The ways your trading model could lead you astray

I have had a number of discussions with subscribers asking for more "how to" posts (see Teaching my readers how to fish). This will be one of a series of occasional posts on how to build a robust investment process. For traders and investors, one of the challenges is how to build a robust discipline...

Top-down meets bottom-up: How expensive are stocks?

Recently, I have seen several variations of market analysis concluding that stocks are expensive based on forward P/E ratios. Here is a tweet from Jeroen Blokland. David Rosenberg characterized the current equity environment as picking up pennies in front of a steamroller.     Blokland followed up the above tweet with an additional comment indicating...

Dangerous over-valuation, or a New Era?

Business Insider recently featured a chart from Vanguard Group founder Jack Bogle, who observed that the market cap to GDP ratio has become highly elevated to its own history starting about 1996. You might recall that the market cap to GDP ratio was also said to be one of Warren Buffett's favorite equity market valuation...

Is a recession just around the corner?

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...

Why a crowded VIX short isn’t equity bearish

Mid-week market update: Two weeks ago, I had forecast a minor stock market pullback as the SPX neared 2200 (see The market catches round number-itis). The corrective move hasn't happened and remain in a tight trading range. The one bright spot for the bull case is stock prices haven't fallen in response to bad news,...

Three key macro factors to watch in today`s market

I have spent a lot of time in these pages writing about the influence of macro-economic factors on market analysis. Indeed, Matt King at Citigroup recently highlighted the growing importance of macro factors on the equity market (chart via Bloomberg): [Please see Bloomberg story for chart]   Here are three key macro factors that I...

How to beat Wall Street analysts at their own earnings game

In the past few months, I have received a lot of feedback and criticism over my use of forward 12-month EPS estimates, such as the chart below that appeared in last weekend`s post (see Brexit panic: A gift from the market gods?). I would like to clarify why this form of analysis matters and this...

Updates on the Brexit, energy and SPX trades

Mid-week market update: Rather than the usual mid-week market technical comment, I thought that I would present updates on a number of trades that I had suggested in the past: How to play the Brexit referendum (published February 29, 2016): Setting up for a trade? A possible generational low in oil and energy stocks (published January 20, 2016):...

The dirty little secret behind “smart beta” investing

Some minor buzz has arisen among finance academics and professionals as a result of a paper by Ronald Kahn and Michael Lemmon, both of whom are employed by Blackrock, entitled The Asset Manager’s Dilemma: How Smart Beta Is Disrupting the Investment Management Industry. Here is the abstract: Smart beta products are a disruptive financial innovation...

Building the ultimate market timing model

I've been giving much thought about the investment philosophy behind the post over at Philosophical Economics about the GTT market timing model. To understand what`s behind his investment philosophy, let`s start back with first principles of equity investing. The equity claim represent the "stub" claim behind debt, or bond financing in a company and therefore...

Explaining the lack of capitulation (and what it means)

Dana Lyons recently wrote a terrific piece about the level of complacency in the current bout of stock market weakness. The SPX had fallen over 9% in two weeks, but the VIX Index was barely challenging its December highs and it was nowhere near the highs set during the August/September selloff.   He found that past...

Revealing the secret behind trend following models

The blogger Jesse Livermore at Philosophical Economics recently wrote another brilliant post about the use of trend following models and market timing. He found that trend following models work very well on diversified stock indices, but didn't really understand the mechanism of how they worked. As I pride myself on being a left and right...

Demographics and gold: Something doesn’t add up

This is another in a series of occasional posts on quantitative analysis. I am indebted to Josh Brown for pointing me to an article by Larry Swedroe, which discusses a study on demographics and real interest rates. While I found that I can derive significant insights from single variable studies like these, the world is...