Objective research to aid investing decisions

Value Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for September 2020 (Final)
Cash TLT LQD SPY

Momentum Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for September 2020 (Final)
1st ETF 2nd ETF 3rd ETF

Economic Indicators

The U.S. economy is a very complex system, with indicators therefore ambiguous and difficult to interpret. To what degree do macroeconomics and the stock market go hand-in-hand, if at all? Do investors/traders: (1) react to economic readings; (2) anticipate them; or, (3) just muddle along, mostly fooled by randomness? These blog entries address relationships between economic indicators and the stock market.

Inflation Forecast Update

The Inflation Forecast now incorporates actual total and core Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for August 2020. The actual total (core) inflation rate is higher than (higher than) forecasted.

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 July 2020, 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 Powershares 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 July 2020, we find that: Keep Reading

SACEVS Input Risk Premiums and EFFR

The “Simple Asset Class ETF Value Strategy” (SACEVS) seeks diversification across a small set of asset class exchanged-traded funds (ETF), plus a monthly tactical edge from potential undervaluation of three risk premiums:

  1. Term – monthly difference between the 10-year Constant Maturity U.S. Treasury note (T-note) yield and the 3-month Constant Maturity U.S. Treasury bill (T-bill) yield.
  2. Credit – monthly difference between the Moody’s Seasoned Baa Corporate Bonds yield and the T-note yield.
  3. Equity – monthly difference between S&P 500 operating earnings yield and the T-note yield.

Premium valuations are relative to historical averages. How might this strategy react to changes in the Effective Federal Funds Rate (EFFR)? Using end-of-month values of the three risk premiums, EFFRtotal 12-month U.S. inflation and core 12-month U.S. inflation during March 1989 (limited by availability of operating earnings data) through July 2020, we find that: Keep Reading

Federal Reserve Treasuries Holdings and Asset Returns

Is the level, or changes in the level, of Federal Reserve (Fed) holdings of U.S. Treasuries (bills, notes, bonds and TIPS, measured weekly as of Wednesday) an indicator of future stock market and/or Treasuries returns? To investigate, we take dividend-adjusted SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) and iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT) as tradable proxies for the U.S. stock and Treasuries markets, respectively. Using weekly Fed holdings of Treasuries, SPY and TLT during mid-December 2002 through early July 2020, we find that: Keep Reading

Retail Sales Growth and Stock Market Returns

Financial media each month report retail sales, the largest component of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, as a harbinger of stock market behavior. Do retail sales reliably predict U.S. stock market behavior? To investigate, we relate monthly change in retail sales to monthly S&P 500 Index return. We consider both seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) retail sales series, as compiled by the the U.S. Census Bureau. Using monthly levels of retail sales during January 1992 through April 2020 and of the S&P 500 Index during January 1992 through May 2020, we find that: Keep Reading

Interest Rates and the Equity Value Premium

Do interest rate effects explain/predict the poor performance of value stocks over the past decade, and especially during 2017 through early 2020? In their May 2020 paper entitled “Value and Interest Rates: Are Rates to Blame for Value’s Torments?”, Thomas Maloney and Tobias Moskowitz investigate interactions between equity value factors and the interest rate environment. They first examine theoretical relationships and then explore relationships between several ways to measure the U.S. equity value premium and interest rates empirically, including interest rate level, change in short-term rates, change in long-term rates and slope of the yield curve. They look at subperiods and some international evidence. Finally, they assess ability of interest rate variables to predict the value premium and thereby inform factor timing strategies. Using U.S. interest rate and firm/stock data inputs for several ways of estimating the value premium as available since January 1954, and similar data for Japan, Germany and the UK since 1988, all through December 2019, they find that: Keep Reading

Combining Market Trend and Chicago Fed NFCI Signals

In response to “Exploiting Chicago Fed NFCI Predictive Power”, which tests practical use of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) for U.S. stock market timing, a subscriber suggested combining this strategy with stock market trend as in “Combine Market Trend and Economic Trend Signals?”. To investigate, we use the 40-week simple moving average (SMA40) for the S&P 500 Index to measure stock market trend. We then test two strategies that are each week in SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) or cash (U.S. Treasury bills, T-bills), as follows:

  1. Combined (< Mean): hold SPY (cash) when either: (a) prior-week S&P 500 Index is above (below) its SMA40; or, (b) prior-week change in NFCI is below (above) its mean since since the beginning of 1973.
  2. Combined (< Mean+SD): hold SPY (cash) when either: (a) prior-week S&P 500 Index is above (below) its SMA40; or, (b) prior-week change in NFCI is below (above) its mean plus one standard deviation of weekly changes in NFCI since the beginning of 1973.

The return week is Wednesday open to Wednesday open (Thursday open when the market is not open on Wednesday) per the NFCI release schedule. SMA40 calculations are Tuesday close to Tuesday close to ensure timely availability of signals before any Wednesday open trades. We assume SPY-cash switching frictions are a constant 0.1% over the sample period. Using weekly NFCI data since January 1973, weekly S&P 500 Index levels since April 1992, weekly dividend-adjusted opens of SPY and weekly T-bill yield since February 1993 (limited by SPY), all as specified through April 2020, we find that:

Keep Reading

Returns After QE Announcements

In reaction to “Federal Reserve Holdings and the U.S. Stock Market”, a subscriber suggested analysis of market reactions to announcements (starts/ends) of major Federal Reserve System interventions, such as the series of quantitative easing (QE) initiatives. Reactions to such announcement should precede changes in actual holdings. To investigate, we look at cumulative returns of SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) and iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT) during the 30 trading days after each of the following announcements:

  • 11/25/08: QE-1 initiated
  • 3/16/09: QE-1 expanded
  • 3/31/10: QE-1 terminated
  • 11/3/10: QE-2 initiated
  • 6/29/12: QE-2 terminated
  • 9/13/12: QE-3 initiated
  • 12/12/12: QE-3 expanded
  • 10/29/14: QE-3 terminated
  • 3/23/20: “QE-4” initiated

Using daily dividend-adjusted prices for SPY and TLT spanning these dates, we find that: Keep Reading

Exploiting Chicago Fed ANFCI Predictive Power

“Chicago Fed ANFCI as U.S. Stock Market Predictor” suggests that weekly change in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI) may be a useful indicator of future U.S. stock market returns. We test its practical value via two strategies that are each week in SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) when prior change in ANFCI is favorable and in cash (U.S. Treasury bills, T-bills) when prior change in ANFCI is unfavorable, as follows:

  1. Change in ANFCI < Mean [aggressive]: hold SPY (cash) when prior-week change in ANFCI is below (above) its mean since the beginning of 1973, providing an initial 20-year calculation interval.
  2. Change in ANFCI < Mean+SD [conservative]: hold SPY (cash) when prior-week change in ANFCI is below (above) its mean plus one standard deviation of weekly changes in ANFCI since the beginning of 1973.

The return week is Wednesday open to Wednesday open (Thursday open when the market is not open on Wednesday) per the ANFCI release schedule. We assume SPY-cash switching frictions are a constant 0.1% over the sample period. We use buying and holding SPY as the benchmark. Using weekly levels of ANFCI since January 1973 and weekly dividend-adjusted opens of SPY and T-bills since February 1993 (limited by SPY), all through April 2020, we find that: Keep Reading

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