Sunday, October 22, 2017

Beware the expiry of the 19th Party Congress Put option

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. 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: Bullish*
  • 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.

A China-led reflationary recovery?
Copper and industrial metal prices have been on a tear lately. Prices bottomed out in early 2016, and the latest rally has seen a recovery to levels last seen in 2014.

China is a major driver of commodity demand, and her economic growth has been surging recently. It is therefore no surprise that copper and industrial metal prices have been soaring.

The latest upside surprise in Chinese PPI prompted David Ingles at Bloomberg to ask if China is leading a bout of global reflation.

Callum Thomas at Topdown Charts also observed that China is at the epicenter of the global reflation theme.

The developed markets are also experiencing a synchronized upswing.

On the other hand, China is currently holding its 19th Party Congress. It doesn't take a genius to understand that any bureaucrat who creates conditions that causes either a growth slowdown or financial instability during this critical period will have made his own life very difficult. In effect, Beijing has given a 19th Party Congress put option to the market, where nothing bad would be permitted to happen to the economy ahead of the meeting.

Skeptics could therefore ask if the current growth revival is real, or window dressing ahead of the Party Congress. What happens after the expiry of the 19th Party Congress Put as the meeting winds up next week?

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

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