Published Papers

The Best of Both Worlds: Accessing Emerging Economies via Developed Markets (with Redouane Elkamhi and Mikhail Simutin)

  • October 2019, Journal of Finance

A growing body of evidence suggests that the benefits of international diversification via developed markets have dramatically declined. While emerging markets still offer diversification opportunities, their public equity indices capture only a fraction of economic activity of emerging countries. We propose a diversification approach that exploits the global connectedness of developed countries to gain exposure to emerging countries overall economies rather than their shallow equity markets. In doing so, we demonstrate that developed markets still offer substantial diversification benefits beyond those available through equity indices. Our results suggest that relying on equity indices to assess diversification benefits understates diversification gains.

Global Equity Correlation in International Markets (with Redouane Elkamhi)

  • Forthcoming, Management Science

We present empirical evidence that the innovation in global equity correlation is a viable pricing factor in international markets. We develop a stylized model to motivate why this is a reasonable candidate factor and propose a simple way to measure it. We find that our factor has a robust negative price of risk and significantly improves the joint cross-sectional fits across various asset classes, including global equities, commodities, sovereign bonds, foreign exchange rates, and options. In exploring the pricing ability of our factor on the FX market, we also shed light on the link between international equity and currency markets through global equity correlations as an instrument for aggregate risks.

Working Papers

Digesting FOREXS (with Zhi Da and Virgilio Zurita)

We provide novel evidence that investors of U.S. multinational firms react to firms’ foreign exchange exposure shocks with a delay. Using the cross-section of currency returns and the relative presence of the firm in the foreign economies, we compute a foreign operations related exchange shock (FOREXS) measure. We find FOREXS to predict firms’ future cash flows and stock returns. A strategy that buys stocks with high FOREXS and shorts stocks with low FOREXS yields a 6.74% annualized abnormal return. The predictive power arises from three reinforcing channels: incomplete hedging, information uncertainty, and limited investor attention.

Characteristics as Signal Process (with Huichou Huang and Serhiy Kozak)

In this paper, we propose a portfolio-based framework that treats characteristics as signal processes to handle parameter and model uncertainty in the construction of characteristic-based factors. We reveal that different signal components correspond to distinctive characteristic-related risk premia. A comprehensive trading strategy that combines differentiated constituent portfolios through signal decomposition and transformation of a characteristic substantially improves the performance upon the traditional factor investing by harvesting these unexploited risk premia. The empirical results from asset pricing tests also suggest the existence of hidden risk premia. These findings raise concerns about the measurement errors in factors or omitted risk premia, and new challenges on classical asset pricing models.

Gravity in International Equity Markets (Job Market Paper)

The size of economies and geographical distance are significant determinants of the contemporaneous and cross-serial correlations in international equity market returns across countries. Larger countries lead returns of small-countries, and this cross-country predictability decreases with geographical distance of the two countries. A long-short trading strategy that exploits this relation yields risk-adjusted returns of 10% per annum. The lead-lag relation is not driven by cross-country differences in the average size or liquidity of firms, the degree of stock market development, or the industry composition. Decomposing stock market returns into cash-flow and discount-rate news shows that the international transmission of discount-rate news is more pronounced than cash-flow news and that the size of economies and geographical distance are significant determinants for both components of returns.

Work in Progress

Labor Market Network (with A.Sharifkhani and X.Zhao)