Behavioral Rotations And Dispersion Large Caps: In this issue of Courant Currents, we detail the dynamics and findings of cumulative research and professional observations that analyze systematic, inefficient pricings resulting from investor behavioral biases as they apply to U.S. large-cap equities. We also discuss the range of price variance among this stock universe that we label “dispersion”, how that range expands and contracts over various market environments, and its impact on value-oriented portfolios.

Behavioral

Investor biases, sometimes irrational and flawed behaviors, lead to significant opportunities for valuedriven systematic investors as well as other traditional value-oriented investors. Disciplined participants constructing market neutral portfolios  can often take advantage of both sides of mispricing biases, over exuberance and undue pessimism, to accumulate attractive positions ahead of their fundamentally oriented, value-seeking peers. Identifying relative value among the large-cap universe remains a dynamic process for all value investors involving two elements: the backdrop of market sentiment and relative price action among the large-cap stock universe. “Dispersion” quantifies how relative values vary as price relationships among large-caps move against the market’s sentiment backdrop.

In summary, we observe:

  •  Large-cap stock investors, whether institutional or individual, compile rotating lists of “favorites” and “outsiders” as they overweight recent news, join the investing in-crowd or succumb to undue pessimism.

  •  During most market environments, the majority of such inefficient pricings from behavioral overreactions tend to  correct within 3 months, coincident with increased participation by value-seekers and updated market and company information, such as corporate quarterly reporting.
  • These biased investor behaviors provide value and profit opportunities for long-only, long/short and market neutral investors.
  • Systematic market neutral investment processes that continually track  the U.S. large-cap universe and initiate positions quickly can often capture profits from both upside and downside pricing inefficiencies.
  • Long-only value investors routinely assist in restoring stock values to normal ranges and in helping market neutral investors realize profits.

Full article (PDF) via courantcap.com