My inner trader returns to the drawing board

Mid-week market update: To paraphrase Emperor Hirohito when he broadcast the Japan’s decision to surrender in World War II to the nation, “My inner trader’s returns have not necessarily developed to his advantage in 2020”. While the trading system was correct in spotting the major downdraft this year and the initial recovery, it was wrong to...

Why there is no V

The market has been getting excited by the prospect of a V-shaped recovery. It points to data such as the ISM Manufacturing PMI, which rose from 43.1 in May to 52.6 in June, indicating expansion. The employment index improved from 32.1 to 42.1, and the new orders index increased from 31.8 to 56.4..    ...

Can the bulls breach the island’s moat?

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...

Fun with technical analysis on the 4th of July

On this 4th of July Independence Day weekend, let’s try a change of pace and indulge in some technical analysis of a different sort. The behavioral finance basis for technical analysis is the wisdom of the crowds. Francis Galton observed a competition at a local fair in 1906 where about 800 people tried to guess...

A 2020 year

Mid-week market update: It is said that the adage “hindsight is 2020” may have been a garbled warning from a future time traveler. This year is certainly turning up like that. The S&P 500 fell -20% in Q1 2020, and recovered 20% in Q2. It’s been that kind of year. Tactically, the index is backtesting...

Q2 earnings preview: Flying blind

As Q2 earnings season is about to begin, it would be useful to assess the level of expectations going into reporting season, and the risks ahead. According to FactSet, forward 12-month EPS estimates have been bottoming and begun to turn up after a massive downdraft.     On the surface, this appears to be a...

A bleak decade for US equities

Some analysis has recently emerged pointing to a bleak decade for equities, and US equities in particular. Mark Hulbert highlighted a model outlined in the Philosophical Economics blog, entitled “the single greatest predictor of future stock market returns”. The model is based on US household allocation to equities and uses the levels as a contrarian...

The bears are capitulating

Last week, I discussed the professional career risk challenges in this market (see What professional career risk looks like). During these unusual periods of severe bifurcation between valuation and macro risk and price momentum, the investment professional is forced to make a decision based on what he believes the dominant investment regime will be in...

A major correction, or just a flesh wound?

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...

What professional career risk looks like

This is a market that defines professional career and business risk. Should investors adopt a momentum approach, or maintain caution in the face of valuation and macro risk? The stock market has recovered from the COVID-19 crash. The NASDAQ has made a fresh all-time high, and the SPX was briefly positive for 2020. Price momentum...

Trading sardines, or eating sardines?

Mid-week market update: Experienced investors know the story about the difference between trading sardines and eating sardines. Here is how Seth Klarman recounted the story: There is the old story about the market craze in sardine trading when the sardines disappeared from their traditional waters in Monterey, California. The commodity traders bid them up and...

Buy the breadth thrusts and FOMO stampede?

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...

Back to basics: Is this market overvalued?

There has been a recent continuing controversy about the usefulness of forward P/E as a valuation tool in the current recessionary environment. On one hand, past bear markets have typically bottomed out at a forward P/E ratio of 10, with a low of 7 (1982) and a high of 14 (2002). FactSet's reported market rating...

What gold tells us about confidence

How badly has the pandemic affected the global economy? The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has some answers in a recent report. It expects global human development to decline for the first time this year, and EM economies will bear the brunt of the impact. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that up to half...

Healing?

Mid-week market update: Is the market exhibiting signs of froth, or is the economy healing? There are signs of both. As Fed chair Powell indicated, the economy has encountered a health related shock, and the Fed can only do so much to stabilize markets. It cannot provide a cure. Some of the market based indicators...

Earnings Monitor: Digging in for the long haul

We are continuing our coverage of earnings season during these turbulent times. With 90% of the index having reported, this will be the final earnings monitor of the Q1 earnings season. This week, we are seeing greater additional signs of stabilization, but companies are digging for the long haul. Let's begin with the big picture....