Is pairs trading profitable on dual-listed interfamily ETFs? Evidence from iShares

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Volume Title
School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
Date
2020
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Rahoitus
Language
en
Pages
20
Series
Abstract
I examine the risk and return characteristics of pairs trading using a sample of 16 dual-listed U.S. and U.K exchange-traded funds during 2010-2019. Moreover, I analyze whether the profitability can be attributed to mean reversion. I construct pairs based on the same underlying index and use cointegration to model the trading signals. I find that the pairs trading anomaly persists and yields average annualized excess returns of 11.5%. The returns remain significant even when adjusted for systematic risk. However, by analyzing the price behavior on the day of divergence, the return distribution between the listings, and the differing performance of the long and short positions, I find that the profitability cannot be attributed solely to mean reversion. Instead, my findings indicate that the strategy exploits a lead-lag relationship between the U.S. and U.K. ETFs. On average, the ETF listed in the U.K. acts as a follower and generates most of the profits.
Description
Thesis advisor
Spickers, Theresa
Keywords
pairs trading, cointegration, exchange-traded funds, arbitrage
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