When Does the 1/N Rule Work?
27 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2018 Last revised: 28 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 28, 2019
We propose a "1/N favorability index" to measure how favorable a market is to holding a 1/N portfolio. This index reflects the extent of difficulty for an optimized portfolio to outperform the 1/N portfolio in a specific market. A single-factor model predicts that bull markets are accompanied by a high 1/N favorability index and vice versa. We validate the model implication that the 1/N portfolio is more difficult to beat in bull markets using stock return datasets from a number of countries as well as the classic datasets used by DeMiguel et al. (2009). Our results imply that the reported good performance of the 1/N portfolio in the US equity market can be partially attributed to the long-run bullish trend in the market which gives rise to the high favorability of the market to the 1/N portfolio.
Keywords: 1/N rule, favorability index, bull and bear markets, regime-switching model
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