Blog Archives

The iM-Standard 5 ETF Trader (Excludes Leveraged ETFs)

  • This system always holds five ETFs (equity-, fixed income-, short equity-, and Gold-ETFs) selected according to stock market climate and rank.
  • Typically, during good-equity markets it holds equity-ETFs, and during bad-markets fixed income-ETFs and/or short equity-ETFs. Also at times it can hold three gold-ETFs with other ETFs.
  • A one factor ranking system selects five ETFs from a preselected list of 29 ETFs. A simulation from 2000 to 2017 shows a 24% annualized return with a maximum drawdown of -12%.

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A Buy Signal from the iM-Enhanced Inflation Timer

  • Stocks usually perform poorly when inflation is on the rise. We developed a market timer according to two inflation rate based rules. A buy signal has now emerged.
  • Switching according to the signals between the S&P500 with dividends and a money-market fund would have provided from Aug-1953 to end of Jan-2017 an annualized return of 12.69%.
  • Over the same period buy-and-hold of the S&P500 with dividends showed an annualized return of 10.08%, producing about a quarter of the total return of the Timer model.
  • The Enhanced Inflation Timer uses one additional criterion in the buy rule for stocks (and sell rule for bonds); high-beta stocks must perform better than low-beta stocks.

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How to Beat the First Trust Capital Strength ETF (FTCS) and Other Large-Cap ETFs with the Capital Strength Stocks of the Russell 1000

  • This system invests in well capitalized companies with strong market positions, which pay good dividends, have price appreciation potential, and provide a degree of downside protection during bear markets.
  • The portfolio holds six large-cap stocks selected from a universe of twenty Russell 1000 Index stocks with Capital Strength type characteristics, rebalanced quarterly in January, April, July and October.
  • A backtest, from 7/6/2006 (inception of FTCS) to 5/31/2017, showed a 24.7% annualized return with a maximum drawdown of -25.7%, and low average annual turnover of about 80%.
  • Over the same period the First Trust Capital Strength ETF (FTCS), which selects stocks from the NASDAQ Index, produced only 9.63% annualized return with a maximum drawdown of -53.6%.
  • FTCS’s performance is not much better than that for SPY (the ETF tracking the S&P 500), which over this period returned 8.25% annualized, with a maximum drawdown of -55.2%.

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Correlation between the iM ETF Models

Currently we have 12 different ETF models at iMarketSignals. The various models and their correlation between them are shown below.

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The iM-5 ETF Trader

  • This system always holds five ETFs (equity-, fixed income-, leveraged equity-, short equity-, and Gold-ETFs) selected according to stock market climate and rank.
  • Typically, during good-equity markets it holds equity-ETFs and/or leveraged-equity ETFs, and during bad-markets fixed income-ETFs and/or short equity-ETFs. Also at times it can hold three gold-ETFs with other ETFs.
  • A one factor ranking system selects five ETFs from a preselected list of 33 ETFs. A simulation from 2000 to 2017 shows a 35% annualized return with a maximum drawdown of -13%.

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The iM-Minimum Drawdown Combo

In our continued effort to satisfy request for low drawdowns models with reasonable turnover and good returns we provide this model, which combines:

The combo showed a simulated 22.2% annualized return with a maximum drawdown of -7.7% when backtested from Jan-2000 to Apr-2017.

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The iM-Low Turnover Composite Timer Combo

In an effort to satisfy request for low turnover models with low drawdowns and reasonable returns we provide this model, which combines:

  • the iM-Comp Mkt Timer Stocks/Bonds (VOE-BIV) based on the iM-Composite Timer (SPY-IEF) which holds only one ETF at any time (33% weight in the combo),
  • and the iM-Composite Mkt Timer(GLD&SCHP+VTV&VOE+BIV&LQD) based on the iM-Composite (Gold-Stocks-Bond) Timer which holds two ETFs concurrently (67% weight in the combo).
  • This combination model always holds two or three ETFs at any time for a minimum period of six weeks before any of them can be sold.

The combo showed a 17.6% annualized return with a maximum drawdown of -11.2% when backtested from Jan-2000 to Mar-2017 on the simulation platform Portfolio 123.

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Improvements to the iM HiD-LoV-7 System

  • The system screens for high dividend, low volatility S&P 500 stocks yielding significantly more than the average yield of the index and which also have a low 3-yr beta.
  • Market timing rules related to our long-period backtest models, the MAC-US Timer, CAPE-Cycle-ID, and Inflation Timer have been incorporated into the model’s algorithm, and turnover has been modestly increased by introducing an additional sell signal based on volatility.
  • The 16.5 year backtest of the original iM HiD-LoV-7 System produced annualized return of about 22% with a maximum drawdown of -34%, whereas the improved model provided annualized return of about 25% with a maximum drawdown of -14% over the same backtest period. (Figure-3a)

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Updated: Timing the Stock Market with the Inflation Rate

  • Stocks usually perform poorly when inflation is on the rise. Using the inflation rate, we developed a market timer according to two simple rules.
  • Switching according to the Timer signals between the S&P500 with dividends and a money-market fund would have provided from Aug-1953 to end of Jan-2016 and annualized return of 12.69%.
  • Over the same period buy-and-hold of the S&P500 with dividends showed an annualized return of 10.08%, producing about a quarter of the total return of the Timer model.

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The MAC-US Timer – a Moving Average Crossover System of the S&P 500

  • Switching between stocks and bonds as signaled by a simple moving average crossover system of the S&P 500 – the MAC-US Timer – produces significantly higher returns than buy-and-hold stocks.
  • The model has been updated from Aug-1965 to Jan-2017, conservatively assuming that funds are placed in the money market when not in the stock market.

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