Sunday, August 7, 2016

Breakout, or fake-out?

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.

A global growth rebound
The SPX broke out to another all-time high on Friday in response to the positive surprise from the Employment Report. The upside breakout followed a false breakdown out of a narrow trading during the same week. The key question for traders is, "Is this an honest-to-goodness breakout, or just a fake out?"

Indeed, there is an intermediate term bullish case to be made. I've been writing for the past few weeks about how the combination of overly defensively oriented investors and a US growth surprise is leading to a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) rally in US equities. Now it seems that the growth surprise is spreading around the world. As the chart below shows, the Global Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is turning up, which is a positive sign for global growth.

On the other hand, short-term technical indicators are flashing signals of extreme caution. The market appears to gotten ahead of itself and a pullback may be in order before stock prices can rise sustainably. The chart below from Sentiment Trader shows that sentiment is at an optimistic extreme, which is a worrisome sign (annotations in red are mine).

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

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