Sunday, February 5, 2017

Still bullish after my chartist's round-the-world trip

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 (upgrade)*
* 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.

Confusing macro cross-currents
Last week, I wrote that investors should tune out the political noise and focus on the fundamentals of growth (see A focus on growth). Still, the markets appear to be confused.

On one hand, Friday's positive surprise from the January Jobs Report told the story of an American economy that is on a solid non-inflationary growth path. Indeed, the latest update from ECRI shows their Weekly Leading Indicator has surged to an all-time-high.

Urban Carmel pointed out that the macro outlook is strong in virtually all respects, and I agree. Moreover, the upturn is global in scope, which suggests that this recovery has staying power because of the breadth and scope of the advance.

On the other hand, the new Trump administration is starting to give Wall Street the jitters. Josh Brown summarized the anxiety well this way:
All the investment guys want the tax cuts and repatriation to happen. They want the 4% GDP growth. They want the infrastructure push to actually work. But, they’re definitely afraid. They don’t like the tweets, the executive orders, the daily mass protests or the shady people who seem to be accumulating power and influence.
I know of no conventional way to resolve the interplay between the bullish macro backdrop and bearishness from policy uncertainty. One approach to cut through the noise is to just ignore it. Instead, use technical analysis to understand what the markets are discounting.

This week, I will dispense with my usual macro and fundamental analysis and take a chartist's tour around the world. Let's see what the markets are telling us.

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

No comments: