Sunday, April 22, 2018

Trade war jitters fade, but for how long?

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. The turnover rate of the trading model is high, and it has varied between 150% to 200% per month.

Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here.

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 receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.

Falling trade tensions = Equity bullish
I have written in these pages before that, in the absence of trade war tensions, the path of least resistance for stock prices is up (see Watch the Fed, not the trade war noise).

From a technical perspective, stock market is well supported by positive divergence from breadth indicators. Both the SPX Advance-Decline Line and the NYSE common stock only A-D Line made all-time highs last week.

From a fundamental viewpoint, equity valuations are not especially demanding when compared to bonds. The market started to get concerned last week when the 10-year yield approached 3%, but some perspective is in order. As the following chart shows, FactSet reported that forward P/E ratio is in the middle of its 5-year range. By contrast, the 10-year yield is near the top of its 5-year range, indicating slightly equities are cheap relative to Treasuries. On a 10-year perspective, however, the forward P/E is above its historical range and so is the 10-year yield. Depending on your time horizon, valuations are either slightly cheap or slightly expensive, but levels are nothing to panic over.

In addition, earnings are continuing to rise. Results from Q1 earnings season have been solid, with above average EPS and sales beat rates. In addition, forward 12-month EPS are rising, indicating positive fundamental momentum.

The bullishness is not just attributable earnings results. Brian Gilmartin at Fundamentalis pointed out that revenue growth and beat statistics are highly encouraging.

What could possibly go wrong?

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

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