Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Building the ultimate market timing model

I've been giving much thought about the investment philosophy behind the post over at Philosophical Economics about the GTT market timing model. To understand what`s behind his investment philosophy, let`s start back with first principles of equity investing.

The equity claim represent the "stub" claim behind debt, or bond financing in a company and therefore represent greater investment risk. Financial theory holds that higher risk should be rewarded with higher expected (average) return. While equities earn more than bonds, on average, they will be subject to higher levels of risk.

The Philosophical Economics GTT model is a way of mitigating some of the risks of equity investing. When it spots an unfriendly market environment for stocks, it imposes a greater degree of risk control with the use of moving average based trend following models. That way, the investor can avoid the worst of downside risk while capturing upside return.

But what represents an unfriendly market environment? Jesse Livermore at Philosophical Economics defines it as recession, but I have repeatedly said that prolonged bear markets are caused by one of the following:
  1. War or rebellion causing the permanent loss of capital;
  2. Recession; or
  3. An overly aggressive central bank tightening monetary policy.
If we ignore the risk of war and rebellion for the moment, the Jesse Livermore GTT model only addresses a recession risk forecast, but ignores the risks posed by excessively tight monetary policy. His GTT model would have stayed long equities during the Crash of 1987, when the Fed raised rates twice in September to defend the dollar. A proper asset allocation model also needs to consider the effects of central bank policy. Here is where I think I can add value to that modeling framework.

The full post is at our new site here.

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