Objective research to aid investing decisions

Value Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for February 2023 (Final)

Momentum Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for February 2023 (Final)
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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.

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

Stock Market Return Reversal after FOMC Announcements

Does the U.S. stock market respond predictably to Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcements, typically released between 14:00 and 14:20 EST? In the August 2022 version of their paper entitled “The FOMC Announcement Reversal”, Tommaso Baglioni and Ruy Ribeiro examine the relationship between pre-FOMC announcement returns and post-FOMC announcement returns. Specifically, they test a reversal strategy that buys (sells) E-mini S&P 500 just before announcement at 13:50 EST when the return during the 24 hours before the announcement is negative (positive) and closes the position at the end of the trading day. They buy at the ask and sell at the bid to account for trading frictions. They compute average cumulative return per round trip transaction and Sharpe ratio as average return divided by standard deviation (standardized to reflect one trading day and the number of hours the position is open). They consider two subperiods (October 1997 through March 2011 and April 2011 through January 2020). They also look at interactions of strategy performance with four measures of economic conditions: market uncertainty (VIX), economic policy uncertainty, monetary policy uncertainty and consumer sentiment. Using intraday E-mini S&P 500 prices, exact FOMC announcement release data and measures of economic conditions on FOMC announcement dates during mid-October 1997 through January 2020 (a total of 180 scheduled FOMC announcements), they find that:

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Expected Real T-note Gap and Future Asset Returns

Is the gap between the yield on the 10-year constant maturity U.S. Treasury note (T-note) and the 10-Year breakeven inflation rate (a measure of expected inflation over the next 10 years derived from T-note yield and 10-Year Treasury inflation-indexed constant maturity securities yield) indicative of future stock market or U.S. Treasury bond yields? To investigate, we relate monthly values of this gap (the expected real T-note gap) and changes in the gap to future monthly returns for SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) and iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT). Using monthly values for the four series during January 2003, limited by the breakeven inflation rate series, through July 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

Best Model of Future Stock Market Returns?

Which variables deserve greatest focus when predicting stock market returns? In their July 2022 paper entitled “Searching for the Best Conditional Equity Premium Model”, Hui Guo, Saidat Sanni and Yan Yu exhaustively explore combinations of 18 previously identified potential stock market return predictors to isolate the most powerful subset. They focus on a best subset selection method with a penalty on complexity, thereby suppressing data snooping bias and selecting a manageable subset. For robustness, they consider four alternative variable selection methods. Using quarterly U.S. data for these 18 variables and S&P 500 Index levels/returns during 1947 through 2020, they find that: Keep Reading

Economic Policy Uncertainty and the Stock Market

Does quantified uncertainty in government economic policy reliably predict stock market returns? To investigate, we consider the U.S. Economic Policy Uncertainty (EPU) Index, created by Scott Baker, Nicholas Bloom and Steven Davis and constructed from three components:

  1. Coverage of policy-related economic uncertainty by prominent newspapers.
  2. Number of temporary federal tax code provisions set to expire in future years.
  3. Level of disagreement in one-year forecasts among participants in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Survey of Professional Forecasters for both (a) the consumer price index (CPI) and (b) purchasing of goods and services by federal, state and local governments.

They normalize each component by its own standard deviation prior to 2012 and then compute a weighted average of components, assigning a weight of one half to news coverage and one sixth each to tax code uncertainty, CPI forecast disagreement and government purchasing forecast disagreement. They update the index monthly at the beginning of the following month, potentially revising recent months. Using monthly levels of the EPU Index and the S&P 500 Index during January 1985 through July 2022, we find that: Keep Reading

When Gold Wins?

Why have inflation, economic uncertainty and geopolitical uncertainty not driven up the price of gold? In their brief May 2022 commentary entitled “Why Isn’t the Gold Price Higher?”, Paul Gambles and James Fraser review the times when gold is, and is not, a good investment. Based on historical gold prices, with focus on recent decades, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Asset Class and Factor Premium Performances Across Inflation Regimes

How should investors reposition portfolios across inflationary regimes (deflation, low inflation, mild inflation, high inflation)? In their July 2022, paper entitled “Investing in Deflation, Inflation, and Stagflation Regimes”, Guido Baltussen, Laurens Swinkels and Pim van Vliet examine asset class and factor returns across inflationary regimes. They first construct long monthly return histories for asset classes (global equities, bonds and cash) and four factors (value, momentum, low-risk and quality/carry) as applied to equities, bonds and a multi-asset portfolio. They then segment the long sample into four global inflation regimes: (1) below 0% (deflation); (2) 0% to 2% (low); (3) 2% to 4% (mild); and, (4) above 4% (high). They next define sub-regimes (most notably for high inflation) according to other economic variables, with focus on stagflation (high inflation and economic downturn as measured by recessions, weakening earnings or falling equity markets). They further divide sub-regimes based on increasing/decreasing long-term interest rates or inflation rates. Using monthly inflation and asset price data as specified during 1875 through 2021 (147 years), they find that:

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Expert Estimates of 2022 Country Equity Risk Premiums and Risk-free Rates

What are current estimates of equity risk premiums (ERP) and risk-free rates around the world? In their May 2022 paper entitled “Survey: Market Risk Premium and Risk-Free Rate Used for 95 Countries in 2022”, Pablo Fernandez, Teresa García de Santos and Javier Acin summarize results of a May 2022 email survey of international economic professors, analysts and company managers “about the Risk-Free Rate and the Market Risk Premium (MRP) used ‘to calculate the required return to equity in different countries.'” Results are in local currencies. Based on 4,337 specific and credible premium estimates spanning 95 countries for which there are at least six estimates, they find that: Keep Reading

Debt-to-GDP Ratio and Investment Risk Premiums

Is the government debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio a useful predictor of stock and bond market returns? In his May 2021 paper entitled “Government Debt and Risk Premia”, Yang Liu examines relationships between future stock and bond market excess returns (relative to short term government bills) and government debt-to-GDP ratio. He measures government debt as market value of the federal government debt held by the public. For the U.S., this means aggregate market value of all Treasury bonds, Treasury notes, Treasury bills, TIPS, etc. across maturities, excluding government accounts and Federal Reserve holdings. Using debt and GDP data for the U.S. during 1926 through the mid-2010s, associated U.S. stock and bond market return data during 1926 through 2020 and comparable data for 19 major developed countries spanning 1970 through 2018, he finds that:

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