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 Asset Allocation 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 a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don’t buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.
The latest signals of each model are as follows:
- Ultimate market timing model: Sell equities
- Trend Model signal: Neutral
- Trading model: Bearish
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.
Subscribers can access the latest signal in real-time here.
A sentiment buy signal?
Consider the average recommended equity exposure level among a subset of short-term stock-market timers that I monitor on a daily basis. (This is what’s measured by my Hulbert Stock Newsletter Sentiment Index, or HSNSI.) This average currently stands at 30.1%, which means that the average timer now has 70% of his equity trading portfolio out of the market.
Just three weeks, ago, in contrast, the HSNSI stood at 65.9%. As you can see from the chart below, the HSNSI’s recent plunge rivals what happened during the February-March waterfall decline. That’s amazing, since the market’s early September sell-off — scary as it was — is child’s play by comparison. In contrast to a 34% plunge in the earlier downturn, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.05% from Sep. 2 to Sep. 8 lost less than 7%.
Other indicators begs to differ
We’re currently in the seventh of those great waves, which began about six years ago. Added Rhodes-Kropf: M&A waves tend to accelerate right before they end. And recent M&A activity does appear to be such an acceleration. “I’m not predicting the end,” he said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re near the end.”
One of the factors fueling the acceleration of M&A activity are the SPACs that are falling over themselves going public. There are the Special Purpose Acquisition Companies that are otherwise known as “Blank Check Companies.” SPACs have no business operations; they are created solely to raise money that would enable them to acquire other already-existing companies.
Another key component of my Trifecta Bottom Spotting Model, namely the term structure of the VIX, is not even inverted indicating a lack of fear. While TRIN did spike above 2 on Thursday as a sign of panic selling, the intermediate term overbought/oversold model has not reached the deeply oversold conditions consistent with an intermediate bottom. In the past, two or more of the components of this model needed to flash simultaneously buy signals before the market can see a durable trading bottom.
The week ahead