|Research Paper 35|
Country, Sector or Style: What Matters Most When Constructing Global Equity Portfolios? An
Empirical Investigation from 1990-2001.
HAMELINK - Lombard Odier & Cie and Vrije Universiteit
HARASTY - Lombard Odier
Pierre HILLION - Insead (Singapore) and Academic Advisor to Lombard Odier &Cie
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returns are believed to be strongly influenced by country, sector and style effects. A key issue is
to be able to disentangle those various effects from one another. In particular, differences between
country returns may simply reflect differences in the sector composition of country markets, which makes
it clearly difficult to disassociate both effects. Similarly, from 1999-2001 the relative perfor-mance
of Growth versus Value might be solely due to the striking performance of the Technology and Telecommunication
sectors. For global equity portfolio man-agers, it is crucial to identify which factors offer the highest
diversification benefits and return potential. We apply a multi-factor approach to estimate ”pure” coun-try,
sector and style factor returns. Using data going back to 1990, we identify the major changes that have
occurred in developed markets until 2001. Our various indicators clearly point out the growing influence
of sector factors. However, coun-try effects remain important and there is no clear-cut evidence that
sector factors dominate country factors. Style factors such as Growth, Value and Size also remain significant,
even once sector and country effects are deduced. Finally, we show that momentum strategies based on
sector returns offer substantial gains, while momen-tum strategies based on country returns do not.
These findings suggest that, while diversification and return benefits from sector strategies have become
substantial, managers should continue to monitor carefully country as well as style rewards and risks.
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