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Latest Market Research Articles

Inflation Forecast Update

The Inflation Forecast now incorporates actual total and core Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for September 2014. The actual total (core) inflation rate for September is lower than (about the same as) forecasted.

The new actual and forecasted inflation rates will flow into Real Earnings Yield Model projections at the end of the month.

End-of-Quarter Effect

Does the U.S. stock market offer a predictable pattern of returns around the ends of calendar quarters? Do funds deploy cash to bid stocks up at quarter ends to boost portfolio values at the end of reporting periods (with subsequent reversals)? Or, do they sell stocks to raise cash for fund redemptions? Is the end-of-quarter effect the same as the Turn-of-the-Month (TOTM) effect? To investigate, we examine average daily stock market returns from 10 trading days before to 10 trading days after the ends of calendar quarters. We compare these returns to those for turns of calendar months. Using daily closes for the S&P 500 Index for January 1950 through September 2014 (259 quarters), we find that: Keep Reading

Unemployment Rate and Stock Market Returns

The business media and expert commentators sometimes cite the U.S. unemployment rate as an indicator of economic and stock market health, generally interpreting a jump (drop) in the unemployment rate as bad (good) for stocks. Conversely, investors may interpret a falling unemployment rate as a trigger for increases in the Federal Reserve target interest rate (and adverse stock market reactions). Is this indicator in fact predictive of U.S. stock market behavior in subsequent months, quarters and years? Using the monthly unemployment rate from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and contemporaneous S&P 500 Index data for the period January 1950 through September 2014 (777 months), we find that: Keep Reading

Employment and Stocks Over the Intermediate Term

U.S. job gains or losses are a prominent element of the monthly investment-related news cycle, with the the business media and expert commentators generally interpreting changes in employment as an indicator of future economic and stock market health. One line of reasoning is that jobs generate personal income, which spurs personal consumption, which boosts corporate earnings and lifts the stock market. Are employment trends in fact predictive of U.S. stock market behavior in subsequent months, quarters and years? Using monthly seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and contemporaneous S&P 500 Index data for the period January 1950 through September 2014 (777 months), we find that: Keep Reading

Martin Zweig’s Four Percent Model

A reader inquired about the validity of Martin Zweig’s Four Percent Model, which states (from pages 93-94 of the 1994 version of Martin Zweig’s Winning on Wall Street):

“The Four Percent Model for the stock market works as follows. First, It uses the Value Line Composite Index…an unweighted price index of approximately seventeen hundred stocks… All you need to construct this model is the weekly close of the Value Line Composite. You can ignore the daily numbers if you wish… This trend-following model gives a buy signal when the weekly Value Line Index rallies 4% or more from any weekly close. It then gives a sell signal when the weekly close of the Value Line Composite drops by 4% or more from any weekly peak. …That’s all there is to it. …The model is designed to force you to stay with the market trend.”

We execute this description as follows (after identifying the first signal):

  • After a buy signal, generate the next sell signal upon a 4% or greater decline from a subsequent high water mark (including the buy signal level).
  • After a sell signal, generate the next buy signal upon a 4% or greater advance from a subsequent low water mark (including the sell signal level).

We test the usefulness of the signals on the following exchange-traded funds (ETF) over their entire available histories: SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), PowerShares QQQ (QQQ), iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM) and Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight (RSP). Using weekly closes of the Value Line Geometric Index and the dividend-adjusted weekly opens of  the selected ETFs from their respective inceptions through September 2014, we find that:

Keep Reading

Weekly Summary of Research Findings: 10/13/14 – 10/17/14

Below is a weekly summary of our research findings for 10/13/14 through 10/17/14. These summaries give you a quick snapshot of our content the past week so that you can quickly decide what’s relevant to your investing needs.

Subscribers: To receive these weekly digests via email, click here to sign up for our mailing list. Keep Reading

Simple Tests of Sy Harding’s Seasonal Timing Strategy

Several readers have inquired about the performance of Sy Harding’s Street Smart Report Online, which includes the Seasonal Timing Strategy. This strategy combines “the market’s best average calendar entry [October 16] and exit [April 20] days with a technical indicator, the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD).” According to Street Smart Report Online, applying this strategy to a Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) index fund generated a cumulative return of 213% during 1999 through 2012, compared to 93% for the DJIA itself. As a robustness test, we apply this strategy to the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) exchange-traded fund since its inception. Using daily dividend-adjusted closing prices for SPY and daily 13-week Treasury bill (T-bill) yields during 1/29/93 (inception of SPY) through 9/30/14, we find that: Keep Reading

Kaeppel’s Sector Seasonality Strategy

A reader suggested looking at the strategy described in “Kaeppel’s Corner: Sector Seasonality” (from November 2005) and updated in “Kaeppel’s Corner: Get Me Back, Clarence” (from October 2007). The steps of this calendar-based sector strategy are:

  1. Buy Fidelity Select Technology (FSPTX) at the October close.
  2. Switch from FSPTX to Fidelity Select Energy (FSENX) at the January close.
  3. Switch from FSENX to cash at the May close.
  4. Switch from cash to Fidelity Select Gold (FSAGX) at the August close.
  5. Switch from FSAGX to cash at the September close.
  6. Repeat by switching from cash to FSPTX at the October close.

Does this strategy materially and persistently outperform? To investigate, we compare results for three alternative strategies: (1) Kaeppel’s Sector Seasonality strategy (Sector Seasonality); (2) buy and hold Vanguard 500 Index Investor (VFINX) as an investable broad index benchmark (VFINX); and, (3) a simplified seasonal strategy using only VFINX from the October close through the May close and cash otherwise (VFINX /Cash). Using monthly dividend-adjusted closing levels for FSPTX, FSENX, FSAGX, the 13-week Treasury bill (T-bill) yield as the return on cash and VFINX over the period December 1985 through September 2014 (almost 29 years), we find that: Keep Reading

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Editor Archive Picks

Concentrating the Value Premium and Momentum with FSCORE

…or a broad sample of firms over the period 1972 through 2008 (117,412 firm-year observations), they find that: FSCORE relates positively to book-to-market, earnings-to-price and cash flow-to-price ratios and negatively to sales growth and equity turnover. Firms with high FSCOREs tend to realize significantly higher gross future stock returns than those with low FSCOREs, consistent with investor underreaction to changing firm financial conditio…

Fundamental Analysis of Australian Stocks

Do Piotroski’s FSCORE for value stocks and Mohanram’s GSCORE for growth stocks predict winners and losers for non-U.S. stocks? In their March 2013 paper entitled “Fundamental Based Market Strategies”, Angelo Aspris, Nigel Finch, Sean Foley and Zachary Meyer apply previously documented fundamental (accounting-based) strategies to identify Australian stocks expected to outperform and underperform. Specifically, they consider FSCORE, GS…

Amplifying Momentum with Volume and Accounting Indicators

…three and six months, respectively. A triple-sort strategy that combines momentum, return-volume covariance and FSCORE/GSCORE generates average monthly excess returns of: 1.78%, 3.36% and 2.96% for value stocks using FSCORE over holding periods of one, three and six months, respectively. 3.31%, 3.03% and 2.20% for growth stocks using GSCORE over holding periods of one, three and six months, respectively. Returns to a momentum-only strategy r…

Optimal Quality and Value Combination?

Does adding fundamental firm quality metrics to refine stock sorts based on traditional value ratios, book-to-market ratio (B/M) and earnings-to-price ratio (E/P), improve portfolio performance? In his 2013 paper entitled “The Quality Dimension of Value Investing”, Robert Novy-Marx tests combination strategies to determine which commonly used quality measures most enhance the performance of value ratios. He considers such quality met…

Classic Paper: Piotroski’s Efficient Value Investing

We occasionally select for retrospective review an all-time “best selling” research paper of the past few years from the General Financial Markets category of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). In his January 2002 paper entitled “Value Investing: The Use of Historical Financial Statement Information to Separate Winners from Losers”, Joseph Piotroski applies a simple accounting-based fundamental analysis strategy…

Popular Articles

    Models, Trading Calendar and Momentum Strategy Updates

    We have updated the S&P 500 Market Models summary as follows: Extended Market Models regressions/rolled projections by one month based on data available through September 2014. Updated Market Models backtest charts and the market valuation metrics map based on data available through September 2014. We have updated the Trading Calendar to incorporate data for September 2014. We have updated More

    Inflation Forecast Update

    The Inflation Forecast now incorporates actual total and core Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for September 2014. The actual total (core) inflation rate for September is lower than (about the same as) forecasted. The new actual and forecasted inflation rates will flow into Real Earnings Yield Model projections at the end of the month.

    Preliminary Momentum Strategy Update

    The home page and “Momentum Strategy” now show preliminary asset class momentum strategy positions for October 2014. The differences in past returns among the top three places are large enough that they are unlikely to change order by the close. However, the gap between the third and fourth places is small enough that third place could change. At this point, four More

    A Few Notes on Dual Momentum Investing

    In the preface to his 2015 book entitled Dual Momentum Investing: An Innovative Strategy for Higher Returns with Lower Risk, author Gary Antonacci states: “We need a way to earn long-term above-market returns while limiting our downside exposure. This book shows how momentum investing can make that desirable outcome a reality. …the academic community now accepts momentum as the More

    Stock Market Valuation Ratio Trends

    To determine whether the stock market is expensive or cheap, some experts use aggregate valuation ratios, either trailing or forward-looking, such as earnings-price ratio (E/P) and dividend yield. Operating under a belief that such ratios are mean-reverting, most imminently due to movement of stock prices, these experts expect high (low) future stock market returns when More

    Simple Tests of Sy Harding’s Seasonal Timing Strategy

    Several readers have inquired about the performance of Sy Harding’s Street Smart Report Online, which includes the Seasonal Timing Strategy. This strategy combines “the market’s best average calendar entry [October 16] and exit [April 20] days with a technical indicator, the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD).” According to Street Smart Report Online, applying this strategy More

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ETF Momentum Signal
for October 2014 (Final)

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Stock Market Projection

Projected change in S&P 500 Index as of market close on 10/22/14…

10-22-14

For elaboration, go to Market Models or the detailed descriptions of the Real Earnings Yield (REY) Model and the Reversion-to-Value (RTV) Model.

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