Objective research to aid investing decisions

Value Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for December 2022 (Final)
Cash TLT LQD SPY

Momentum Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for December 2022 (Final)
1st ETF 2nd ETF 3rd ETF

Currency Trading

Currency trading (forex or FX) offers investors a way to trade on country or regional fiscal/monetary situations and tendencies. Are there reliable ways to exploit this market? Does it represent a distinct asset class?

Optimal Bitcoin Allocations

Do formal asset allocation methods specify a portfolio allocation to bitcoin (BTC)? In his September 2022 paper entitled “Optimal Allocation to Cryptocurrencies in Diversified Portfolios”, Artur Sepp applies four quantitative methods to estimate optimal allocations to bitcoin within systematically rebalanced portfolios. He considers: two risk-only methods based on either equal risk contribution or maximum diversification; and, two risk-return methods based on either maximum Sharpe ratio or maximum constant absolute risk aversion utility. For each method, he develops allocations for four portfolios:

  1. 100% alternatives without BTC (consisting of HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, SG Macro Trading Index, SG CTA Index and GLD).
  2. 100% alternatives with BTC.
  3. 75%/25% conventional assets/alternatives without BTC, with 75% allocation to the 60/40 stocks/bonds iShares Core Growth ETF (AOR) fund and 25% allocation to non-BTC alternatives.
  4. 75%/25% conventional assets/alternatives with BTC.

He rebalances each portfolio quarterly employing the most recent five years of monthly return inputs to calculate allocations. Since the BTC series starts in July 2010, initial allocation estimates are for June 2015. Using monthly return data for all assets during July 2010 through August 2022, he finds that:

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Simple Currency ETF Momentum Strategy

Do exchange-traded funds (ETF) that track major currencies support a relative momentum strategy? To investigate, we consider the following four ETFs:

Invesco DB US Dollar Bullish (UUP)
Invesco CurrencyShares Euro Currency (FXE)
Invesco CurrencyShares Japanese Yen (FXY)
WisdomTree Chinese Yuan Strategy (CYB)

We each month rank these ETFs based on past return over lookback intervals ranging from one to 12 months. We consider portfolios of past winners reformed monthly based on Top 1 and on equal-weighted (EW) Top 2 and Top 3 ETFs. The benchmark portfolio is the equally weighted combination of all four ETFs. We present findings in formats similar to those used for the Simple Asset Class ETF Momentum Strategy and the Simple Asset Class ETF Value Strategy. Using monthly adjusted closing prices for the currency ETFs during March 2007 (when three become available) through August 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

Asset Class ETF Interactions with the Euro

How do different asset classes interact with euro-U.S. dollar exchange rate? To investigate, we consider relationships between Invesco CurrencyShares Euro Currency (FXE) and the exchange-traded fund (ETF) asset class proxies used in the Simple Asset Class ETF Momentum Strategy (SACEMS) or the Simple Asset Class ETF Value Strategy (SACEVS) at a monthly measurement frequency. Using monthly dividend-adjusted closing prices for FXE and the asset class proxies since February 2006 as available through August 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

Asset Class ETF Interactions with the U.S. Dollar

How do different asset classes interact with U.S. dollar valuation? To investigate, we consider relationships between Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund (UUP) and the exchange-traded fund (ETF) asset class proxies used in the Simple Asset Class ETF Momentum Strategy (SACEMS) or the Simple Asset Class ETF Value Strategy (SACEVS) at a monthly measurement frequency. Using monthly dividend-adjusted closing prices for UUP and the asset class proxies since March 2007 as available through August 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

Are Managed Futures ETFs Working?

Are managed futures, as implemented by exchange-traded funds (ETF), attractive? To investigate, we consider three managed futures ETFs, three live and one dead:

  1. WisdomTree Managed Futures Strategy (WTMF) – seeks positive total returns in rising or falling markets that are uncorrelated with broad market equity and fixed income returns via diversified combination of commodities, currencies and interest rates futures.
  2. First Trust Morningstar Managed Futures Strategy (FMF) – seeks positive returns that are uncorrelated to broad market equity and fixed income returns via a portfolio of exchange-listed futures.
  3. ProShares Managed Futures Strategy (FUT) – seeks to profit in rising and falling markets by long and short positions in futures across asset classes such as commodities, currencies and fixed income such that each contributes equally to portfolio risk. This fund is dead as of May 2022.
  4. iM DBi Managed Futures Strategy (DBMF) – seeks long-term capital appreciation via long and short positions in futures across the asset classes such as equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities. Fund positions approximate the current asset allocation of a pool of the largest commodity trading advisor hedge funds.

We focus on average return, standard deviation of returns, reward/risk (average return divided by standard deviation), compound annual growth rate (CAGR), maximum drawdown (MaxDD) and correlations of returns with those of SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) and iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT), all based on monthly data, as key performance statistics. We use Eurekahedge CTA/Managed Futures Hedge Fund Index (Eurekahedge) as a benchmark. Using monthly returns for the four managed futures funds as available through August 2022, and contemporaneous monthly returns for the benchmark index, SPY and TLT, we find that:

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Currency Crashes and Future Stock Market Returns

A subscriber asked whether a rapid, large (20% or more) individual country currency devaluation versus the U.S. dollar indicates that the country’s stock market will rise the next quarter (with country exports presumably more competitive post-devaluation). To investigate, we select five currency exchange rates versus the U.S. dollar and relate monthly and quarterly changes in these rates to next-month and next-quarter total returns in U.S. dollars on exchange-traded funds (ETF) for respective country stock markets, as follows:

  1. Malaysia: Ringgit to U.S. Dollar and iShares MSCI Malaysia ETF (EWM).
  2. South Korea: Won to U.S. Dollar and iShares MSCI South Korea ETF (EWY).
  3. Brazil: Real to U.S. Dollar and iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ).
  4. China: Yuan Renminbi to U.S. Dollar and SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC).
  5. India: Rupee to U.S. Dollar and iShares India 50 ETF (INDY).

We consider both linear relationships and outlier relationships (> 20% devaluations). Using monthly and quarterly changes/dividend-adjusted returns for the selected currency/equity ETF pairs as available (all limited by ETF histories) through June 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

Turn-of-the-Month Effect for Currencies?

A subscriber asked whether the Turn-of-the-Month (TOTM) effect applies to currencies. To investigate, as in the past, we define TOTM as the interval from the close five trading days before to the close four trading days after the last trading day of the month (a total of eight trading days, centered on the monthly close). We measure TOTM returns for the following four exchange-traded funds (ETF):

Invesco DB US Dollar Bullish (UUP)
Invesco CurrencyShares Euro Currency (FXE)
Invesco CurrencyShares Japanese Yen (FXY)
WisdomTree Chinese Yuan Strategy (CYB)

Using daily dividend-adjusted prices for these ETFs from their respective inceptions through mid-June 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

Crypto Investing Guide

What information is key to investing in crypto-assets? In their May 2022 paper entitled “An Investor’s Guide to Crypto”, Campbell Harvey, Tarek Abou Zeid, Teun Draaisma, Martin Luk, Henry Neville, Andre Rzym and Otto Van Hemert offer insights for investors seeking exposure to crypto-assets. They discuss a variety of tokens, highlighting their functionality and investment properties. They critically compare popular crypto-asset valuation methods. They contrast buy-and-hold investing with volatility-managed and trend-following strategies. They focus on return data starting 2017 as representative of the future, using some intraday data to boost statistical power. They describe custody and regulatory considerations for institutional investors. Using crypto-asset and contemporaneous conventional asset data as available (as early as 2010) through April 2022, they find that:

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Is the U.S. Dollar a Safe Haven?

A subscriber asked whether the U.S. dollar is a safe haven from the U.S. stock market. One way to address the question is to repeat the tests used in “Best Safe Haven ETF?” on Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund (UUP). Specifically, we look at:

  1. Contemporaneous UUP return correlation with the S&P 500 Index during all market conditions at daily and monthly frequencies.
  2. UUP performance during S&P 500 Index bear markets as defined by the index being below its 10-month simple moving average (SMA10) at the end of the prior month.
  3. UUP performance during S&P 500 Index bear markets as defined by the index being -20%, -15% or -10% below its most recent peak at the end of the prior month.

Using daily and monthly dividend-adjusted closing prices for UUP since inception in March 2007 and contemporaneous daily and monthly levels of the S&P 500 Index since June 2006, all through April 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

Best Safe Haven ETF?

A subscriber asked which exchange-traded fund (ETF) asset class proxies make the best safe havens for the U.S. stock market as proxied by the S&P 500 Index. To investigate, we test 15 ETFs/funds as potential safe havens:

Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU)
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT)
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond (IEF)
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond (SHY)
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond (LQD)
iShares Core US Aggregate Bond (AGG)
iShares TIPS Bond (TIP)
Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund (VNQ)
SPDR Gold Shares (GLD)
Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund (DBC)
United States Oil Fund, LP (USO)
iShares Silver Trust (SLV)
Invesco DB G10 Currency Harvest Fund (DBV)
SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill (BIL)
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC)

We consider three ways to find safe havens for the U.S. stock market based on daily or monthly returns:

  1. Contemporaneous return correlation with the S&P 500 Index during all market conditions at daily and monthly frequencies.
  2. Performance during S&P 500 Index bear markets as defined by the index being below its 10-month simple moving average (SMA10) at the end of the prior month.
  3. Performance during S&P 500 Index bear markets as defined by the index being -20%, -15% or -10% below its most recent peak at the end of the prior month.

Using daily and monthly dividend-adjusted closing prices for the above 15 funds since their respective inceptions, and contemporaneous daily and monthly levels of the S&P 500 Index since 10 months before the earliest inception, all through April 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

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