > 0)
		models = models[ as.vector(matrix(1:len(models),ncol=n, byrow=T)) ]	

	layout(1:3)	
	plotbt(models, plotX = T, log = 'y', LeftMargin = 3, main = title)
		mtext('Cumulative Performance', side = 2, line = 1)
	plotbt.strategy.sidebyside(models)
	barplot.with.labels(sapply(models, compute.turnover, data), 'Average Annual Portfolio Turnover', T)	
}

	# basic vs basic + momentum => momentum filter has better results
	models.final = c(models$ia.none, models$ia.mom)
	strategy.snapshot.custom(models.final, len(min.risk.fns), 'Momentum Filter')

	# basic vs basic + avg ia => averaged ia reduce turnover
	models.final = c(models$ia.none, models$avg_ia.none)
	strategy.snapshot.custom(models.final, len(min.risk.fns), 'Averaged Input Assumptions')

	# basic + momentum vs basic + avg.momentum => mixed results for averaged momentum
	models.final = c(models$ia.mom, models$ia.avg_mom)
	strategy.snapshot.custom(models.final, len(min.risk.fns), 'Averaged Momentum')

	# basic + momentum vs avg ia + avg.momentum
	models.final = c(models$ia.mom, models$avg_ia.avg_mom)
	strategy.snapshot.custom(models.final, len(min.risk.fns), 'Averaged vs Base')	

Above, I compared results for the following 4 cases:
1. Adding Momentum filter: all algos perfrom better
plot3

2. Input Assumptions vs Averaged Input Assumptions: returns are very similar, but using Averaged Input Assumptions helps reduce portfolio turnover.
plot2

3. Momentum vs Averaged Momentum: returns are very similar, but using Averaged Momentum increases portfolio turnover.
plot1

4. historical Input Assumptions + Momentum vs Averaged Input Assumptions + Averaged Momentum: results are mixed, no consistent advantage of using Averaged methods
plot4

Overall, the Averaged methods is a very interesting idea and I hope you will experiemtn with it and share your findings, like Pierre. Pierre, again thank you very much for sharing.

The full source code and example for the bt.averaged.test() function is available in bt.test.r at github.

  1. Pierre
    December 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    As already mentioned by tstudent earlier in the comments on this blog, transaction costs can make a huge difference in the final result of a strategy. Therefore, it is important that you make your own tests taking into consideration the real costs/taxes you are paying on transactions, as well as the slipping costs you are facing when trading. Your conclusions regarding the pertinence of averaging momentum/ia might be different. But what is clear is that momentum filtering is an interesting tool to reduce drawdowns.

  2. Sanjay
    December 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Hi,

    I was hoping that the strategies described in the Generalized Momentum and Flexible Asset Allocation (FAA): An Heuristic Approach by W.J. Keller and H. S. Van Putten 2012 paper can be implemented on this website. I think they have very interesting findings around absolute momentum, volatility momentum and correlation momentum.

    Thanks

  3. Sanjay
    December 10, 2013 at 2:32 am

    Thanks so much for the link.

  4. December 16, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Pierre, Michael was so kind to add percentage commission, so now it’s very easy to make this analysis and penalize turnover in an efficent way. If it’s not clear for you how to add percentage commission ask, I’m very glad to help.
    Michael has done an exelent job with his SIT.
    The only question that remains unresolved is: how much data-mining\data-snooping exists in the backtest of our strategies?

    Which are the most interesting ideas (in letterature or in practitioners world) for test if our backtest performance are just the byproduct of a very long lucky period?

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