Monday, December 12, 2011

A Paper on "High Frequency" Treasuries

There is a paper from London Business School dated from a while back (2002) that studies simple pairs strategies applied to the whole universe of US treasuries secondary market. The data used are intraday quotes and transaction information from GovPX (thus "high frequency"), which has since been acquired. The paper has an interesting table comparing equity and treasury markets (Table 1). One particular metric is the "social acceptance" of shorting the securities. The claim is that shorting equities has low acceptance whereas shorting treasuries is "less affected". The proposed strategies reduced the standard deviation of returns considerably though the level of returns were also dragged down somewhat. The best performing strategies generally kept risk controls very tight. When transaction and financing costs are accounted for, the returns start to trail the risk free return, though it outperforms equity and the treasury bond index in terms of Sharpe ratio and Gain-Loss ratio. Curiously, these strategies are slightly positively correlated with equities and slightly negatively correlated with the bond index.

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