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TIP as Return Predictor Across Asset Classes

March 13, 2023 • Posted in Bonds, Strategic Allocation

“Simplified Offensive, Defensive and Risk Mode Identification Momentum Strategy” describes a strategy that each month holds offensive (defensive) assets when average return on iShares TIPS Bond ETF (TIP) over the past 1, 3, 6 and 12 months is positive (negative). Is past return of TIP, which purely impounds investor expectations for U.S. inflation, a reliable indicator of future asset class returns? To investigate, we relate TIP returns to future returns for each of the following exchange-traded fund (ETF) asset class proxies:

  • Equities:
    • SPDR S&P 500 (SPY)
    • iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM)
    • iShares MSCI EAFE Index (EFA)
    • iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM)
  • Bonds:
    • iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT)
    • iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond (LQD)
    • iShares JPMorgan Emerging Markets Bond Fund (EMB)
  • Real assets:
    • Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ)
    • SPDR Gold Shares (GLD)
    • Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC)

We consider both linear correlation and non-linear ranking tests. We look at TIP returns over the past 1, 3, 6 and 12 months separately, and as an average of these past returns (average past TIP return). Using monthly dividend-adjusted returns for TIP and the above asset class proxies as available during December 2003 (limited by TIP) through February 2023, we find that: (more…)

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