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Waman Virgaonkar

Waman Virgaonkar

Waman Virgaonkar was a vice president at MSCI.

Research and Insights

Articles by Waman Virgaonkar

    Equity-Factor Commentary: A ‘Magnificent 7’ Factor?

    6 mins read Blog | Nov 29, 2023 | George Bonne, Waman Virgaonkar, Jun Wang

    Would adding a Magnificent 7 factor have improved an equity factor model’s performance in the concentrated U.S. equity markets of the last few years? Our analysis shows that the model’s risk-forecast accuracy would not have materially increased.  

    Markets in Focus: Narrow Yield Spread and High Crowding Pressure Equities

    6 mins read Blog | Oct 3, 2023 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani, Juan Sampieri

    Eclipsing equity and bond yields and high crowding may be signs of a vulnerable equity market. We compare equity/bond yield spreads in the major regional markets along with crowding in sectors and regions.  

    Markets in Focus: Looking Beyond the Rate Hikes

    7 mins read Blog | Jul 4, 2023 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani, Juan Sampieri

    Investors face “sticky” inflation, equity-market concentration and expectations that U.S. interest rates may be higher for longer. We examine recent global-markets trends to help as asset allocators and portfolio managers determine their next move. 

    Analyst Sentiment as a Factor Consideration

    Research Report | Jun 29, 2023 | Waman Virgaonkar, Abhishek Gupta, Ashish Lodh, Mehdi Alighanbari

    An analyst’s equity opinion encompasses how different interrelated forces may impact the future performance of a company. We sought to define the analyst-sentiment factor, while assessing its relationship with other traditional equity style factors. 

    Markets in Focus: Factor Valuations and the New Rate Regime

    6 mins read Blog | Apr 3, 2023 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    Global equities and bonds remained volatile in the first quarter of 2023 following a strong start and a bumpy finish due to global banking concerns. We analyze whether factor valuations have adjusted to the new interest rate environment.  

    Value’s Lost Decade: Learning from Value Strategies’ Behavior over Two Contrasting Decades

    Research Report | Feb 1, 2023 | Saurabh Katiyar, Waman Virgaonkar, Mehdi Alighanbari, Arihant Jain

    Value rebounded in 2021, after more than a decade of lackluster performance. No matter what the expectation going forward, there are useful lessons to be learned from value strategies’ behavior over the past two decades.

    Markets in Focus: Investors Look to Capture Big Market Shifts

    6 mins read Blog | Jan 3, 2023 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    Global equities and bonds declined in 2022 against a surge in inflation, waning economic growth and monetary tightening. We highlight how factor indexes, country allocation and thematic investing can help investors capture opportunities with greater precision.

    Markets in Focus: Is the Beta Pendulum an Edge or Hedge?

    7 mins read Blog | Sep 30, 2022 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    Investors remained fearful of inflation and recession worries in the third quarter of 2022. We take a closer look at beta in a period where factors were sensitive to changing market conditions.

    Markets in Focus: Half-Time – Keeping it Real and Defensive

    7 mins read Blog | Jun 30, 2022 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    It was a challenging market environment in the second quarter. We take a closer look at real assets, defensive sectors and factor indexes as investors navigate what might be a prolonged period of volatility and uncertainty.

    Factors in Focus: Disentangling Market Gyrations Through the War

    7 mins read Blog | Apr 1, 2022 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    It was a tale of two quarters in many ways. We analyze the effects of past and present military conflicts on factor investing to provide insights to investors seeking to build resilient portfolios.

    Factors in Focus: Are Your Equity Styles Ahead of the Curve?

    7 mins read Blog | Jan 5, 2022 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    If economic expansion and higher inflation continue in 2022, interest rates could rise around the world. As investors re-evaluate equity portfolios, we look at factor-index performance in different U.S. interest-rate and yield-curve regimes.

    Controlling Idiosyncratic Risk in Value Strategies

    6 mins read Blog | Nov 18, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar, Mehdi Alighanbari

    We looked at ways to mitigate some of the performance drag of stock-specific risk on value strategies over the last decade by directly controlling for this risk without negatively affecting value-factor exposures or contributions.

    Factors in Focus: Where’s the Value in Defensive Positioning?

    5 mins read Blog | Oct 1, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    Throughout the third quarter, investors shifted attention to risks from inflation, tapering and potential interest-rate rises. We analyze global equities and the rotation toward defensive factors.

    Industry Momentum Across Regions

    5 mins read Blog | Sep 27, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar, Mehdi Alighanbari

    We expand on our analysis of industry momentum to assess the persistence of a premium across different regions and the ability of a rules-based strategy to help investors as they seek to capture this premium.

    Industry Momentum

    Research Report | Aug 12, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar, Mehdi Alighanbari

    Stock-level momentum has been a strong-performing factor, historically, but industry-level momentum has also shown significant historical premium. While the two were closely related, unique information was embedded in each and a combined momentum factor outperformed each individually.

    Factors in Focus: Go with the Flow?

    5 mins read Blog | Jul 1, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    In the latest edition of Factors in Focus, we look at flows into equity factor ETFs and whether it has been profitable, historically, to follow the money, along with our analysis of factor and factor-index performance over the second quarter.

    Purifying Value

    6 mins read Blog | Jun 29, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar, Mehdi Alighanbari

    Unintended exposure to non-value factors was a large contributor to value’s period of underperformance. We investigate value-portfolio construction when controlling for these exposures while maintaining maximum exposure to value factors.

    The Theory of (Value) Relativity

    5 mins read Blog | May 5, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar, Mehdi Alighanbari

    Whether constructing a fundamental factor model, a value strategy or a value index, valuation ratios need context. Time-series and cross-sectional approaches each have pros and cons. But combining the two may have presented a clearer picture. 

    Factors in Focus: Value Springs into Action

    7 mins read Blog | Apr 6, 2021 | Hitendra D Varsani, Waman Virgaonkar

    Value has historically outperformed in economic recoveries. With the reopening of the global economy we examined value’s performance against other factors, and exposures from our adaptive multi-factor model at the end of Q1. 

    Reopening Economies and the Resurgence in Value

    6 mins read Blog | Mar 31, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    After 15 years of challenging performance, many have asked if value is still a valid investment strategy. But the reopening of the global economy following vaccination rollouts has reignited interest across stocks, sectors, countries and regions.

    Factors in Focus: Val-come Back! Shifting Factors as the Cycle Turns

    7 mins read Blog | Jan 6, 2021 | Hitendra D Varsani, Waman Virgaonkar

    In this two-year-anniversary edition of Factors in Focus, we reflect on the historical relationships between factor returns and macro cycles, which have provided useful information for investors looking to take an active stance on factor exposures based on their outlook.

    Factors in Focus: Impact of Inflation on Style Factors

    8 mins read Blog | Oct 2, 2020 | Hitendra D Varsani, Waman Virgaonkar

    Global equities continued to rally in Q3, brushing aside fear of a second wave of COVID-19 and a large economic slump. We review what it meant from an equity and fixed-income factor perspective and look at what our models showed headed into Q4

    Factors in Focus: How Trendy Is Your Style Factor?

    9 mins read Blog | Jul 6, 2020 | Hitendra D Varsani, Waman Virgaonkar, Rohit Mendiratta

    As markets rallied worldwide, investors took on high-beta exposure and rotated away from stocks with lower risk. The latest edition of Factors in Focus explores the details.

    Factors in Focus: Risk sentiment and factor dynamics in a crisis

    Blog | Apr 2, 2020 | Waman Virgaonkar, Rohit Mendiratta, Hitendra D Varsani

    We analyzed the market effects from COVID-19 and a Saudi Arabia/Russia oil-price war. We also examined – for the first time – credit factor performance. How did the quarter play out? What did our adaptive multi-factor model show as it ended?

    Factors in Focus: Will 2020 vision sharpen exposures?

    Blog | Jan 6, 2020 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    Some global equity markets reached all-time highs and experienced limited bouts of volatility over the course of 2019. But underneath the calm surface, we saw a high degree of dispersion among factors and sectors.

    Factors in Focus: Momentum hits a valuation speed bump

    Blog | Oct 3, 2019 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    The momentum-value spread saw one of the largest corrections in history over the summer. What does our model show going forward?

    Factors in Focus: Dynamic short term, strategic long term

    Blog | Jul 2, 2019 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    We review factor performance over the second quarter, provide the perspective of a long-term view and look to indications from our adaptive multi-factor model heading into Q3.

    Factors in Focus: Risky start. Quality finish.

    Blog | Apr 2, 2019 | Waman Virgaonkar, Hitendra D Varsani

    We highlight the fast-moving rotation among factors that continued during Q1 2019. As we move into Q2 2019, this framework showed allocation changes in different factors.

    What has affected minimum volatility index performance?

    Blog | Jan 31, 2019 | Waman Virgaonkar, Mehdi Alighanbari

    As we head further into 2019, some of last year’s concerns, including market volatility and interest-rate uncertainty, continue to occupy investors’ minds. With the assumption that rates-related concerns continue and uncertainty looms in the global equity markets, the question is how minimum volatility indexes behaved in an environment dominated by these two opposing forces.