Category Archives: seasonal

The (Potential) Bullish Case for Bonds

OK, first the bad news.  In terms of the long-term, we are probably in the midst of a rising interest rate environment.  Consider the information contained in Figure 1 from McClellan Financial Publications.

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Figure 1 – The 60-year cycle in interest rates (Courtesy: www.mscoscillator.com)

Though no cycle is ever perfect, it is only logical to look at Figure 1 and come away thinking that rates will rise in the years (and possibly decades) ahead.  And one should plan accordingly, i.e.:

*Eschew large holdings of long-term bonds. Remember that a bond with a “duration” -Google that term as it relates to bonds please – of 15 implies that if interest rates rise 1 full percentage point then that bond will lose roughly 15% of principal.  Ouch.

*Stick to short to intermediate term bonds (which will reinvest at higher rates more quickly than long-term bonds as rates rise) and possibly some exposure to floating rate bonds.

That is “The Big Picture”.

In the meantime, there is a potential bullish case to be for bonds in the shorter-term.  The “quick and dirty” guide to “where are bonds headed next” appears in the monthly and weekly charts of ticker TLT (iShares 20+ years treasury bond ETF).  Note the key support and resistance levels drawn on these charts.

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Figure 2 – Monthly TLT with support and resistance (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

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Figure 3 – Weekly TLT with support and resistance (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

There is nothing magic about these lines, but a break above resistance suggests a bull move, a break below support suggests a bear move, and anything in between suggests a trading range affair.

Now let’s look at some potentially positive influences.  Figure 4 displays a screen from the excellent site www.sentimentrader.com that shows that sentiment regarding the long treasury bond is rock bottom low.  As a contrarian sign this is typically considered to be bullish.

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Figure 4 – 30-year treasury investor sentiment is extremely low (Courtesy Sentimentrader.com)

Figure 5 – also from www.sentimentrader.com – suggests that bonds may be entering a “bullish” seasonal period between now and at least late-November (and possibly as long as late January 2019).

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Figure 5 – 30-year treasury seasonality (Courtesy Sentimentrader.com)

Figure 6 displays the 30-year treasury bond yield (multiplied by 10 for some reason).  While rates have risen 27% from the low (from 2.51% to 3.18%), they still remain below the long-term 120-month exponential moving average.

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Figure 6 – Long-term treasury bond yields versus 120-month moving average (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)

Finally, two systems that I developed that deems the bond trend bullish or bearish based on the movements of 1) metals, and 2) Japanese stocks turned bullish recently.  The bond market has fallen since these bullish signal were flashed – possibly as a result of the anticipated rate hike from the Fed.  Now that that hike is out of the way we should keep a close eye on bonds for a potential advance in the months ahead.

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Figure 7 – Bonds tend to move inversely to Japanese stocks; Ticker EWJ 5-week average is below 30-week average, i.e., potentially bullish for bonds (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)

Summary

It’s a little confusing here.

a)  The “long-term” outlook for bonds is very “iffy”, so bond “investors” should continue to be cautious – as detailed above.

b) On the other hand, there appears to be a chance that bonds are setting up for a rally in the near-term.

c) But, in one final twist, remember that if TLT takes out its recent support level, all bullish bets are off.

Are we having fun yet?

Jay Kaeppel

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.

One Good Reason NOT to Pick a Bottom in DIS

A better title for this article might be “How to Avoid Losing 98% in Disney.”
The recent dip in the price of Disney stock may ultimately prove to be a buying opportunity.  But for reasons detailed below I am going to let this one pass.
If you have read my stuff in the past you know that I look a lot at seasonal trends.  This is especially true for sectors and commodities – which in some cases can be tied to recurring fundamental factors.  I have occasionally looked at individual stocks (here and here and here), but tend to think that an individual company’s fundamentals can change so drastically over time that a persistent seasonal trend is less likely.
It appears that there are exceptions to every rule.
In Figure 1 below we see that after a strong run up from its 2009 low, Disney finally topped out in August of 2015. Since that time it’s been a string of large moves up and down – with the latest being down. This might prompt one to consider the latest dip as a buying opportunity.  And in fact, maybe it is. But I won’t be making that play myself based simply on a seasonal trend in DIS stock that was highlighted by Brooke Thackray in his book Thackray’s 2017 Investor’s Guide.
0Figure 1 – Is latest dip in DIS a buying opportunity?  Maybe, but history suggests we look elsewhere….(Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
When NOT to Own Disney Stock
In his book, Thackray highlights the period from June 5th through the end of September as an “unfavorable” period for DIS stock.  He also listed a specific “favorable” period that I’ll not mention here.  For purposes of this article I made the following changes:
*The “unfavorable” period begins at the close on the 5th trading day of June and ends at the close on the last trading day of September.
*The rest of the year – i.e., end of September until the close on the 5th trading day of June – is considered the “favorable” period.
Also, the test uses price data only.  No dividends are included nor is any interest assumed to be earned while out of DIS stock.
The results are fairly striking.  From the end of 1971 through the end of 2016:
*$1,000 invested in DIS on a buy-and-hold basis grew +8,042% to $81,422 (average annual +/- = +15.8%)
*$1,000 invested in DIS only during the “favorable” period grew +430,874% to $4,309,735 (average annual +/- = +25.0%)
*$1,000 invested in DIS only during the “unfavorable” period declined -98% to $18.89 (average annual +/- = (-6.9%))
It’s sort of hard to ignore the difference between +430,784% and -98%.
Figure 1 displays the cumulative performance during the unfavorable period from 1971 through 2016.
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Figure 1 – Growth of $1,000 invested in DIS only from close of June Trading Day #5 through the end of September (1971-2016)
Figure 2 displays the growth of $1,000 during the favorable period (blue line) versus a buy-and-hold approach (red line).
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Figure 2 – Growth of $1,000 invested in DIS only from the end of September through June Trading Day #5 (blue) versus Buy-and-Hold (red); 1971-2016
*The favorable period showed a net gain in 39 out of 45 years (87%)
*The unfavorable period showed a net gain in only 13 out of 45 years (29%)
*Buy-and-hold showed a net gain in 28 out of 45 years (62%)
Figure 3 displays year-by-year results.
Year Favorable Unfavorable Buy/Hold
1972 78.1 (3.5) 71.9
1973 (53.5) (12.0) (59.1)
1974 4.4 (56.4) (54.4)
1975 175.6 (12.4) 141.5
1976 5.2 (6.9) (2.0)
1977 (28.2) 19.1 (14.4)
1978 4.6 (3.3) 1.2
1979 1.2 10.5 11.9
1980 20.8 (5.8) 13.8
1981 42.8 (28.7) 1.9
1982 16.0 4.4 21.1
1983 (5.7) (11.6) (16.7)
1984 25.6 (9.6) 13.6
1985 94.4 (3.3) 88.0
1986 98.3 (23.0) 52.8
1987 14.6 20.1 37.6
1988 4.2 6.5 10.9
1989 32.7 28.3 70.3
1990 28.4 (29.4) (9.3)
1991 14.4 (1.5) 12.8
1992 51.3 (0.7) 50.2
1993 16.0 (14.5) (0.8)
1994 23.2 (12.4) 7.9
1995 27.7 0.3 28.0
1996 18.4 0.0 18.4
1997 43.3 (0.9) 41.9
1998 36.9 (33.6) (9.1)
1999 15.8 (15.8) (2.5)
2000 4.0 (4.8) (1.1)
2001 23.6 (42.1) (28.4)
2002 12.6 (30.1) (21.3)
2003 50.9 (5.2) 43.0
2004 28.9 (7.6) 19.2
2005 (2.5) (11.6) (13.8)
2006 41.8 0.8 43.0
2007 (6.2) 0.4 (5.8)
2008 (24.4) (7.0) (29.7)
2009 29.1 10.1 42.1
2010 16.1 0.2 16.3
2011 30.4 (23.4) (0.0)
2012 15.9 14.6 32.8
2013 54.3 (0.6) 53.4
2014 17.2 5.2 23.3
2015 20.4 (7.3) 11.6
2016 5.0 (5.6) (0.8)
2017 ? ? ?
# Years UP 39 13 28
# Years DOWN 6 32 17
Average % +/- 25.0 (6.9) 15.8
Figure 3 – Year-by-Year Results
Summary
Brooke Thackray found an extremely interesting and robust “unfavorable” seasonal trend in DIS stock.  Of course none of the data above guarantees that DIS stock is doomed to languish and/or decline in the months ahead.  But I for one do not intend to “buck the odds” and play the long side of DIS for a while.
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.

With Retailers, it’s ‘When’ Not ‘What’

I’ve been seeing a number of panicked missives lately regarding the retailing sector.  They typically go something like this:
“Despite new highs for most of the major market indexes, the retailing sector has been struggling – and in some cases hit hard – therefore it is clearly (paraphrasing here) THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, AHHHHHHHHHHHHH……………………..”
Or something along those lines.  And the truth is that they may be right.  But as it turns out, with the retailing sector it is typically more a question of “when” and not “what” (or even WTF
Recent Results
The concerns alluded to above are understandable given recent results in certain segments of the retailing sector. Figure 1 displays the stock price action for four major retailers.  It isn’t pretty.
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Figure 1 – Major retailers taking a hit (Chart courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)
So if major retailers are performing poorly one can certainly see why someone might extrapolate this to conclude that the economy is not firing on all cylinders and that the recent rally to new highs by the major averages is just a mirage.  And again, that opinion may ultimately prove to be correct this time around.
But before swearing off of retailing stocks, consider the following.
Retailers – When not What
For our test we will use monthly total return data for the Fidelity Select Retailing sector fund (ticker FSRPX).  Figure 2 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in FSRPX only during the months of:
*February, March, April, May, November, December
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Figure 2 – Growth of $1,000 invested in ticker FSRPX only during the “favorable” months since 1986
For the record:
*An initial $1,000 grew to $50,274, or +4,927% (this test does not include any interest earned during the months out of FSRPX).
*# of years showing a net gain = 27
*# of years showing a net loss = 4
*Average UP year = +17.0%
*Average DOWN year = (-3.4%)
*Maximum UP Year = +50.0% (1990)
*Maximum DOWN Year = (-5.9%) (1994)
The Year-by-Year Results appear in Figure 3
Year % +(-)
1986 26.2
1987 15.8
1988 12.2
1989 16.9
1990 50.0
1991 45.5
1992 8.0
1993 4.6
1994 (5.9)
1995 3.0
1996 26.1
1997 18.1
1998 45.7
1999 4.0
2000 1.8
2001 12.5
2002 (0.1)
2003 18.5
2004 11.3
2005 10.3
2006 0.1
2007 (2.8)
2008 (4.7)
2009 44.9
2010 24.5
2011 4.6
2012 10.8
2013 16.6
2014 11.5
2015 6.1
2016 9.2
Figure 3 – Year-by-Year Results for  “Favorable” Months since 1986
The Rest of the Year
If for some reason you had decided to skip the months above and hold FSRPX only during all of the other months of the year, your results appear in Figure 4.4
Figure 4 – Growth of $1,000 invested in ticker FSRPX only during the “unfavorable” months since 1986
For the record:
*An initial $1,000 grew to $1,037, or +3.7% (this test does not include any interest earned during the months out of FSRPX).
Summary
Is the retailing sector guaranteed to generate a gain during our “favorable” months in 2017?  Not at all.  Still, given that retailing is presently beaten down a bit and the fact that the worst full year loss during the favorable months was -5.9%, it may be time to think about taking a look (although – as always, and for the record – I am not “recommending” retailing stocks, only pointing out the historical trends).
Still, as the old saying goes, the results below are what we “quantitative types” refer to as “statistically significant”.
*Favorable months since 1986 = +4,927%
*Unfavorable months since 1986 = +3.7%
 Jay Kaeppel

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

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.”

Seasonal Bonds Strategy using TMF

Recently Jay Kaeppel of Jay On The Markets posted an update on the Seasonal Bonds Strategy using TMF. The gist of the strategy is straightforward,  “Long TMF on the last 5 day of each month” 

I’ve posted the article below. 

Here’s a seasonal chart of the last 3 years with the average of the 3 years (black line). I colored the last 5 trading days of the average line in yellow to see what Jay was referring to. 8 of the 12 months were positive, 2 flat and 2 negative. Looks pretty good. At the bottom of the page you can see the returns this strategy yields.

BTW this Chart type, known as a seasonality chart will be included in the next AIQ TradingExpert Pro release this fall (OK marketing bit over) 



On 3/15/15 I wrote about an even more aggressive strategy using triple-leveraged ticker TMF that tracks long-term t-bonds using leverage of 3-to-1.
So of course the bond market rewarded my “brilliance” with a swift kick in the you know where in the months of March and April 2015 and especially in August 2015.
This would typically be enough to cause many people to go, “Well that guy’s and idiot” and to move on.  But fortunately in this case, the market is a marathon and not a sprint.
Update
Figure 1 displays the results generated by:
*Holding long 1 t-bond futures contract ONLY for the last 5 days of each month since 12/30/1983
*Holding long 1 t-bond futures contract during all other days since 12/30/19831
Figure 1 – Long 1 t-bond futures contract ONLY during last 5 trading days of month (blue) versus long 1 t-bond futures contract on all other days  (red); 12/31/1983-8/12/2016
The results sort of speak for themselves.
After I wrote about my aggressive TMF strategy, TMF (of course) got hit very hard (as triple leveraged ETFs will do from time to time, hence the use of the words “aggressive” and “risky”), in March 2015 (-4.5%), April 2015 (-5.3%) and especially in August 2015 (-11.5%).
Still, as you can see in Figure 2, things have rebounded nicely since (hmmm, maybe I should be worried).2
Figure 2– Growth of $1,000 Long ETF ticker TMF ONLY during last 5 trading days of month (blue) versus long TMF all other days; (red); 12/9/2009-8/12/2016
So far the “Long TMF on the last 5 day of each month” strategy is up +31.8% for the year in 2016.
Year Last 5 TDM Long TMF
2009* +12.9%
2010 +33.4%
2011 +15.2%
2012 +35.7%
2013 +6.7%
2014 +45.7%
2015 +6.8%
2016** +31.8%
*-Starting 4/16/2009 when TMF started trading
**-Through 8/12/2016
Summary
So did this odd little strategy “weather the storm” and “take the market’s best shot” in 2015 and now it is “smooth sailing”?  Probably not.  Make no mistake – this is a strategy that entails a great deal of risk.  Still, for aggressive traders looking for an “edge”, it might be worth a closer look.
Jay Kaeppel

The 3 Days of the Month to Avoid

Some days are just better than others – am I right or am I right?  As a corollary, some days are worse than others.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know in advance which days were going to be which?

Well, when it comes to the stock market, maybe you can.

The 3 Days to Miss

For our purposes we will refer to the very last trading day of the month as TDM -1.  The day before that will be TDM -2, the one before that TDM -3, etc.  Now let’s focus specifically on TDMs -7, -6 and -5.

Let’s now assume that we will buy and hold the Dow Jones Industrials Average every day of every month EXCEPT for those three days – i.e., we will sell at the close of TDM -8 every single month and buy back in 3 days later.  We will refer to this as Jay’s -765 Method.  Granted some may not be comfortable trading this often, but before dismissing the idea please consider the results.

Figure 1 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in the Dow as described above versus the growth of $1,000 from buying and holding the Dow.

*The starting date for this test is 12/1/1933.
*For this test no interest is assumed on the 3 days a month spent out of the market.
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Figure 1 – Growth of $1,000 invested in Dow Industrials during all days EXCEPT TDM -7,TDM -6 and TDM -5 (blue line) versus $1,000 invested in Dow Industrials using buy-and-hold (red line); 12/1/1933-8/15/2016

For the record:
*Jay’s -765 Method gained +94,190%
*The Dow buy-and-hold gained +18,745%

While these results are compelling, the real “Wow” comes from looking at would have happened if you had been long the Dow ONLY on TDMs -7,-6 and -5 every month since 1933.  These results appear in Figure 2 (but you’d better brace yourself before taking a glance).
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Figure 2 – Growth of $1,000 invested in the Dow ONLY on the 7th to last, 6th to last and 5th to last trading days of every month since 12/1/1933

The net result is an almost unrelenting 83 year decline of -80%.

Summary

I would guess that some readers would like me to offer a detailed and logical reason as to why this works.  Unfortunately, I will have to go with my stock answer of “It beats me.”  Of course, as a proud graduate of “The School of Whatever Works” (Team Cheer: “Whatever!”) I am not as interested in the “Why” of things as I am the “How Much.”

Sorry, it’s just my nature.

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

August/September – Play it Safe or Swing for the Fences?

We are entering an “interesting” time of year for investors (Unfortunately, that’s “Interesting” as in the ancient Chinese curse stating “May you live in interesting times”).
Now I personally I have no idea if the stock market is going to break out to the upside and rally to further new highs or if this latest lull will be followed by a painful reversal of fortune.  I am willing to play the long side as long as things are holding up/moving in the right direction.  But investors should be aware that the August/September timeframe is the “Danger Zone” for the stock market historically.
August/September Historically
Figure 1 speaks for itself.  The chart displays the growth of $1000 invested in the Dow Jones Industrials Average only during the months of August and September every year starting in1934.
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Figure 1 – Growth of $1,000 invested in Dow Jones Industrials Average (using price data only) ONLY during August and September; 12/31/1933-present
Two key takeaways:
*The net result has been a loss of -53% or the past 82 year.  Not exactly the kind of returns most of us are looking for.
HOWEVER
*Despite the negative net results, the fact is that the Aug/Sep period has showed a gain more often (45 times) than not (37 times).
So while caution appears to be in order, no one should assume that the next two months are doomed to show a loss.
Stocks versus Bonds
Figure 2 compares the performance of:
Ticker VFINX – Vanguard S&P 500 Index fund
*Ticker VFIIX – Vanguard Mortgage Bond Fund
(*VFIIX is used as a proxy for intermediate-term treasuries as it has a high correlation to IT treasuries and a longer data history.  Any short-to-intermediate term treasury fund or ETF would likely produce similar results)
The test starts in 1980 (when VFIIX started trading) and shows the total return for buying and holding each fund ONLY during the months of August and September each year since.
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Figure 2 – Growth of $1,000 invested in VFINX (stocks; blue line) versus VFIIX (bonds; red line); August 1980 to present
Summary
So what will it be this year?  A breakout to new highs?  Or something much worse?  I wish I could tell you the answer.  But at least now you have some information to help guide your “speculative” versus “conservative” instincts in the months ahead.
Jay Kaeppel
Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (http://www.aiqsystems.com) client

The World is Your Oyster – 4 Days a Month

Some things are just plain hard to explain.  I did the following test using all 17 of the iShares single country funds that started trading 1996:
I tested the performance of each single country ETF on each specific trading day of the month (i.e., the 1st trading day of any month is TDM 1, the next day is TDM 2, etc.)
I also examined the last 7 trading days of the month counting backwards (i.e., the last trading day of the month is TDM -1, the day before that is TDM -2, etc.)
The basic idea was to see if there were any consistently favorable or unfavorable days of the month.  I wasn’t necessarily expecting much given that the stock markets of each of 17 different countries could  rightly be expected to “walk to the beat of their own drum”, given that the fundamentals underlying the stock market in any given country may be unique from that of other countries.
Or maybe not so much.
For what it is worth, the results from 3/25/1996 through 6/20/2016 appear in Figure 1.
(click to enlarge)
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Figure 1 – Trading Day of Month Results for 17 iShares single country ETFs; 3/25/96 through 6/20/16
Each column displays the cumulative % return for each individual single country ETF if we held a long position in that ETF on only that particular trading day of the month.
As you can see – and what are the odds of this, I am not even sure how to calculate that – there are 4 days (highlighted in green in Figure 1) that were uniformly “favorable”, i.e., all 17 ETFs showed a net gain on that particular trading day of the month (for the record, there are three trading days – TDM #7 and TDMs -7 and -6 – during which all  17 ETFs showed a net loss (highlighted in yellow in Figure 1.  Go figure).
Using as a Strategy
I am not recommended the following strategy, but wanted to test it out for arguments sake.  Figure 2 displays the results of the following test:
*Buy and hold an equally weighted position in all 17 single country ETFs only on TDM 1, 9, 13 and -4 (i.e., if Friday is the last trading day of the month then – barring a holiday – TDM -4 would be the Tuesday of that week), earn annualized interest of 1% per month while out of ETFs.
*Versus simply buying and holding all 17 single country ETFs from 3/25/1996 through 6/20/2016.
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Figure 2 – Cumulative % return for holding all 17 single country ETF only 4 days a month (blue) versus buying and holding (red); 3/25/96 through 6/20/16
Summary
Yes, this model can probably be accused of being “curve fit”.  Also, does anybody really want to trade in and out of 17 single country ETFs 4 times a month?  I don’t know.  But the bigger points are:
*Why would all 17 single country ETFs all be up (or down) on a particular day of the month over a 20 year period?
*If I were considering buying and holding a cross section of individual country ETF’s, um, well, I can’t help but think that I would be haunted by the thought that there might be a better way.
Jay Kaeppel
Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (http://www.aiqsystems.com) client

Beware the Middle of May

The beginning of the month of May and the end of the month of May into early June have overall been a decent time to be in the stock market.  The middle of May, typically not so much.
For our purposes we will split May (into June) into three segments:
*Segment 1: The first 3 trading days of May (Bullish)
*Segment 2: May trading days #4 through #16 (Bearish)
*Segment 3: May trading day #17 through the 5th trading day of June
Figure 1 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in the Dow Jones Industrials Average only during the first three trading days of May since 1934.
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Figure 1 – Growth of $1,000 invested in Dow Industrials during 1st three trading days of May (1934-present)
Figure 2 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in the Dow Jones Industrials Average only during trading days 4 through 16 of May since 1934.
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Figure 2 – Growth of $1,000 invested in Dow Industrials during trading days 4 through 16 of May (1934-present)
Figure 3 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in the Dow Jones Industrials Average only from the close of May trading day #16 and the close of the 5th trading day of June.
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Figure 3 – Growth of $1,000 invested in Dow Industrials during trading days #17 and higher during May and the 1st five trading days of June  (1934-present)
Combining and Comparing
In Figure 4 the blue line displays the growth of $1,000 invested in the Dow only during Segment #1 and Segment #3.  The red line displays the growth of $1,000 invested in the Dow only during Segment #2.
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Figure 4 – Growth of $1,000 during Segments 1 and 3 (blue) versus Segment 2 (red)
*During Segments #1 and #3 the Dow gained +157.5%
*During Segment #2 the Dow lost -51.1%
During 2016:
*Segment #1 extends from the close on 4/29/16 through the close on 5/4/16
*Segment #2 extends from the close on 5/4/16 through the close on 5/23/16
*Segment #3 extends from the close on 5/23/16 through the close on 6/7/16
Summary
So is the Dow sure to gain ground during Segments #1 and 3 and to lose ground during Segment #2?  Not at all.  For the record:
*Segments 1 and 3 combined have gained an average of +1.2% with 65% of years showing a gain and 35% showing a loss
*Segments 2 has lost an average of (-0.8%) with 49% of years showing a gain and 51% showing a loss
So clearly there are no “sure things” being unveiled here.  Still, if the early days of May see the stock market register a meaningful gain it might make sense to avoid jumping on to the band wagon.
At least for another 13 trading days.….
Jay Kaeppel
Chief Market Analyst at JayOnTheMarkets.com and AIQ TradingExpert Pro (http://www.aiq.com) client