Sunday, May 27, 2018

Could a weak consumer stall the economy?

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.

Rising household stress
The headlines look dire. CNN proclaimed that "40% of Americans can't cover a $400 emergency expense", according to the Fed's annual Report on the Economic Being of US Households. Further research from Google Trends showed that interest in consumer items is tanking.

In addition, searches for bankruptcy and financial reorganization spiked recently, indicating rising stress in the household sector.

Last Friday's release of consumer sentiment missed expectations and readings are continue to deteriorate.

The economy is at or near full employment. Is this as good as it gets? Is this what prosperity looks like? What does this mean for policy makers?

For investors, the key question are:
  1. How stressed is the household sector; and
  2. Is this precursor to a bull market killing recession?
The full post can be found at our new site here.

Time is running out for our Sale in May! The offer is available only to the first 100 to sign up. Please use this link to order.

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