How small caps are foreshadowing the 2022 market

Small-cap stocks have lagged their large-cap counterparts in 2021. Even as the S&P 500 steadily rose to fresh highs this year, the Russell 2000 and S&P 600 finally staged upside breakouts in November out of a multi-month trading range, but they have struggled to hold those breakouts. Small-cap relative performance peaked in March, but they...

Will portfolio rebalancing sink equities?

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...

Outside-the-box risk control = Better returns

After last week's wild market swings, it's time to have a sober discussion about risk control. I know that risk control isn't a sexy topic, but better portfolio risk control can lead to better overall returns.     The framework of analysis will not be the conventional description of risk as it is stylistically shown...

My 2020 report card

Now that 2020 has come to an end, it's time to deliver the Humble Student of the Markets report card. While some providers only highlight the good calls in their marketing material, readers will find both the good and bad news here. No investor has perfect foresight, and these report cards serve to dissect the...

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...

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...

Factor review: Narrow leadership and its implications

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...

Factor investing: Theory vs. practice

As regular readers know, I have been an advocate of taking an overweight in cyclical exposure in equity portfolios (for the latest update, see Adventures in banking). While I continue to believe that the approach is sound, the reality has been less than fully satisfactory in the US. Among the cyclical groups, the semiconductors are...

An upcoming seismic shift in factor returns

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...

Whatever happened to the Momentum Massacre?

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...

Market breakout = FOMO surge?

Mid-week market update: Last week's upside breakout through resistance was impressive. Since then, the market has consolidated above the breakout level, but a FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) rally has yet to materialize. In the past, such surges have been accompanied by a series of "good overbought"  5-day RSI readings, signs of buying stampedes from...

Fun with quant: Pure and naïve factors

A reader alerted me to a CNBC report of a bullish analysis by Bespoke's Paul Hickey: Bespoke Investment’s Paul Hickey believes a market hot streak is unfolding. The independent market researcher is building his bullish case by zeroing in on the Citi Economic Surprise Index, which is built to measure optimism in the economy. In...

Fun with quant: MS Business Conditions edition

Marketwatch recently reported that Morgan Stanley's Business Conditions Index had deteriorated to levels last seen during the 2007-08 financial crisis. Wow! Is this an alarming signal, or contrarian?     In reality, it was a lesson for data analysts in quantitative analysis.   Looking for confirmation When I see a surprising result, I look for confirmation....

How to buy “smart” Value

Value investing has taken it on the chin in the last decade, as the style has badly lagged the market. Callum Thomas documented how value discount has grown over the last decade. The discount has fallen to levels last seen at the height of the NASDAQ Bubble, when internet related stocks came crashing to earth,...

There is no magic black box to profits

Mid-week market update: Since my publication detailing the Zweig Breadth Thrust buy signal (see A rare "what's my credit card limit" buy signal), I have been inundated with questions about the possible twists and turns of the market after such a signal. I discussed this issue extensively in 2015 (see The Zweig Breadth Thrust as...

Say goodbye to the nostalgia of Trump’s 1950’s America

Last week, Donald Trump tweeted his dissatisfaction with General Motors' decision to close four US plants.   I feel his pain. Indeed, wage growth in Old Economy industries have been stagnant for quite some time.   The WSJ wrote an editorial in response: President Trump believes he can command markets like King Canute thought he could...

How fat tails could mean fat profits

The CBOE Short-Term Volatility Index (VXST) measures volatility over a 9-days. In effect, it's the 9-day VIX, which measures 1-month volatility.   VXST closed at 21.17 last week. indicating that the market expects an annualized volatility of 21.17% over the next 9-days. When I translate that to a weekly volatility by taking the 52nd root...