### SACEVS Applied to Mutual Funds

**August 23, 2019** - Bonds, Equity Premium, Strategic Allocation

“Simple Asset Class ETF Value Strategy” (SACEVS) finds that investors may be able to exploit relative valuation of the term risk premium, the credit (default) risk premium and the equity risk premium via exchange-traded funds (ETF). However, the backtesting period is limited by available histories for ETFs and for series used to estimate risk premiums. To construct a longer test, we make the following substitutions for potential holdings (selected for length of available samples):

- Monthly average 3-Month Treasury Bill (T-bill) Secondary Market Rate instead of monthly average 3-Month T-bill Constant Maturity Rate as the risk-free rate and return on Cash.
- Vanguard GNMA Investor Shares (VFIIX) instead of iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT).
- Vanguard Long-Term Investment Grade Investor Shares (VWESX) instead of iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond (LQD).
- Vanguard 500 Index Fund Investor Shares (VFINX) instead of SPDR S&P 500 (SPY).

To enable estimation of risk premiums over a longer history, we also substitute:

- Monthly average Moody’s Seasoned Baa Corporate Bond Yields rather than day before end-of-month Baa yields for calculation of the credit risk premium. This substitution ignores a one-day delay in release of daily data.
- Robert Shiller’s S&P Composite Index monthly average levels instead of S&P 500 Index monthly closes. This substitution ignores any delay in posting of Shiller data (but new data are available elsewhere in real time).
- Robert Shiller’s monthly S&P Composite Index (GAAP) earnings instead of S&P Dow Jones S&P 500 operating earnings. We lag the Shiller earnings by four months to ensure real-time availability. In other words, the earnings yield for a month is the S&P Composite Index level for that month divided by index annual GAAP earnings as of four months ago. GAAP earnings are generally lower than operating earnings (see “Stock Market Valuation Ratio Trends”).
- Robert Shiller’s monthly average Long Interest Rates instead of monthly average yields on 10-year Constant Maturity U.S. Treasury notes. This substitution ignores any delay in posting of Shiller data (but new data are again available elsewhere with little delay).

As with ETFs, we consider two alternatives for exploiting premium undervaluation: Best Value, which picks the most undervalued premium; and, Weighted, which weights all undervalued premiums according to degree of undervaluation. Based on the assets considered, the principal benchmark is a monthly rebalanced portfolio of 60% VFINX and 40% VFIIX. Using monthly risk premium calculation data during March 1934 through July 2019 (limited by availability of T-bill data), and monthly dividend-adjusted closing prices for the three asset class mutual funds during June 1980 through July 2019 (39 years, limited by VFIIX), *we find that:*