Victoria Dobrynskaya

Publications in refereed journals

Downside Market Risk of Carry Trades, Review of Finance, 18(5), pp. 1885-1913, 2014.

Abstract. I propose a new factor – the global downside market factor – to explain high returns to carry trades. I show that carry trades have high downside market risk, i.e. they crash systematically in the worst states of the world when the global stock market plunges or when a disaster occurs. The downside market factor explains the returns to currency portfolios sorted by the forward discount better than other factors previously proposed in the literature. GMM estimates of the downside beta premium are similar in the currency and stock markets, statistically significant and close to their theoretical value. High returns to carry trades are fair compensation for their high downside market risk.

Winner of EFMA 2013 John Doukas Best Paper Award


Currency Exposure to Downside Risk: Which Fundamentals Matter? Review of International Economics 23(2), pp. 245-360, 2015.

Abstract. I study whether or not countries’ macroeconomic characteristics are systematically related to their currencies’ exposure to the downside market risk. I find that the currency downside risk is strongly associated with the local inflation rate, real interest rate and net foreign asset position. Currencies of countries with high inflation and real interest rates and negative net foreign asset position (debtor countries) are more exposed to the downside risk whereas currencies of countries with low inflation and real interest rates and positive net foreign asset position (creditor countries) exhibit ‘safe haven’ properties. The local real interest rate has the highest explanatory power in accounting for the cross-section of currency exposure to the downside risk. This suggests that the high currency exposure to the downside risk is a consequence of investments in high-yield risky countries and flight from them in ‘hard times’.  


Pricing Within and Across Asset Classes, Finance Research Letters, 25, pp. 10-15, 2018.

Abstract. When an asset-pricing model is claimed to explain a cross-section of portfolio returns, it should do so both within one asset class and across different asset classes. This paper illustrates that this is not always the case using the CAPM and Asness, Moskowitz and Pedensen (2013) models applied to momentum and value portfolios as examples. Apparently, on one hand, the CAPM is almost as good as the AMP model in explaining the portfolio returns across asset classes, but on the other hand, the AMP model is almost as bad as the CAPM in explaining these returns within one asset class. Therefore, applying an asset-pricing model to a single cross-section of returns may generate misleading results.


Asymmetric Arbitrage Opportunities for Cross-Listed Stocks: Evidence from Russia (with E. Gorbatikov), Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, forthcoming, 2019.

Abstract. We study alternative arbitrage strategies for stocks of Russian companies and the corresponding depositary receipts issued in European exchanges (‘mirror trades’). We provide evidence for significant arbitrage opportunities in Russia, and the potential returns are higher when the depository receipts are underpriced relative to stocks on the domestic market. Such asymmetry in arbitrage returns may be a consequence of money expatriation from Russia using these ‘mirror trades’ even when they are unprofitable, creating further mispricing. We also show that the long-short ‘buy-and-hold’ strategies, although being risky, generate returns which are about twice as high as the returns to the conversion strategies. Although the arbitrage returns have declined over time, they are still positive and generally higher than the market returns. Low liquidity of Russian depositary receipts on European exchanges is a significant barrier to arbitrage.


Working papers

LEGO - The Toy of Smart Investors, NEW, November 2018.

Abstract. We study a new alternative investment asset - LEGO sets. LEGO is an iconic toy with diminishing over time supply and a high collectable value. A huge secondary market for LEGO sets with tens of thousands of transactions per day has developed since the turn of the century. We find that LEGO investments outperform large stocks, bonds, gold and other alternative investments, yielding the average return of at least 11% (8% in real terms) in the sample period 1987-2015. Small and huge sets, as well as seasonal, architectural and movie-based sets, deliver higher returns. LEGO returns are not exposed to market, value, momentum and volatility risk factors, but have an almost unit exposure to the size factor. A positive multifactor alpha of 4-5%, a Sharpe ratio of 0.4, a positive return skewness and a low exposure to standard risk factors make the LEGO toy an attractive alternative investment with a good diversification potential.


Dynamic Momentum and Contrarian Trading, under review, November 2017.

Abstract. High momentum returns cannot be explained by risk factors, but they are negatively skewed and subject to occasional severe crashes. I explore the timing of momentum crashes and show that momentum strategies tend to crash in 1-3 months after the local stock market plunge. Next, I propose a simple dynamic trading strategy which coincides with the standard momentum strategy in calm times, but switches to the opposite contrarian strategy in one month after a market crash and keeps the contrarian position for three months, after which it reverts back to the momentum position. The dynamic momentum strategy turns all major momentum crashes into gains and yields average return, which is about 1.5 times as high as the standard momentum return. The dynamic momentum returns are positively skewed and not exposed to risk factors, have high Sharpe ratio and alpha, persist in different time periods and geographical markets around the Globe.


Upside and Downside Risks in Momentum Returns, R&R, April 2017.

Abstract. I provide a novel risk-based explanation for the profitability of momentum strategies. I show that the past winners and the past losers are differently exposed to the upside and downside market risks. Winners systematically have higher relative downside market betas and lower relative upside market betas than losers. As a result, the winner-minus-loser momentum portfolios are exposed to extra downside market risk, but hedge against the upside market risk. Such asymmetry in the upside and downside risks is a mechanical consequence of rebalancing momentum portfolios. But it is unattractive for an investor because both positive relative downside betas and negative relative upside betas carry positive risk premiums according to the Downside-Risk CAPM. Hence, the high returns to momentum strategies are a mere compensation for their upside and downside risks. The Downside Risk-CAPM is a robust unifying explanation of returns to momentum portfolios, constructed for different geographical and asset markets, and it outperforms alternative multi-factor models.