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Technical Trading

Does technical trading work, or not? Rationalists dismiss it; behavioralists investigate it. Is there any verdict? These blog entries relate to technical trading.

StocksandBulls.com Trading Advisory Service

A reader requested a review of the trading advisory service offered at StocksandBulls.com. The FAQs there state that the site “contains the information that is required to successfully trade the stock market on a regular basis with our ‘home growned’ robust trading system. From recommended buy and sell signals, all generated one day in advance to showing the end results, all is posted in total transparency.” The FAQs further state that the methodology used is “capable of detecting logical and profitable buy and sell signals quite accurately on stocks, without any guesswork left for users to do.” Using the trading record on site from inception on 2/13/06 through 12/14/09, we find that: Keep Reading

Can You Elaborate on High-frequency Trading?

A reader asked: “Can you elaborate on high frequency trading order executions and possibly on corresponding techniques?” Keep Reading

Haugen’s Closed Case

What fundamental and technical factors are optimum for stock selection, and how well do they work? In the October 2008 draft of their paper entitled “Case Closed”, flagged by a reader, Robert Haugen and Nardin Baker present a model of future stock returns based on multiple regressions of 12 factors they find most significant in predicting monthly returns. Using monthly data for a sample of U.S. stocks over the 45-year period 1963-2007, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Technical Trading Rules and Data Snooping Bias

A reader asked: “This paper tests 5,000 technical trading rules and comes up empty on all of them. Not even say 200 were good. Has this paper been vetted by anyone? Is it iron-clad? The authors write: ‘We find that many technical trading rules produce statistically significant profits before consideration is given to data snooping bias, but this profitability disappears after data snooping bias is taken into account.’ How are they doing ‘data snooping’ detection?” Keep Reading

How Rigorous is the Stock Trader’s Almanac?

A reader asked: “I am curious how reliable some of the factors referenced in the Stock Trader’s Almanac are, but I see no reference to it on your site. Could you review the book and/or the primary strategies in the book? I would be curious to have your perspective on how rigorous its analysis is.” Keep Reading

How About the Automated Trading Systems on Infomercials?

A reader asked: “I’ve always wondered about these computer stock trading programs you see on infomercials, such as this one (there are many others). They seem to promise ‘easy’ profits–all you have to do is buy when the program tells you to buy, and sell when it tells you to sell. Of course, if it was that simple, we’d all be rich. But how effective are they?” Keep Reading

Does the IBD Market Pulse Really Work?

A reader asked: “Please do an analysis of the IBD Market Pulse column. Do their ‘Market in Confirmed Uptrend’ calls really work?” Keep Reading

Enhancing Asset Class Momentum with Downside Risk Avoidance?

A reader wondered about the value of combining momentum and downside risk avoidance for tactical asset class allocation, as follows:

“One of the methods described in The Ivy Portfolio by Mebane Faber is a simple momentum-based asset class rotation system that shifts monthly into the one, two or three highest performing asset classes based on their performance over an average of the prior 3, 6 and 12 months. Instead of using just the 3, 6 and 12 month prior returns, what if we used an asset class Ulcer Performance Index (UPI): UPI = average return over prior 3, 6 and 12 months / average Ulcer Index (UI) over prior 3, 6 and 12 months. Would this modification identify which asset classes are in low-volatility uptrends and therefore the biggest bang for the buck? Would this allow us to invest comfortably in the top two asset classes, or even the top one asset class, instead of the top three as recommended by Faber?”

Calculation of UI over a rolling interval across a long sample period is cumbersome. As a substitute for UI, we use a standard deviation of downside weekly returns over past intervals for three asset classes: S&P Depository Receipts (SPY), iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT) and iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM) , with historical data limited to July 2002 (by TLT). Every four weeks, we allocate funds to whichever of SPY, TLT or IWM has the highest ratio of prior return to prior downside standard deviation, or to 13-week Treasury bills (T-bills) if all three past returns are less than the T-bill yield. Using weekly adjusted closes for the asset class proxies over the period 7/31/02 through 8/21/09 (369 weeks or about 89 months), we find that: Keep Reading

Testing the QQQQ Crash Trade Trigger

In 2007, a reader inquired about the usefulness of James Altucher’s QQQQ Crash Trade Trigger. As stated by James Altucher: “The basic idea is that if the QQQQs, the volatile ETF representing the Nasdaq 100 index, make a sharp move down, then mean reversion will eventually kick in and bring the index back up. In other words, whenever people are panicking, that’s the time to get in. The move is not always a huge move but it’s been reliable.” Using QQQQ daily open, low and closing prices for 3/10/99 (the earliest available) through 8/19/09, we find that: Keep Reading

Global Stock Market Contagion

A reader observed and asked: “In the last few weeks, there have been several times when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was down a lot, and Asian stock markets followed it down the next day. How reliably do Asian stock markets follow sharp drops in the U.S. stock market?” To investigate, we first examine the overall relationship between the U.S. stock market (represented, as suggested, by the DJIA) and Asian stock markets (Hang Seng and Nikkei 225). Then, we focus on what happens in Asian stock markets the day after sharp drops in the U.S. market. Using daily closing levels of the DJIA, the Hang Seng index and the Nikkei 225 index for 12/31/86-8/14/09 (roughly 5800 trading days), we find that: Keep Reading

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