Objective research to aid investing decisions

Value Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for August 2022 (Final)

Momentum Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for August 2022 (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.

Does the Fiscal Deficit Really Affect Asset Valuations?

How do investors respond to the state of the U.S. federal fiscal deficit? In their August 2007 paper entitled “Fiscal Policy and Asset Markets: A Semiparametric Analysis”, Dennis Jansen, Qi Li, Zijun Wang and Jian Yang examine the relationships between U.S. fiscal policy and U.S. asset markets (stocks and bonds). Using monthly data for the S&P 500 index, U.S. corporate bond yield, 10-year Treasury note (T-note) yield, the Federal Funds Rate (FFR), industrial production, the Consumer Price Index and the U.S. government budget deficit over the period July 1954 through December 2005 (618 months), they conclude that: Keep Reading

Reliable Intraday Trades on Federal Funds Rate Decisions?

Can traders reliably exploit the reaction of stocks to scheduled Federal Funds Rate (FFR) decisions? In their October 2007 paper entitled “The Effects of Federal Funds Target Rate Changes on S&P100 Stock Returns, Volatilities, and Correlations”, Helena Chulia-Soler, Martin Martens and Dick van Dijk study the impact of Federal Open Market Committee scheduled announcements of FFR decisions on individual stocks at the intraday level. Using high-frequency price data for components of the S&P 100 index around scheduled FFR decision announcements between between May 1997 and November 2006 (77 announcements), they find that: Keep Reading

Sector Rotation Based on Monetary Policy

Is there a key indicator that investors can use as a signal to overweight stocks of cyclical (non-cyclical) industry sectors that should outperform during economic expansions (contractions)? In their July 2007 paper entitled “Sector Rotation and Monetary Conditions”, flagged by a reader, Mitchell Conover, Gerald Jensen, Robert Johnson and Jeffrey Mercer evaluate a sector rotation strategy that emphasizes cyclical (defensive) stocks when the Federal Reserve shifts to easing (tightening) the discount rate. Using daily returns for a value-weighted U.S. equity market index, four noncyclical sectors (Resources, Noncyclical Consumer Goods, Noncyclical Services, Utilities) and six cyclical sectors (Cyclical Consumer Goods, Cyclical Services, General Industrials, Information Technology, Financials, and Basic Industries) during 1973-2005, they find that: Keep Reading

Growth Versus Value and the Yield Curve

A reader inquires: “Ken Fisher did a statistical study in his book, The Only Three Questions That Count: Investing by Knowing What Others Don’t, which states that growth (value) is in favor when the yield curve flattens (steepens). Any truth to this?” To test this hypothesis, we compare the performances of paired growth and value indexes/funds as the spread between the yields on the 10-year Treasury Note (T-note) and the 90-day Treasury Bill (T-bill) varies. Using monthly and quarterly adjusted (for dividends) return data for a pair of growth-value indexes and a pair of growth-value mutual funds, along with contemporaneous T-note and T-bill yield data, we find that: Keep Reading

Are Monthly Non-farm Employment Announcements Tradable Events?

Does the stock market react reliably and exploitably to the monthly announcements of the change in non-farm employment based on Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys of employers? To check, we examine the typical behavior of stocks during the five trading days before and the five trading days after release dates. Using the unrevised non-farm employment releases and contemporaneous daily S&P 500 index data for the period 2/94-9/07 (164 announcements), we find that… Keep Reading

The Disconnected Federal Funds Rate?

In seeking to control interest rates, has the Federal Reserve become less relevant to equity investors? In his September 2007 paper entitled “The Unusual Behavior of the Federal Funds and 10-Year Treasury Rates: A Conundrum or Goodhart’s Law?”, Daniel Thornton examines the loss of correlation between the Federal Funds Rate (FFR) and long-term interest rates in the context of Goodhart’s Law, which states that “any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.” Using monthly data for the FFR and the yields for Treasury instruments of various durations over the period 1/83-3/07, he concludes that: Keep Reading

Crude Oil Price and Energy Sector ETF Returns

After reviewing our update of the relationship between crude oil price and overall stock market behavior, a reader requested a similar analysis of the relationship between crude oil price and an energy sector Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) such as Energy Select Sector S&P Depository Receipts (XLE). The reader’s hypothesis is that energy ETFs follow crude oil spot price fairly well. Comparing the weekly crude oil spot price for the U.S. with the weekly close for XLE for over the period 1/99-8/07, we find that: Keep Reading

Crude Oil Price and Stock Returns

Some market commentators cite the price of crude oil as an important indicator of future stock market behavior. Is expensive crude oil a sign of future inflation or a drag on aggregate corporate earnings, or is it a proxy for general economic strength? Does a local peak (valley) in the price of crude oil portend a falling (rising) overall stock market? Comparing the weekly crude oil spot price for the U.S. with the weekly level of the S&P 500 index for the period 1/97-8/07, we find that… Keep Reading

Effects of Inflation Rate Trend and Volatility on Stock Returns

A reader suggested that stocks may respond to two second order effects in the Consumer Price Index (CPI): (1)trend in monthly CPI changes (monthly inflation rate), as measured by the slope of changes over a few consecutive months; and, (2) volatility of monthly CPI changes, as measured by the standard deviation of changes over a few consecutive months. Testing these effects with CPI data and monthly S&P 500 index closing levels for estimated or actual CPI release dates during January 1990 through June 2007 (210 months), we find that: Keep Reading

T-note Yield Shocks and Stock Returns

A reader notes that many experts are focused on the recent sharp rise in the 10-year Treasury note (T-note) yield, often asserting that such large positive yield shocks are bad for stocks. He asks what the historical data say about the relationship between short-term shocks in T-note yield and future stock returns. Using daily closing T-note yields and daily closing prices for the S&P 500 index since the beginning of 1990, we find that: Keep Reading

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