Exploration of CTA Momentum Strategies Using ETFs

Quantpedia
1 min readJan 18, 2024

Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) funds are commonly associated with managed futures investing; however, beyond commodities, they have the flexibility to venture into other assets, including interest rates, currencies, fixed income, and equity indices. Most of the CTA strategies are trend-following, taking long positions in markets experiencing upward trends and short positions in markets undergoing downward trends, with the expectation that these trends will persist. CTA funds demonstrate a negative correlation with traditional assets, especially evident during periods of pronounced downturns in equity markets, and this characteristic positions them as an appealing alternative investment option, serving as a protective measure against extreme events in financial markets. We aim to explore these trend-following strategies by creating a “CTA proxy” using ETFs across all asset classes. Using ETFs allows for maintaining the diversification of CTA funds and represents an alternative with easier data availability compared to futures contracts. Additionally, we are very interested in seeing the contribution of the short leg of CTA sub-strategies to performance, as we have a hypothesis that we can significantly improve the risk-return profile of the CTA strategies by removing a short leg portion of the strategy from some assets.

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