History doesn't repeat itself, but it does tend to rhyme. Each crisis period in financial markets is unique with some aspects in common. In 2020, equity markets endured a devastating fall in the wake of concerns about the novel coronavirus followed by a miraculous recovery. To date, many investors are still asking: Was this recent period of turbulence a crisis that may continue or was this crisis a simple V-shaped correction, albeit rather painful? In a recent paper, we take a look at this spectacular market fall from the perspective of a trend-following strategy to determine what is similar and what is different from the crisis periods that came before.
Trend-following strategies take long and short positions following prevailing market trends across a wide range of asset classes, e.g., equity indexes, bond index futures, rates, currencies and commodities. These strategies have often been some of the few known to sometimes capture ever-coveted "crisis alpha."