Sunday, July 24, 2016

In the 7th or 8th inning of the bull market

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 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 the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. Past trading of the trading model has shown turnover rates of about 200% per month.

The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Risk-on*
  • 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 any changes during the week at @humblestudent. Subscribers will also receive email notices of any changes in my trading portfolio.

Value meets Growth and Momentum
No, I am not turning bearish on stocks despite the title of this post. However, the value side of my inner investor is starting to get a little nervous. The market has risen to a level that can be described as either fair value or slightly overvalued. In addition, the behavior of "smart" investors like insiders are also raising cautionary flags that serve as early warning signs of limited upside potential.

On the other hand, the US economy is undergoing a growth revival, which is helpful for higher stock prices. In addition, the market is experiencing powerful momentum in the form of a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) rally that's still in its early stages. The irrational exuberance scenario that I postulated two weeks ago (see How to get in on the ground floor of a market bubble) is becoming my base case. Under those circumstances, stock prices can rise further than anyone expects.

My preliminary conclusion is we are seeing the late stages of a market blow-off that will ultimately mark the top of the bull market that began in March 2009. We are in the 7th or 8th inning* of this bull and there are still gains to be made, but longer term investors should start to begin to exercise some caution.

* For readers unfamiliar with baseball, a normal game lasts 9 innings. If the score is tied after the 9th inning, then extra innings are played until a winner is determined.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

No comments: