NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Principal Portfolios

Bryan T. Kelly, Semyon Malamud, Lasse H. Pedersen

NBER Working Paper No. 27388
Issued in June 2020
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing

We propose a new asset-pricing framework in which all securities’ signals are used to predict each individual return. While the literature focuses on each security’s own-signal predictability, assuming an equal strength across securities, our framework is flexible and includes cross-predictability—leading to three main results. First, we derive the optimal strategy in closed form. It consists of eigenvectors of a “prediction matrix,” which we call “principal portfolios.” Second, we decompose the problem into alpha and beta, yielding optimal strategies with, respectively, zero and positive factor exposure. Third, we provide a new test of asset pricing models. Empirically, principal portfolios deliver significant out-of-sample alphas to standard factors in several data sets.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27388

 
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