Performance of Islamic and Conventional Funds: Evidence from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia

Catherine S F Ho*, Nur Hazimah Amran, Irfan Syarafuddin B Ab Aziz and Wahida Ahmad4

Abstract:Financial crises and the geopolitical issues around the world have caused much volatility in returns and market uncertainty. This trend of higher uncertainty in risk and return causes vast changes in stock and investment values, which caused investors scrabbling to maintain the value of their wealth. It is therefore vital that investors understand and compare investment alternatives in order to maximize return. The purpose of this research is to analyze the performance of Islamic and conventional mutual funds and provide a comparison of fund performances to enable investors to make informed decisions. Mutual fund data from 2013 to 2017 for Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, the two largest Islamic fund markets are compiled and risk-adjusted performance statistics applied to arrive at measurement of performances. Although fund performance comparison is a well-researched area, this study contributes to the literature in terms of a comprehensive investigation of various types of Islamic funds with an indepth evaluation of different investment time horizons. Empirical evidence on risk-adjusted performance comparison indicates that Malaysian conventional equity, mixed asset and money market funds for all 1, 3 and 5-year horizons outperform their Islamic counterparts. Similarly, Saudi Arabian equity and mixed asset funds also outperform their Islamic counterparts for all time horizons. On the contrary, the Saudi Islamic money market funds outperform their conventional partners. Cross country comparison confirms that Malaysian funds achieve superior performance except for money market funds which underperform their Saudi counterparts. In summary, current evidence concludes that, depending on the investment horizon and risk appetite, investors are better off investing in the appropriate fund.

Sustainability of Stock Market against COVID-19 Pandemic

Lee Chin*,Foo Yong Seong, Chen Kong San, Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary and Woon Leong Lin

Abstract:This study explored the sustainability of the stock market against the COVID-19 pandemic. The impacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 deaths, and Movement Control Order (MCO) length on the stock market were examined. The Generalized Method of Moments (GMM)estimator was employed to analyze 57 countries' weekly data from November 4th 2019 to July 5th 2020. The findings showed that the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases has a significant negative effect on stock market returns, while the growth in COVID-19 deaths has a negative yet statistically insignificant influence on stock market returns. This study also found a non-linear inverted U-shaped relationship between the MCO period and stock market returns, implying that though the MCO has initial positive influences on the stock market, it negatively impacts the stock market after 5.7 weeks. Thus, this study argues that policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic provide the most compelling explanation for its unprecedented impact on the sustainability of the stock market. Governments should therefore implement a partial lockdown to avoid deterioration of the national economy. Furthermore, government policies and plans to control the COVID-19 epidemic as well as economic stimulus packages to kickstart the economy play crucial roles in boosting economic growth and revitalizing the stock market.