Liquidity as an investment style : evidence from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Theart, Lomari (2014-03)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Individual and institutional investors alike are continuously searching for investment styles and strategies that can yield enhanced risk-adjusted portfolio returns. In this regard, a number of investment styles have emerged in empirical analysis as explanatory factors of portfolio return. These include size (the rationale that small stocks outperform large stocks), value (high book-to-market ratio stocks outperform low book-to-market ratio stocks) and momentum (stocks currently outperforming will continue to do so). During the mid-eighties it has been proposed that liquidity (investing in low liquidity stocks relative to high liquidity stocks) is a missing investment style that can further enhance the risk-adjusted performance in the United States equity market. In the South African equity market this so-called liquidity effect, however, has remained largely unexplored. The focus of this study was therefore to determine whether the liquidity effect is prevalent in the South African equity market and whether by employing a liquidity strategy an investor could enhance risk-adjusted returns. This study was conducted over a period of 17 years, from 1996 to 2012. As a primary objective, this study analysed liquidity as a risk factor affecting portfolio returns, first as a residual purged from the influence of the market premium, size and book-to-market (value/growth) factors, and then in the presence of these explanatory factors affecting stock returns. Next, as a secondary objective, this study explored whether incorporating a liquidity style into passive portfolio strategies yielded enhanced risk-adjusted performance relative to other pure-liquidity and liquidity-neutral passive ‘style index’ strategies. The results from this study indicated that liquidity is not a statistically significant risk factor affecting broad market returns in the South African equity market. Instead the effect of liquidity is significant in small and low liquidity portfolios only. However, the study indicated that including liquidity as a risk factor improved the Fama-French three-factor model in capturing shared variation in stock returns. Lastly, incorporating a liquidity style into passive portfolio strategies yielded weak evidence of enhanced risk-adjusted performance relative to other pure-liquidity and liquidity-neutral passive ‘style index’ strategies. This research ultimately provided a better understanding of the return generating process of the South African equity market. It analysed previously omitted variables and gave an indication of how these factors influence returns. Furthermore, in analysing the risk- adjusted performance of liquidity-biased portfolio strategies, light was shed upon how a liquidity bias could influence portfolio returns.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Individuele en institusionele beleggers is voortdurend op soek na beleggingstyle en strategieë wat verhoogde risiko-aangepaste portefeulje-opbrengste kan lewer. In hierdie verband is ’n aantal beleggingstyle deur empiriese analise geïdentifiseer as verklarende faktore van portefeulje-opbrengs. Hierdie style sluit in: grootte (die rasionaal dat klein aandele beter presteer as groot aandele), waarde (hoë boek-tot-mark verhouding aandele presteer beter as lae boek-tot-mark verhouding aandele) en momentum (aandele wat tans oorpresteer sal daarmee voortduur). Gedurende die midtagtigs is dit aangevoer dat likiditeit (die belegging in lae likiditeit aandele relatief tot hoë likiditeit aandele) ’n ontbrekende beleggingstyl is wat die risiko- aangepaste prestasie in die Verenigde State van Amerika (VSA) aandelemark verder kan verhoog. In die Suid-Afrikaanse aandelemark bly hierdie sogenaamde likiditeit-effek egter grootliks onverken. Die fokus van hierdie studie was dus om te bepaal of die likiditeit-effek teenwoordig is in die Suid-Afrikaanse aandelemark en of dit vir ’n belegger moontlik is om risiko-aangepaste opbrengste te verbeter deur ’n likiditeit-strategie te volg. Die studie is uitgevoer oor ’n tydperk van 17 jaar, vanaf 1996 tot 2012. As ’n primêre doelwit het hierdie studie likiditeit ontleed as ’n risiko faktor van portefeulje-opbrengste, eers as ’n residu-effek vry van die invloed van die markpremie, grootte en boek-tot-mark (waarde/groei) faktore, en daarna in die teenwoordigheid van hierdie verklarende faktore van aandeel opbrengste. As ’n sekondêre doelwit, het hierdie studie ondersoek of die insluiting van ’n likiditeit-styl in passiewe portefeulje-strategieë verbeterde risiko- aangepaste prestasie kan lewer relatief tot ander suiwer-likiditeit en likiditeit-neutrale passiewe ‘styl indeks’ strategieë. Die resultate van hierdie studie het aangedui dat likiditeit nie ’n statisties beduidende risiko faktor is wat die breë markopbrengs in die Suid-Afrikaanse aandelemark beïnvloed nie. In plaas daarvan is die effek van likiditeit beperk tot slegs klein en lae likiditeit portefeuljes. Die studie het wel aangedui dat die insluiting van likiditeit as ’n risiko faktor die Fama- French drie-faktor model verbeter in sy vermoë om die gedeelde variasie in aandeel opbrengste te verduidelik. Laastens lewer passiewe portefeulje strategieë, geïnkorporeer met ’n likiditeit-styl, swak bewyse van verbeterde risiko-aangepaste opbrengs relatief tot ander suiwer-likiditeit en likiditeit-neutrale passiewe ‘styl indeks’ strategieë. Hierdie navorsing verskaf ’n beter begrip van die opbrengs-genererende proses van die Suid-Afrikaanse aandelemark. Dit ontleed voorheen weggelate veranderlikes en gee ’n aanduiding van hoe hierdie faktore opbrengste beïnvloed. Daarbenewens word lig gewerp op die invloed van ’n likiditeit vooroordeel op portefeulje-opbrengste deur die risiko- aangepaste opbrengs van likiditeit-bevooroordeelde strategieë te analiseer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86258
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