Category Archives: ETFS

A Bottom-Picking Portfolio

In a recent article I highlighted some stocks that appeared to have a chance of “putting in a low”.  In another article, I highlighted the potential usefulness of “horizontal lines” on a chart.  The phrase “putting in a low” is essentially a kindler, gentler version of the phrase “Hey, let’s pick a bottom”.
The reality is that the ability to “pick tops and/or bottoms” on any kind of a consistent basis is a skill that roughly 99.2% of all investors and traders do not possess.  That being said, there is such a thing as a legitimate “bottom formation” (at least in my market addled opinion).  A security that bounces several or more times off a particular price is sending information that the sellers may be running out of ammunition.  These levels can be observed by drawing horizontal trend lines across a price chart – connecting recent highs and/or lows at roughly similar prices.
“Loading up” in this situation is not recommended. But committing an acceptable percentage of one’s portfolio (a level which each investor must decide on their own) to such opportunities is a perfectly acceptable form of speculation.
So for arguments sake, below is a “Bottom Pickers Portfolio”.  As always, I am not recommending this as an investment, simply highlighting an alternative idea for your further consideration.
The Tickers
The tickers included in this portfolio are mostly all commodity related.  That is not a purposeful choice; they simply “fit the model”.
First is ticker BAL – an ETF that tracks the price of cotton futures.  The critical level for BAL is roughly the $43.50 area.
1Figure 1 – Ticker BAL (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Ticker GDX tracks a gold stock index and has been consolidating in a relatively tight range after last year’s sharp rally and subsequent pullback.
2Figure 2 – Ticker GDX (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Ticker JO tracks the price of coffee futures.  This is one of the weakest charts on the list and is dangerously close to failing to the downside.  However, if the low holds this will strengthen the outlook a great deal.
3Figure 3 – Ticker JO (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Ticker SGG tracks the price of sugar futures. SGG has been consolidating in a narrow range for about four months.  Key price levels on the downside are $26.50 and the August 2015 low of $24.79.
4Figure 4 – Ticker SGG (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Ticker SWN is Southwestern Energy Co.  After a long, devastating decline the stock is attempting to form a low in the $5 a share range.
5Figure 5 – Ticker SWN (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Ticker UNG tracks natural gas futures.  Thanks to the advent of fracking – which is made natural gas abundantly available – the price of natural gas has collapsed in recent years.  In the past week it retested its 2016 low and then ticked higher.  Like JO, this one is precariously close to “failing”.  But for now…
6Figure 6 – Ticker UNG (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
The Bottom Pickers Portfolio                      
I use AIQ TradingExpert software to create my own “Groups”.  So I created one called “Lows” to include the six tickers above.  The group consists of an equal dollar investment in each ticker.  The chart for this combination of tickers appears in Figure 7.EDITORS NOTE: Creating your own groups is accomplished in the TradingExpert Data Manager information can be found in this article ‘Adding groups and sectors to your Group/Sector List’

7Figure 7 – The “Lows” Group (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Summary
Let me be blunt.  There is every chance that the majority of the tickers highlighted above will continue their long-term bearish trends and break down to the downside causing further losses for those holding these shares.
The primary thing to highlight in this piece is a personal preference.  I prefer “horizontal” lines on a chart – i.e., straight across, left to right – to the more typical slanted trend lines that most traders use.  The reason is simply – upward or downward slanting trend lines require a trader to decide which two (or more) highs (or lows) to connect in order to draw the trend line.  At the end of the day this is often a subjective decision.
Horizontal trend lines – which connect to (at least roughly equal) highs or lows – are generated by the market itself and as such, are more objective in nature.  In other words, investor buying and selling determines these levels.
Will my “Bottom Pickers Portfolio” move to the upside or fail to the downside?  We’ll just have to wait to find out.
Jay Kaeppel Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro client.
Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

An Unusual 4 ETF Portfolio…That Seems to Work

I know I repeat it a lot but the purpose of this blog is not to offer recommendations but rather to share ideas.  So here is one that I am not quite sure about but am keeping an eye on.
The FourNonCorr Portfolio
Somewhere awhile back I started looking at trying to pair non correlated – or even inversely correlated – securities in a portfolio that had the potential to outperform the overall market. What follows is what I refer to as the FourNonCorr Portfolio.  For the record I do not trade this portfolio with real money.  I am still trying to figure out if there is something to it or not.  But given that it has outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of 3-to-1 (granted, using hypothetical results) since December of 2007, I figure it might be worth monitoring for awhile.
The portfolio consists of four ETFs:
Ticker FXE – Guggenheim CurrencyShares Euro Trust
Ticker UUP – PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish
Ticker TLT – iShares Barclays 20+ Yr Treas. Bond
Ticker XIV – VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX ST ETN
The monthly charts for each appear in Figure 1.
1Figure 1 –The Four ETFs in The Four NonCorr Portfolio (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
As you can see there is a lot of “zigging” by one accompanied by “zagging” for another.  No surprise that when the Euro rises the dollar falls and vice versa. Also, TLT often seems to move opposite XIV. That is essentially the purpose of these pairings.
Figure 2 displays the correlations between the four ETFs in the portfolio (using AIQ TradingExpert Matchmaker function from 8/31/2012 through 8/31/2017 using weekly data).  A reading of 1000 indicates a perfect correlation, a reading of -1000 indicates a perfectly inverse correlation.
FXE UUP TLT XIV
FXE (913) 77 (13)
UUP (913) (117) 43
TLT 77 (117) (234)
XIV (13) 43 (234)
Figure 2 – Correlations for the FourNonCorr Portfolio ETFs (Source: AIQ TradingExpert)
Clearly there is a whole lot of “not correlating much” going on.
Results
For testing purposes I used monthly total return data for each ETF from the PEP Database from Callan Associates.  The one exception is ticker XIV which did not start actual trading until December 2010.  For January 2008 through November 2010 I used index data for the index that ticker XIV tracks inversely (S&P 500 VIX SHORT-TERM FUTURES INDEX). Actual XIV ETF data is used starting in December 2010.
As a benchmark, I also tracked the cumulative total return for ticker SPY (that tracks the S&P 500 Index).
Figure 3 displays the cumulative percent gain or loss for both the FourNonCorr Portfolio and ticker SPY.3Figure 3 – Cumulative % gain/loss for The FourNonCorr Portfolio (blue) versus SPY (red); 12/31/2007-9/30/2017
Year-by-year results appear in Figure 4
4 NonCorr SPY Diff
2008 (6.0) (37.0) 31.0
2009 26.1 26.4 (0.3)
2010 45.2 14.9 30.3
2011 (1.3) 2.1 (3.4)
2012 34.3 15.8 18.5
2013 19.3 32.2 (12.9)
2014 5.3 13.5 (8.2)
2015 0.6 1.3 (0.8)
2016 21.0 11.8 9.2
2017* 24.4 14.1 10.2
Figure 4 – Year-by-Year Results
The results by the numbers appear in Figure 5.
4NonCorr SPY
Average 12mo % +/- 17.8 11.2
Median 12mo % +/- 14.9 15.0
Std. Deviation 17.1 16.8
Ave/Std. Dev. 1.04 0.67
Worst 12mo % (11.9) (43.2)
Max. Drawdown % (17.8) (48.4)
Figure 5 – By the numbers
All told The FourNonCorr Portfolio:
*Gained +334% versus +110% for SPY since 12/31/2007
*Experienced a maximum drawdown of -17.8% versus-48.4% for SPY
Thoughts
On paper, The FourNonCorr Portfolio looks pretty decent, particularly compared to the S&P 500 Index.  But you will recall that I stated earlier that I don’t actually trade this portfolio with real money.  Why not?  A few concerns:
*Interest rates tend to move in long-term waves up and down.  How beneficial will it be to have TLT in the portfolio if and when interest rates embark on a long-term wave up?
*I don’t entirely trust ticker XIV.  Because of the way it is built it seems to have the benefit of upward bias due to contango in the VIX futures market (the opposite of ticker VXX – please Google “VXX” and/or “contango” for an actual explanation) it also holds the potential to sell off in shocking fashion.  Using the index data as I did in order to replicate hypothetical performance from Jan 2008 through Nov 2010, XIV declined a stunning -72% between the end of May 2008 and the end of November 2008. It also experienced a -60% decline in 2015-2016. Need to give some thought to adding a security that is even capable of that to a permanent portfolio.
*On the flip side, XIV has been the driving force for gains in recent years and shows a cumulative gain of +416% since 12/31/2007.  If (and when?) we ever do see a bear market and/or a significant pickup in volatility will XIV have a large negative influence on performance?  That seems to be the $64,000 question.
Summary
As a thought experiment, The FourNonCorr Portfolio shows a pretty decent track record and seems to hold some interesting promise.  As a real money, real world experience – questions remain.
Stay tuned, tinker and experiment if you wish,and don’t be too quick to “dive in.”
Jay Kaeppel Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro client.
Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  Whilne I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

A Focus on the Trends in Stocks, Bonds and Gold

In the end it is not so much about “predicting” what will happen next in the financial markets, but rather recognizing – and being prepared for – the potential risks, that makes the most difference in the long run.  So let’s start by looking at current trends.
Stocks
Let’s start with a most simple trend-following model that works like this:
-A sell signal occurs when the S&P 500 Index (SPX) registers two consecutive monthly closes below its 21-month moving average
-After a sell signal, a buy signal occurs when SPX register a single monthly close above its 10-month moving average.
Figure 1 displays recent activity.
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Figure 1 – SPX Trend-Following signals (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
The good news is that this model does a good job of being out of stocks during long bear markets (1973-74, 2000-2002, 2008-2009).  The bad news is that – like any trend-following model – it gets “whipsawed” from time to time.  In fact the two most recent signals resulted in missing out on the October 2015 and March 2016 rallies.
But note the use of the phrase “simple trend-following model” and the lack of phrases such as “precision market timing” and “you can’t lose trading the stock market”, etc.
For now the trend is up.  A few things to keep an eye on appear in Figures 2 and 3.  Figure 2 displays four major averages.  Keep an eye to see if these averages break out to the upside (see here) or if they move sideways to lower.
2Figure 2 – Four Major Market Averages (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
In addition, I suggest following the 4 tickers in Figure 3 for potential “early warnings” – i.e., if the major averages hit new highs that are not confirmed by the majority of the tickers in Figure 3.3
Figure 3 – Four potential “Early Warning” tickers  (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Bonds
My main “simple bond trend-following model” remains bearish.  As you can see in Figure 4, a buy signal for bonds occurs when the 5-week moving average for ticker EWJ (Japanese stocks) drops below its 30-week moving average and vice versa.
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Figure 4 – Ticker EWJ 5-week and 30-week moving average versus ticker TLT (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
A 2nd model using metals to trade bonds has been bullish of late but is close to dropping back into bearish territory.  Figure 5 displays the P/L from holding a long position of 1 t-bond futures contract ONLY when both the EWJ AND Metals models are bearish (red line) versus when EITHER model is bullish (blue line)
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Figure 5 – T-bond futures $ gain/loss when EWJ OR Metals Models are Bullish (blue line) versus when EWJ AND Metals Models are both Bearish (red line); August 1990-present
Gold
My most basic gold trend-following model is still bearish.  This model uses my “Anti-Gold Index” (comprised of tickers GLL, SPX, UUP and YCS).  It is bullish for gold when a Front-Weighted Moving Average (detailed here) is below the 55-week exponential moving average and vice versa.
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Figure 6 – Jay’s “Anti-Gold Index” versus ticker GLD (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Summary
So at the moment the stock model is bullish and the bond and gold models are bearish.  Are these trends certain to persist ad infinitum into the future?  Definitely not.  Will the models detailed here provide timely signals regarding when to get in or out the next time around?  Sorry, but it doesn’t always work that way with trend-following.
But as for me I prefer “riding the trend” to “predicting the future.”
Some painful lessons just stick with you I guess.
Jay Kaeppel  Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (http://www.aiqsystems.com) client. 
Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

Summer Fun with Biotech and Real Estate

Studies suggest that buying an upside breakout can be a good strategy.  It sure can be scary though.  There is always that underlying fear of looking like “the last fool in” if the security in question experiences only a false breakout and then reverses back to the downside (and I hate it when that happens).  Still, for a stock to go from $50 to $100 it first has to go to $50.01, then $50.02, etc.
Buying into an impending breakout can be an even dicier proposition since this involves buying into what is essentially a “topping formation.”  I recently wrote about consolidation patterns in biotech and real estate.  These sectors appear to be getting closer to a resolution.  Consider tickers XBI (biotech ETF) and IYR (real estate ETF) as shown in Figure 1.
1Figure 1 – Biotech and Real Estate (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
XBI appears to be breaking out to the upside – at least for now.  IYR is close to breaking out – however, one could look at it in an exactly opposite manner and claim that it is “running into resistance near the old highs and therefore may be forming a top.”
Ah, the eye of the beholder.
A Seasonal Play in Biotech and Real Estate
It is pretty widely known at this point that the summer months tend not to be very favorable for the stock market overall (although July of this year might be an exception to the rule).  But biotech and real estate often provide a summer trading opportunity.
The seasonally favorable period extends from:
*The close on June trading day #17 (6/23/2017 this year)
*Through the close on July trading day #21 (7/31/2017 this year)
Figure 2 displays the growth of $1,000 split evenly between ticker FBIOX (Fidelity Select Biotech) and ticker FRESX (Fidleity Select Real Estate) every since 1989 during this period.
2Figure 2 – Growth of $1,000 split between FBIOX and FRESX during seasonally favorable summer period (1989-2016)
Figure 3 displays a summary of the results since 1989.
Measure Result
# Years UP 22 (79%)
# Years DOWN 6 (21%)
Average All Years +3.3%
Average UP Year +5.0%
Average DOWN Year (-2.9%)
Best UP Year +14.9% (2009)
Worst DOWN Year (-4.3%) (2004)
Figure 3 – Summary Results
One thing to  note is the lack of downside volatility despite the fact that both biotech and real estate can be quite volatile (worst down period was -4.3% in 2004).
Year-by-Year Results Appear in Figure 4.  For comparisons sake the annual performance for the Dow Jones Industrials Average (DJIA) during the same period is included.
  Year        FBIOX/FRESX    DJIA    Diff
1989 4.8 5.1 (0.3)
1990 2.8 2.1 0.7
1991 5.8 3.6 2.2
1992 7.0 3.2 3.7
1993 0.8 2.1 (1.3)
1994 (0.6) 1.8 (2.4)
1995 3.5 2.7 0.8
1996 (4.1) (4.1) 0.1
1997 2.9 6.4 (3.5)
1998 1.8 2.2 (0.5)
1999 4.4 (0.1) 4.5
2000 0.3 1.1 (0.8)
2001 (3.6) 0.1 (3.8)
2002 (1.5) (4.9) 3.4
2003 8.0 1.0 7.0
2004 (4.3) (2.9) (1.4)
2005 9.6 2.1 7.5
2006 4.0 1.8 2.2
2007 (3.2) (1.0) (2.1)
2008 6.7 (1.9) 8.6
2009 14.9 10.0 4.9
2010 2.0 1.6 0.4
2011 3.0 0.8 2.2
2012 5.7 4.0 1.7
2013 12.6 5.2 7.5
2014 1.1 0.4 0.7
2015 0.6 (2.2) 2.8
2016 8.6 2.3 6.2
Figure 4 – Annual Results for FBBIOX/FRESX during seasonally favorable  summer period versus Dow Jones Industrials Average
For the record,during the seasonally favorable summer period:
*The FBIOX/FRESX combo has outperformed the Dow in 19 out of 28 years.
*$1,000 invested in FBIOX/FRESX grew to $2,440
*$1,000 invested in the Dow Industrials grew to $1,505
Summary
So is biotech and real estate the place to be in the month ahead?  Well, that’s “the thing” about seasonal trends – there’s no way to know for sure what it’s going to be “this time around.”
On a cautionary note, it should be pointed out that the FBIOX/FRESX combo has registered a gain during the seasonal summer period – and outperformed the Dow – in each of the last 9 nine years.
So is it “Away We Go” or this the year that “Murphy’s Law” exacts its revenge?  As always, time will tell.
Jay Kaeppel  Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (http://www.aiqeducation.com) client. 
Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

This is What a Lack of Fear Looks Like (I Think)

I keep hearing that investors are “skittish” and “concerned” about the markets and the economy and so forth.  But the recent action in a relatively obscure ETF jumped out at me and seems to suggest that this is not necessarily the case – at least not among those who are active in the markets.  From what I can tell these people don’t have a care in the world.  See what you think.
What is Ticker SVXY?
A few key concepts:
*Implied volatility (IV) essentially measures the level of time premium built into the price of a given option or series of options on a given security.  In anxious times implied volatility will rise – sometimes sharply – as an increase in demand by speculators rushing to buy options to protect / hedge / speculate / etc in a given security, causes time premium to inflate.  When traders are less worried or more complacent then implied volatility will typically fall as decreased option buying pressure results in lower time premiums.
In sum, high and/or sharply rising IV typically signals fear, low and or declining IV typically signals a lack thereof.
*The VIX Index (see Figure 1) measures the implied volatility of options for the S&P 500 Index traded at the CBOE.  Typically when the stock market declines – especially when it declines sharply – the VIX index tends to “spike” as fearful traders rush in and bid up S&P 500 Index option prices
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Figure 1 – VIX Index (trading inversely to S&P 500 Index) (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
*In essence, the VIX Index is “inversely correlated” to the stock market.
*Ticker SVXY is an ETF that is designed to track the “inverse” of the VIX Index.  In other words, when VIX rises, SVXY falls and vice versa.  This also means the following:
*Ticker SVXY is highly correlated to the SP 500 Index.  In other words, as the stock market moves higher SVXY typically also moves higher and vice versa.
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Figure 2 – SVXY (movements are correlated to the S&P 500 index)(Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
In sum, a declining trend in the price of SVXY shares typically signals fear, while a rising trend in the price of SXVY typically signals a lack thereof.
Now to My Concern
Hopefully some of that made sense.  In a nutshell, the key takeaways are that when fear is low:
*SVXY rises
*Implied volatility declines
But what if both go to extremes?  Is that a bad thing?  The reason I ask appears in Figure 3. 3
Figure 3 – Ticker SVXY at an all-time high with implied volatility for options on ticker SVXY plunging (both pointing to a lack of fear)
As far as I can tell, this is what a lack of fear looks like:
*Ticker SVXY is rising dramatically
*Implied volatility (SVXY options) is plunging
In the last 4 years there has never been a bigger disparity between these two measures of “fear” – and they are both pointing to “no fear.”
Summary
So the obvious question now is – does any of this matter?  I mean this is more of a “perspective” indicator (“where we are now”) than a “timing’  indicator (“where we are headed next”).  I cannot presently point out a way to use this to generate specific buy and sell signals.
In addition, as a trend-follower I am not the type to make any “Aha, the End is Near” type pronouncements.  As long as the market wants to keep running higher I am happy to “go along for the ride.”
But the less I see my fellow riders being concerned about the market, the more concerned I become.
In the long run that instinct has served me well.
(Here’s hoping that my instinct is wrong this time)
Jay Kaeppel
Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (http://www.aiqsystems.com) client. http://jayonthemarkets.com/
Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

Four Things to Watch for Warning Signs

First things first: I am primarily a trend-follower (this is based on, a) the relative long-term benefits of following trends and b) my lack of ability to actually “predict” anything – but I digress).
As a trend-follower I love the fact that the stock market has been trending higher and the fact that there is so much “angst” regarding the “inevitable top.”  Still, like a lot of investors I try to spot “early warning signs” whenever possible.  Here are the four “things” I am following now for signs of trouble.
Fidelity Select Electronics
In Figure 1 you see, a) the blow-off top of 1999-2000 and b) today.  Are the two the same?  I guess only time will tell.  But the point is, I can’t help but think that if and when the bloom comes off of the electronics boom, overall trouble will follow.  Here is hoping that I am not as correct here as I was here.
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Figure 1 – Ticker FSELX (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Just asking.
Transportation Index
As you can see in Figure 2, the Dow Transports has a history of making double tops which is followed by trouble in the broader market.  Are we in the process of building another double top?  And will trouble follow if we are?  Dunno, hence the reason it is on my “Watch List” rather than on my “OH MY GOD SELL EVERYTHING NOW!!!!! List”.
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Figure 2 – Dow Transportation Index (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Ticker XIV
Ticker XIV is an ETF that is designed to track inverse the VIX Index. As a refresher, the VIX Index tends to “spike” higher when stocks fall sharply and to decline when stocks are rising and/or relatively quiet.  To put it in simpler terms, in a bull market ticker XIV will rise.  As you can see in Figure 3 one might argue that XIV has gone “parabolic”.  This is a potential warning sign (assuming you agree that the move is parabolic) as a parabolic price move for just about anything is almost invariably followed by, well, let’s just say, “not so pretty”.
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Figure 3 – Ticker XIV (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Let’s hope not.  Because if it does qualify as  parabolic that’s a very bad sign.
Ticker BID
This one may or may not be relevant but for what it is worth, Sotheby’s (ticker BID) has on several occasions served as something of a “leading indicator” at stock market tops (for the record it has also given some false signals, so this one is more for perspective purposes rather than actual trading purposes). Still, if this one tops out in conjunction with any or all of the above, it would likely serve as a useful warning sign.
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Figure 4 – Ticker BID (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Summary
There is no “urgent action” to be taken based on any of this.  Bottom line: Nothing in this article should trigger you to run for the exits.
Still, it might be wise to at least take a look around and “locate the exit nearest you.”
You know, just in case.
Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert) client. http://jayonthemarkets.com/
Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

MatchMaking a seasonal Energy play

If you follow jay Kaeppel’s posts in this blog, you’ll know that he’s the master of research on all things seasonal. This past week he posted a seasonal article on energy using FSESX – Fidelity Select Energy Services. Previously he had noted the bullish tendency for ticker FSESX during the months of February, March and April.  In his follow up piece, he added one more “favorable” month and then also looked at a 6-month “unfavorable” period. The article is included at the end of this post so you can see the results.

As Mutual funds are not for everyone, we went in search of alternative tickers that could closely match FSESX in performance characteristics. Using AIQ Matchmaker we compared the price action of FSESX against our universe of stocks and ETFs looking for a match.

Matchmaker uses Spearman Rank Correlation analysis to identify a close match to FSESX. The closer the result to 1000, the higher the correlation. Anything over 950 is a very close match. Here’s the results.
Figure 1. MatchMaker correlation for last 4 years – FSESX vs stocks and ETFs
The ETF IEZ – iShares Oil and Equipment & Services showed a very high correlation over the 4 years we tested. OIH – Oil Service Holders, another ETF, also showed high correlation.
Here’s an AIQ overlay chart of recent daily price action comparing FSESX vs IEZ.
 
Figure 2. Recent daily price action comparing FSESX vs IEZ.
IEZ appears to be a good surrogate for FSESX at least over the last 4 years.
We also wanted a visual of the seasonal pattern in action. Fortunately we have a tool still in development at AIQ that’s just right for this. Basically it provides a price comparison of ‘x’ numbers of years of the same ticker overlaid on each other.
Here’s 3 of the last 4 years on IEZ, the average of the years displayed is in black. We highlighted the Feb, Mar, Apr and Dec in yellow. We could have included more years but for illustration purposes it was easier to show the 3 years (the chart gets busy with too many lines on it!)
 
Figure 3 – IEZ seasonal chart (beta) for 3 years with average.
The Feb, Mar, Apr period has a definite bullish tendency, the Dec period does Ok too. You’ll notice the tendency for IEZ to fall sharply in January. Conclusion? IEZ is a reasonable surrogate for FSESX if you’re contemplating this seasonal move.
_________________________________________________________
The article this follow up is based upon is by Jay Kaeppel and is included below. Jay is Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro client. http://jayonthemarkets.com/

When to Feel ‘Energetic’ (or NOT)

If you are looking for a market sector with some serious seasonal trends, look no further than the energy sector. Previously I had noted the bullish tendency for ticker FSESX during the months of February, March and April.  In this piece, we will add one more “favorable” month and then also look at a 6-month “unfavorable” period.
For the record, the information that follows is not being recommended as a standalone strategy.  It is presented simply to make you aware of certain long-term trends that have been very persistently bullish (or bearish as the case may be) in the energy sector.
4 Favorable Months
*The four “favorable” months for our test are February, March, April and December
Figure 1 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in ticker FSESX only during these four months every year since 1986 versus simply buying-and-holding ticker FSESX.
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Figure 1 – Growth of $1,000 invested in FSESX only during Feb, Mar, Apr, Dec every year since 1986
Starting in 1986, an initial $1,000 investment grew to $76,019 (or +7,500%) versus $10,237 (or 923%) using a buy-and-hold strategy.
6 Unfavorable Months
The six “Unfavorable” months are June, July, August, September, October and November.
First the “positive” news:
*This 6-month period has managed to show a gain 14 times in 31 years – so by no means should you consider this period a “sure thing” loser
*During 4 separate years – 1997, 2003, 2004 and 2010 – the “unfavorable” months registered a cumulative gain in excess of +30%.
Doesn’t sound all that “unfavorable” so far does it?  But here’s the catch: Despite the occasional 30%or more gain, it is fair to refer to this 6-month period as “unfavorable” as the cumulative long-term results of buying and holding FSESX during these months has been nothing short of devastating.
Figure 2 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in ticker FSESX only between the end of May and the end of November every year starting in 1986.
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Figure 2 – Growth of $1,000 invested in FSESX only during June through November every year since 1986
Starting in 1986, an initial $1,000 investment declined to just $82, or a cumulative loss of -91.8%
Figure 3 displays some comparative data between favorable and unfavorable periods as well as using a Buy-and-Hold strategy.
Measure Buy-and-Hold 4 Favorable Months 6 Unfavorable Months
Average Annual % +(-) 12.8 16.5 (-4.2)
Median Annual % +(-) 8.7 15.5 (-1.8)
Standard Deviation 33.4 20.1 24.6
# Years UP 18 26 14
# Years DOWN 13 5 17
Worst Year (-55.4) 2008 (-7.6) 1994 (-62.8) 2008
$1,000 becomes $10,237 $76,019 $82
Cumulative % +(-) +923% +7,500% (-92%)
Figure 3 – Comparative Results
Figure 4 displays the year-to-year results for a Buy-and-Hold approach versus holding only during the 4 “favorable” months or the “Unfavorable” 6 months.
Year All 12 months % +(-) 4 Favorable % +(-) 6 Unfavorable % +(-)
1986 (8.9) (5.2) (9.2)
1987 (20.7) 22.9 (40.1)
1988 (4.2) 22.8 (16.3)
1989 50.3 27.1 16.2
1990 8.7 4.9 (11.2)
1991 (19.9) 4.1 (25.0)
1992 4.9 (1.6) (1.3)
1993 16.4 24.5 (10.7)
1994 (0.5) (7.6) 3.1
1995 40.0 33.7 2.0
1996 45.9 22.5 20.8
1997 43.9 (4.9) 32.9
1998 (41.4) 26.5 (50.5)
1999 80.9 74.1 7.5
2000 51.7 77.6 (21.1)
2001 (22.4) 20.8 (32.4)
2002 2.2 26.2 (18.0)
2003 13.1 15.5 (16.0)
2004 26.2 1.2 30.2
2005 47.4 4.8 34.0
2006 (9.1) (4.1) (1.8)
2007 58.3 25.6 16.7
2008 (55.4) 10.5 (62.8)
2009 60.4 24.5 9.6
2010 31.7 21.6 33.7
2011 (18.5) 3.1 (16.8)
2012 (3.9) 0.7 9.6
2013 14.1 0.3 11.5
2014 (19.5) 7.2 (26.7)
2015 (19.7) 2.9 (17.9)
2016 44.2 28.4 20.1
Figure 4 – Yearly % +(-) for Buy-and-Hold versus 4 Favorable Months versus 6 Unfavorable Months
Summary
There is no guarantee from year-to-year results of buying and holding ticker FSESX during the “Favorable 4” months will show a gain and/or outperform the “Unfavorable 6” months. And there is by no means any guarantee that the “Unfavorable 6” will show a loss during any given year (note that 2016 saw the Unfavorable 6 generate a cumulative gain of +20.1%!).  So just remember that we are talking about some very long-term  trends here.
Still, most investors can discern the difference between:
*Favorable 4 months gain = +7,500%
*Unfavorable 6 months loss = (-92%)
This type of difference is what we “quantitative types” refer to as “statistically significant.”

Out With The Old (Part 1)

Before moving on to 2017 I want to revisit a couple of “old” ideas I wrote about recently.
One 9/23/16 I wrote this article detailing a very aggressive bond trading strategy.  The model detailed essentially combined two other models that I have used for a number of years – one a “timing” model, the other  a “seasonal” model.  If either model is bullish then ticker TMF (a triple leveraged long-term treasury bond fund) is held.
As shown in Figure 1, the first model turns:
*Bullish for Bonds when the 5-week moving average for ticker EWJ drops below the 30-week moving average for ticker EWJ
*Bearish for Bonds when the 5-week moving average for ticker EWJ rises above the 30-week moving average for ticker EWJ
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Figure 1 – Bond Bull and Bear signals using ticker EWJ (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
The second model simply holds bonds during the last 5 trading days of each month
The rules for Jay’s Very Risky Bond Model (JVRBM) are as follows:
Bullish for TMF if:
*Ticker EWJ 5-week MA < Ticker EWJ 30-week MA, OR
*Today is one of the last 5 trading days of the month
Bearish for TMF if:
*EWJ 5-week MA > EWJ 30-week MA AND today IS NOT one of the last 5 trading days of the month
Figure 2 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in TMF if the bullish conditions above apply since 4/16/2009 (when TMF started trading).
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Figure 2 – Growth  of $1,000 invested in ticker TMF when JVRBM is Bullish (4/16/2009-12/30/2016)
Figure 3 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in TMF is the bearish conditions above apply since 4/16/2009 (when TMF started trading).
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Figure 3 – Growth  of $1,000 invested in ticker TMF when JVRBM is Bearish (4/16/2009-12/30/2016)
For the record:
*During the Bullish periods in 2016 ticker TMF gained +72%
*During the Bearish periods in 2016 ticker TMF lost -43%
Figure 4 displays the growth of  $1,000 invested in ticker TMF during the Bullish versus Bearish periods in 2016.
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Figure 4 – Growth of $1,000 invested in TMF during Bullish versus Bearish periods (12/31/2015-12/31/2016)
All in all not a bad year (Just don’t forget high degree of risk).
Summary
Make no mistake, this is a trading method that entails a great deal of risk.  One can reasonably ask if a long position in a triple leveraged fund of any kind is really a good idea.
But, hey, the phrase “high risk, high reward” exists for a reason.
Jay Kaeppel

Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (http://www.aiqsystems.com) client. http://jayonthemarkets.com/

U.S. Stocks Lead, World Lags (Part II)

In my last piece I note that the U.S. stock market presently stands alone in terms of recent performance. While virtually every major U.S. stock market average has run to new highs in the last several weeks, not one other individual country has really even come close. While this might induce spontaneous chants of “USA, USA”, the truth is that this may not necessarily be a good thing.
This current disconnect will likely be resolved in one of two ways:

A) The USA will drag the rest of the world screaming and kicking to enjoy in our newfound prosperity (assuming of course that we finally stumble upon that actual newfound prosperity that the stock market is telling us we should be celebrating).
B) The USA fails to pull up the rest of the world and the US stock market gets “dragged down” with the rest of the world’s bourses.
This is the part in the article where a skilled market analyst would offer up a clear and concise opinion of what will happen next and why. And if one happens to stop by the office in the next few minutes or so I will ask him or her what they think. All I know is that at the moment the US stock market is in an uptrend and that the majority of the rest of the world’s stock markets are fair to middling at best (with many looking much worse).
Until something changes I will stick to the US market, thank you very much.
A Little “Worldly” Perspective
What follows is essentially the world (stock markets) in pictures. The purpose is simply to provide you with some perspective regarding the state of the markets around the globe.
The key thing to note is:
*Figure 1 shows U.S. stocks making new highs
*Figures 2 through 6 show the rest of the world’s stock markets lagging far behind
Click Figures 1 through 6 to enlarge
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Figure 1 – U.S. Stocks soaring to new highs (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert )
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Figure 2 – My Own Index of Single Country ETFs; -17% below 2014 high (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert )
Editor’s note: information on creating your own index of ETFs or any other tickers in TradingExpert can be found here http://www.aiqsystems.com/Feb06%20OBM.pdf on page 5, titled Ability to Create Industry Groups for Your Special Trading Needs….
In Figures 3 through 6 note that the overall “stock market malaise” is not limited to one portion of our earth, but rather stretches pretty far East, West, North, South and pretty much all points in between.
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Figure 3 – Middle East Stocks; -40% below 2007 high (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert )
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Figure 4 – European Stocks; -36% below 2007 high (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert )
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Figure 5 – Asia-Pacific Stocks;-17% below 2014 high (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert )
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Figure 6 – North/South America Stocks; -22% below 2011 high (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert )
Wishing you (please choose any or all of the following that are applicable):
*Merry Christmas
*Happy New Year
*Happy Holidays
*Joy
*Peace on Earth
*[Some other phrase that you do not find offensive here]

 

Jay Kaeppel

Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro ( AIQ Systems) client. http://jayonthemarkets.com/

U.S. Stocks Lead, World Lags

In this seemingly ever more divided and ever more electronic age, “perspective” is not a word (or action) that gets mentioned (or employed) with as much frequency as it used to.  The default approach for a lot of things appears to be:
a) Decide ones opinion
b) Take to the internet to shout categorically that said opinion is the only possible “correct” opinion
c) Excoriate anyone who disagrees
Well, sure that is one approach.  But when it comes to investing it is fairly important to raise one’s head and take a look around every once in awhile.
Hey, how about now?
The U.S. Stock Market Post Election
Since the election in November the U.S. stock market has been on a quite a tear, with the major market averages breaking out to new all-time highs as seen in Figure 1.
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Figure 1 – Major market U.S. averages breakout to new highs (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Now per a, b and c above, some will argue that this is a testament to the booming economy that #44 is leaving #45 while others will argue that it is a sign of new hope for the U.S. economy under a new adminstration.
My response: Whatever
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a bull market.  I hung in there all year despite a lot of doubts mostly because my trend-following indicators just kept staying bullish.  And they remain thus.  But like I said before a little perspective can sometimes go a long way.
A New (Republican) Administration
The historical fact is that the last 3 Republican administrations that followed Democratic administrations (Nixon, Reagan, Bush 43) did not experience great “stock market joy” during their first two years in office.  Specifically, the first 21 months of the new four-year election cycle (i.e., starting on Dec. 31st of the election year through the end of September of the mid-term year) for each of these prior administrations witnessed a fair amount of “pain.”
Peruse Figures 2, 3 and 4 (which displays the % gain or loss for the Dow Jones Industrials Average for 21 months starting on December 31st of the election year) and see if you notice a trend.
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Figure 2 – Dow % +(-); Dec-1968 thru Sep-1970 (Nixon – 1st 21 months)
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Figure 3 – Dow % +(-); Dec-1980 thru Sep-1982 (Reagan – 1st 21 months)
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Figure 4 – Dow % +(-); Dec-2000 thru Sep-2002 (Bush 43 – 1st 21 months)
The Good News is that there is no reason why this history has to repeat itself this time around.  The Bad News is….that it very well could.
The Current Euphoria
As I stated earlier, when it comes to bull markets, I vote “YES”.  I will take one anytime I can get it.  And I also try to avoid being one of those “know it all types” (in the interest of full disclosure I am actually more one of those “sneaky” types who tries to intimate that he actually does know it all by trying not to act like a know it all – which is technically probably worse.  But, hey, at least now you know) who routinely “talks down” a bull market (“Oh sure, things are great now but just you wait….” And so on).  That “just you wait” stuff gets really old after a short while.
So here we stand.  The major U.S. averages are bursting forth to new highs – so who am I to be a naysayer?  Still, there is that pesky “perceptive” thing I mentioned earlier.  Before getting too carried away with bullish euphoria please sear Figures 2, 3 and 4 above somewhere into the back of your brain – just in case.
Also note that the U.S. stock market is virtually alone in the world in terms of making new highs.  Figure 5 displays:
Ticker VTI – Vanguard Total (U.S.) Stock Market ETF
Ticker VEU – Vanguard All World ex-U.S. Stock Market ETF
To be clear, ticker VTI essentially covers the entire U.S. stock market.  Ticker VEU covers a broad array of major world stock  markets BUT does not include U.S. stocks.
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Figure 5 – U.S. Total Stock Market = New Highs; World Total Stock Market = NOT New Highs (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
Note that the U.S. market has broken out strongly to new highs while the “whole world” of markets is nowhere close to doing so.  Certainly one can adopt the “What, me worry?” approach and argue that “the U.S. market will lead the other world markets to reach new highs.”  And maybe that will prove to be the case.
But as I will highlight soon – and as reflected by tickers VTI and VEU – the U.S. stock market looks great while virtually the rest of the markets around the globe look pretty not so great.  So please check back for Part II soon
In the meantime, enjoy the rally and the Holidays – I know I will.
Jay Kaeppel
Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (http://www.aiqsystems.com) client