Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Buy the dips & sell the rallies

I recently wrote that 2011 was a choppy market where it was very difficult for institutional investors to beat the market and for hedge funds to make any money because of the tendency of the market to whipsaw. In that case, my inner trader has observed that there is potential for nimble traders to profit from trading the swings of a range-bound market by buying the dips and selling the rallies.

The chart below shows the relative performance of SPY, which represents US stocks and the risk-on trade, against TLT, which represents long Treasury bonds and the risk-off trade. I have overlaid on top a short horizoned RSI indicator of 7 days. Note how it has been profitable to sell stocks and buy bonds when RSI approaches the 60-65 level and buy stocks and sell bonds RSI goes below 30.

Where are we now? With the opening day rally yesterday, the SPY/TLT 7-day RSI stands at 55, which is very near the sell zone for stocks, indicating that the upside is limited - unless you believe that stocks are on the verge of a major upside move.

My short term liquidity measures is also telling my inner trader to sell this rally. Measures of MZM growth are flattening out, which is generally not conducive to a sustainable equity rally, after an uptrend that largely coincided with QE2 earlier last year.

This chart of the growth of broader monetary aggregates also tell the same story. Money supply growth is now either flattening out or decelerating after a period of acceleration that began in mid-2010. Everything else being equal, an environment of slowing money supply growth usually provide headwinds to further advances in equity prices.

My inner traders is telling me that the upside in stocks is limited at these levels and to fade this rally, but to be prepared to buy the dips.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. ("Qwest"). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

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