### Optimal Intrinsic Momentum and SMA Intervals Across Asset Classes

**June 4, 2020** - Momentum Investing, Technical Trading

What are the optimal intrinsic/absolute/time series momentum (IM) and simple moving average (SMA) lookback intervals for different asset class proxies? To investigate, we use data for the following eight asset class exchange-traded funds (ETF), plus Cash:

- PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC)
- iShares JPMorgan Emerging Markets Bond Fund (EMB)
- iShares MSCI EAFE Index (EFA)
- SPDR Gold Shares (GLD)
- iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM)
- SPDR S&P 500 (SPY)
- iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT)
- Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ)
- 3-month Treasury bills (Cash)

For IM tests, we invest in each ETF (Cash) when its return over the past one to 12 months is positive (negative). For SMA tests, we invest in each ETF (Cash) when its price is above (below) its average monthly price over the past two to 12 months. Since SMA rules use price levels and IM rules use returns, IM lookback interval N corresponds to SMA lookback interval N+1. For example, a 6-month IM lookback uses the same start and stop points as a 7-month SMA lookback. We focus on compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and maximum drawdown (MaxDD) as key metrics for comparing different IM and SMA lookback intervals since earliest ETF data availabilities based on the longest IM lookback interval. Using monthly dividend-adjusted closing prices for the asset class proxies and the yield for Cash over the period July 2002 (or inception if not available by then) through April 2020, *we find that:*