Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A correction in price, or time?

Mid-week market update: What to make of today's market? It is obviously overbought. The 14-day RSI is skirting the 70 level, which defines an overbought condition and that has been the reading at which past advances have temporarily stalled. Arguably, the 5-day RSI is flashing a series of "good overbought" conditions indicating strong price momentum, though it did signal a minor bearish divergence.



Neither Trump's speech yesterday nor Powell's testimony today revealed much new information to move the stock market. However, the market did hit a minor air pocket today over a WSJ report that the trade talks hit a snag over agricultural purchases, but the weakness has been only a blip and can hardly be described as catastrophic.
Trade talks between the U.S. and China have hit a snag over farm purchases, according to people familiar with the matter, creating another obstacle as Beijing and Washington try to lock down the limited trade deal President Trump outlined last month.

Mr. Trump has said China has agreed to buy up to $50 billion in U.S. soybeans, pork and other agricultural products annually. But China is leery of putting a numerical commitment in the text of a potential agreement, according to the people.

Beijing wants to avoid cutting a deal that looks one-sided in Washington’s favor, some of the people said, and also wants to have a way out should trade tensions escalate again.

“We can always stop the purchases if things get worse again,” said one Chinese official.
Traders will have to rely on technical analysis to read the tea leaves. Overbought conditions can generally be resolved in two ways, either a correction in price, or time. What's the most likely outcome?

The full post can be found here.




Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.



We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The biggest risk to the cyclical recovery

Evidence is piling up that the economy is undergoing a cyclical recovery after a soft patch. The technical picture confirms the cyclical rebound narrative. The market relative performance of cyclical sectors and industries are all turning up. Semiconductors are now the market leaders, though they look a little extended short-term.


The full post can be found here.




Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.



We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

How far can stock prices rise?

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"

My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Bullish*
  • Trading model: Bullish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.



The art of upside target projection
It has become evident to technical analysts that the stock market has staged a convincing upside breakout. Not only have the major global averages broken out to the upside, the monthly charts of selected indices have flashed MACD buy signals. In the past, such buy signals have indicated significant price gains, with only minor downside risk.



In that case, what is the upside potential for stocks? We estimate targets using a variety of technical and fundamental techniques, and arrived at some different answers.

The full post can be found here.





Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.



We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Market nearing the stall zone

Mid-week market update: Don't get me wrong, I am still bullish. The Wilshire 5000 flashed an important MACD buy signal on the monthly chart at the end of October. While MACD sell signals have been hit-and-miss, buy signals have historically resolved themselves in strong gains with minimal drawdowns.



The MSCI World xUS Index also flashed an interim monthly buy signal, assuming that it stays at these levels by the end of November.


These are all unequivocally bullish signals for stock prices in the longer term, but short-term conditions suggest that the market is nearing a stall zone.

The full post can be found here.






Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.



We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Buy the breakout, recession risk limited

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"

My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Neutral*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.



Buy the breakout!
Did anyone notice the upside breakout in the global equity indices? The breakout was not only evident in the US, but it was broad and global in nature. This is an unambiguously sign to get bullish on equities. Investors with intermediate and long term horizons should buy the breakout.



I would like to reconcile the recession risk raised by a number of readers. While a number of indicators, such as the recent yield curve inversion, tanking CEO confidence, falling ISM and Markit PMIs, and so on, are signaling recession, how can I possibly be equity bullish in the face of these risks?


The full post can be found here.





Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.


We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Any more precautionary cuts?

Mid-week market update: Now that the Fed has cut rates a third time, and the upside breakout in the SPX and NDX are holding, what's next?



Are the series of precautionary cuts over?

The full post can be found here.





Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.


We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Scary Halloween story: How a weak USD could hand China a major victory

I have written before how a strong USD can be a negative for global financial stability. There are  many EM borrowers who have borrowed in the offshore USD market, and a rising USD puts a strain on their finances.

In addition, FactSet reported that companies with foreign domestic exposure have exhibited worse sales growth than companies with domestic exposure.


The USD Index staged an upside breakout out of a multi-year cup and saucer pattern with bullish implications, which was bearish for global risk appetite. More recently, it fell below the breakout line, which should be bullish for global assets. Indeed, the bottom panel shows that the relative performance of EM stocks is making a broad based bottom, just as the USD weakened.


Here is the scary Halloween story to be told around the campfire. A falling USD has the potential to hand China a major geopolitical victory without firing a single shot. In the ancient text, The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote that a general could win by arraying his forces to exploit his enemy`s weaknesses. That way, he can achieve victory without bloodshed if it becomes evident that the enemy will collapse before any fighting begins.

Here is a little known but glaring weakness that Beijing could exploit.

The full post can be found here.




Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.


We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Art of the Deal, Phase One edition

The markets began to take on a risk-on tone on Friday when the news that American and Chinese negotiators had "made headway on specific issues and the two sides are close to finalizing some sections of the agreement". Bloomberg went on to report today that the text of the "phase one" agreement is basically done, and the agreement will be signed when Trump meets Xi at the APEC summit in Chile in mid-November:
China said parts of the text for the first phase of a trade deal with the U.S. are “basically completed” as the two sides reached a consensus in areas including standards used by agricultural regulators.

The Saturday comments followed a call Friday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The trade negotiators “agreed to properly resolve their core concerns and confirmed that the technical consultations of some of the text agreement were basically completed,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Saturday.


With our trade war factor in roughly neutral territory, we try to answer the following questions:
  • What's on the table in the "phase one" deal?
  • What are the prospects for "phase two"?
  • What are the market and political implications of such a deal?
The full post can be found here.




Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.


We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

An upcoming seismic market shift in factor returns

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"

My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.


The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Neutral*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.



A seismic shift ahead
Last week, I highlighted the rising bifurcation of US and non-US equity markets (see The stealth decoupling sneaking up on portfolios). Further factor analysis reveals a possible seismic shift in cross-asset and factor return patterns, beginning with a steepening yield curve that is signaling better economic growth expectations.



The full post can be found here.


Announcing our Thanksgiving $2 Sale!
We are proud of our Trend Asset Allocation Model, which showed a steady record of improving performance and reducing risk against a passive 60/40 benchmark in a simulation using actual signals.


We are announcing our Thanksgiving Sale $2 sale, where you can get 14 months for the price of a 12 month annual subscription, plus $2 off! Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving2019 when you sign up for an annual subscription (two month adjustment will be made within 24 hours after checkout). This offer expires at midnight, Pacific Time, on US Thanksgiving weekend (December 1, 2019). Subscribe here.

Existing subscribers who would like to extend their subscription for 14 months at the price of 12 at their current subscription price, please drop me a note by email.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

SPX 3000 round number-itis

Mid-week market update: At week ago, I identified two technical triangle formations to watch (see Why small caps are lagging (and what it means)). Since then, both the SPX and NDX have struggled at key resistance levels despite a generally positive news background of earnings beats, and now they have moved sideways through a rising trend line. The obvious short-term downside target are the gaps to be filled below (shown in grey).



The market seems to be afflicted with a case of SPX round number-itis, where the index advance stalls when it reaches a round number.

The full post can be found here.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The stealth decoupling sneaking up on portfolios

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"

My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Bearish*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.



A stealth decoupling
As the Sino-American trade war has progressed into Cold War 2.0, a consensus is emerging among analysts that the Chinese economy is starting to decouple from the rest of the world. However, in the short run, there is a stealth and surprising decoupling in performance occurring in global equity markets. It's the US market from the rest of the world.

This development is important because US equities amount to roughly half of global equity market capitalization. The chart below of major markets relative to MSCI All-Country World Index (ACWI) tells the story. US relative strength peaked out in late August and began to roll over in September. At the same time, Japan has been climbing steadily, Europe has broken out of a bottoming process, and EM equities appear to be making a relative strength bottom.



We consider the implications of this emerging trend, and what it means for equity investors.

The full post can be found here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Why small caps are lagging (and what it means)

Mid-week market update: One of the investing puzzles that has appeared in the last few months is the mystery of small cap underperformings. The USD Index has been strong over the last three months, which should create an earnings headwind for large cap multi-nationals with foreign operations. Instead, the relative performance of megacaps have been flat to up over this period, while mid and small cap stocks have lagged.


I unravel performance at a sector level, and discovered some unexpected insights about possible market direction.

The full post can be found here.

Monday, October 14, 2019

A moment of truth for the stock market

No, the "moment of truth" in the title has nothing to do with the preliminary trade deal announced by Trump last Friday. I have been showing concerns for some time about the market`s valuation. Based on Friday`s close, the market was trading at a forward P/E ratio of 16.9, which is above its 5-year average of 16.6 and 10-year average of 14.9.


If stock prices were to advance from current levels, the E in the P/E ratio has to improve. Earnings Season starts in earnest this week as the big banks begin reporting tomorrow. That's the "moment of truth" for stock prices.

The full post can be found here.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A market beating Trend Model, and what it's saying now

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"

My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Bearish*
  • Trading model: Neutral*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.



A Trend Model update
Let me start by wishing all of my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

A post last week (see A 5+ year report card of our asset allocation Trend Model) brought forth a number of questions, and some new subscribers. To briefly recap that post, I have been publishing the signals of my Trend Model since 2013. A simulated portfolio which varied the equity allocation based on those out-of-sample signals significantly beat a passive 60/40 benchmark, and on a consistent basis. In particular, the simulated portfolio was able to cushion some of the drawdowns during bearish equity episodes. The study was a proof of concept that the Trend Model can add value to an asset allocation process.


This week, we answer the following questions:
  • What is the basis for the Trend Model
  • What is it saying now?
  • How does it react to news like the US-China preliminary agreement?
The full post can be found here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Time to buy Yom Kippur?

Mid-week market update: There is a trader's adage, "Sell Rosh Hashanah, Buy Yom Kippur". As many in the Wall Street community are Jewish, staying out of the stock market during the Jewish high holidays may make some sense. Jewish traders and investors wind down at rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and return after Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is today.

Indeed, this year's market weakness began just around Rosh Hashanah. Moreover, the market's decline was halted yesterday right at trend line support, and rallied today.



Is it time to buy Yom Kippur.

The full post can be found here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A 5+ year report card of our asset allocation Trend Model

For years, I have been publishing the readings of my Trend Model on a weekly basis. As a reminder, the Trend Model is a composite model of trend following models as applied to global stock prices around the world, as well as commodity prices.


The model has three signals:
  • Bullish: When there is a clear upwards, or reflationary, global trend
  • Bearish: When there is a clear downwards, or deflationary, global trend
  • Neutral: When the trend signals are not discernible
The first derivative of the Trend Model, i.e. whether the signal is getting stronger or weaker, and combined with some overbought/oversold indicators, has performed admirably as a high turnover trading model (see My Inner Trader and this ungated version for non-subscribers). However, I have never produced a full report card for the Trend Model. While the actual signal dates were always available on the website, I never got around to compiling the performance record because I was always tied up on other projects, and the task never got to the top of the pile.

After several repeated requests from readers, here is the report card of the Trend Model. I want to make clear that this study represents the real-time track record of actual out-of-sample signals. These are not backtested. The results were solid, and the analysis was also revealing about what an investor should expect when using this model for asset allocation.

The full post can be found here.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Art of the Deal (with Chinese characteristics)

Our trade war factor has been heating up, though readings remain in neutral. A secondary index (red line) measures Sheldon Adelson's Macau casinos operator LVS against other gaming stocks (inverted). As Adelson is a major Republican donor, and the casino licenses expire in 2022, the licenses represent another form of backdoor pressure that Beijing can apply to trade relations.


Chinese and American negotiators are scheduled to meet again on Thursday, October 10 for another round of trade negotiations. There have been conciliatory gestures on both sides, but what are the chances of a deal?

The full post can be found here.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Whatever happened to the Momentum Massacre?

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"

My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Bearish*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.



An update on the Momentum Massacre
Remember the Momentum Massacre? Too many investors were in a crowded short in the stock market. The cautiousness was manifesting itself in the price momentum factor, which was showing up in low volatility, low beta, defensive, and value stocks. The crowded short and long momentum trade began to unwind in late August, and accelerated when the SPX staged an upside breakout from its trading range at 2960 in early September.

The reversal was dramatic enough that JPM quant Marko Kolanovic called it a "once in a decade trade" (per CNBC). He made the case that both hedge fund and institutional positioning was too cautious, and a short-covering rally would spark a stampede by the slow moving but big money institutional behemoths to buy beta. Moreover, the reversal could also be a signal for a long awaited turn from growth to value investing.

Since then, returns to the price momentum factor has stabilized and begun to turn up again. It is time for an update.



More importantly, our analysis of the returns to differing factors and sectors is revealing of likely future market direction.

The full post can be found here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

How deep a pullback?

Mid-week market update: Regular readers will know that I have been relatively cautious on the stock market outlook for several weeks, and my inner trader has been short the market since September 13, 2019 when the SPX was over 3000. The index violated the 50 dma, broke support at 2960 and filled the gap at 2940-2960 yesterday. The decline was sparked by a miss on ISM Manufacturing PMI, which Jeroen Blokland pointed out is closely correlated to stock prices.


Lost in the bearish stampede was the observation of IHS Markit economist Chris Williamson that Markit M-PMI had been strong; ISM had overstated growth during the 2016-18 period; and ISM is maybe understating growth now.
Divergence is possibly related to ISM membership skewed towards large multinationals. IHS Markit panel is representative mix of small, medium and large (and asks only about US operations, so excludes overseas facilities)


Is this just an over-reaction, or the start of a major pullback?

The full post can be found here.



Our trading track record
As a reminder, we correctly flashed a "sell short" signal on September 13, 2019. Just to show that the signal was not just an isolated incident, the chart below depicts the out-of-sample record of our trading model (see this link for the complete calculation methodology).


If you haven't subscribed, you can subscribe to our service here.

Monday, September 30, 2019

What to watch for in Friday's Jobs Report

BLS will be publish the September Jobs Report this Friday. This report will be important for a number of reasons, and it will answer some key questions for investors and policy makers.

First, the unemployment rate has been troughing. If history is any guide, a rising unemployment rate after a trough has been signals of recessions. This was documented in the Sahm Rule, which was developed as a way to trigger automatic stabilizers and a real-time recession signal.


The Sahm Rule triggers a signal "When 3-month moving average national unemployment rate exceeds its minimum over previous 12 months by 0.5 pct points". A similar technique is also used at iMarket Signals as a recession warning. Currently, there is no recession in the forecast.

The full post can be found here.