Sunday, October 30, 2016

FBI email probe + rising rates = Equity bear?

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 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.

In the absence of political tail-risk...
Up until Friday, the big story of last week was the bond market's shellacking in the face of rising inflationary expectations. I had been planning to discuss whether the rout in bonds is likely to take down stock prices.

Then the news hit the tape that the FBI was investigation new Clinton emails that were discovered in the course of the Anthony Weiner sexting investigation. Stock prices, which were up modestly, tanked on the news. At the height of the sell-off, the SPX fell and tested the key support level at 2120, and the market flashed oversold warnings on selected indicators. By the close, the bears were unable to gain the upper hand and 2120 support held.

As the market has been trading sideways since the upside breakout in July, the question is whether this news is enough to signal the start of a bear phase (see my last post The bulls and bears wait for Godot). The bulls had been unable to push stock prices to new highs despite the emergence of renewed growth (see Q3 earnings season: Stud or dud?), can the bears take advantage of the news of a new FBI probe of Hillary Clinton`s email to weaken stock prices?

I begin this week's market analysis with an examination of the stock market's macro and fundamental backdrop. and then consider the ramifications of Friday's political bombshell.

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

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