Sunday, October 21, 2018

The brewing storm in Asia

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 the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in the 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. The turnover rate of the trading model is high, and it has varied between 150% to 200% per month.

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: 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.

Looking for the risk in the wrong places?
Waiting for China to report its Q3 GDP growth used to be not very suspenseful. Is it going to be 6.7%, which was the last report, or will they allow it to fall to 6.6%, which is the market expectation? As it turned out, Q3 GDP came in at 6.5%, which was below market expectations, and a possible signal of acute weakness in the Chinese economy.

Notwithstanding the highly manipulated economic statistics coming from China, I have been monitoring the real-time signal of the China rebalancing theme using my long New (consumer) China ETF and short Old (finance and infrastructure) China ETF pairs for quite some time. The two pairs consist of long Invesco Golden Dragon China (PBJ) and short iShares China (FXI), and long Global X China Consumer ETF (CHIQ) and short Global X China Financial ETF (CHIQ). As the chart below shows, New (consumer) China has been dramatically underperforming Old (finance and infrastructure) China.

To add insult to injury, Old China is also performing badly on an absolute basis. Last week, I outlined a number of disparate real-time bearish tripwires (see A correction, or the start of a bear market?). Most of the indicators focused on either US or global macro factors. One was the share of major Chinese property developers because property prices are sensitive barometers of financial stress, and rising financial stress would be especially important in light of the high degree of leverage in the Chinese financial system.

The share prices of Chinese property developers are weakening, and in some cases breaking down technically. When I focused on US indicators, I may have been looking for risk in all the wrong places.

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

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