Monday, December 26, 2016

The bear case: How Trumpnomics keeps me awake at night

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 mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers will also receive email notices of any changes in my trading portfolio.

Trumponomics: The bear case
In last week's post (see How Trumponomics could push the SPX to 2500 and beyond), I laid out the bull case for stocks under a Trump administration and how stock prices could appreciate 20% in 2017, assuming everything goes right. This week, I outline the bear case, or how Trumponomics keeps me awake at night.

Candidate Trump has said many things on the campaign trail, some of which are contradictory. President-elect Trump's cabinet is taking shape and we are now getting some hints about policy direction. Nevertheless, there are a number of contradictions in his stated positions whose unexpected side-effects that could turn out to be equity bearish:
  • Legislative tax cut disappointment 
  • A contradiction in fiscal policy vs. trade policy
  • Geopolitical friction with China
  • Rising geopolitical risk
  • Loss of market confidence
  • A possible collision course with the Federal Reserve
In this post, I will discuss each of these points, and I will end on how I believe these contradictions are likely to be resolved by the market.

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

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