Blog Archives

The iM-Capital Strength 20-Stock Universe of the Russell 1000: Performance

  • This Universe holds 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 Universe is reconstituted weekly, and consists of 20 large-cap stocks with Capital Strength type characteristics from the Russell 1000 Index.
  • A backtest, without any buy- and sell-rules, from Jan-2000 to end of Jun-2017 showed a 10.0% annualized return with a maximum drawdown of -41.5%.
  • A comparison with Vanguard’s large-cap ETFs older than 10 years shows that for periods 1-year and longer the Universe would have produced higher returns than any of the five ETFs.

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Beating Vanguard’s Large-Cap ETFs with a Tax Efficient Capital Strength Portfolio 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 is quarterly rebalanced and reconstituted, and consists of six large-cap stocks with Capital Strength type characteristics from the Russell 1000 Index, typically held for at least one year.
  • A backtest, from Jan-2000 to end of Jun-2017, showed a 17.7% annualized return with a maximum drawdown of -23.3% and a low average annual turnover of about 70%.
  • A comparison with Vanguard’s large-cap ETFs older than 10 years shows that for all listed investment periods the Portfolio would have produced higher returns than any of the five ETFs.

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Performance Update of the Best10(VDIGX)-Trader: Trading the Stocks of the Vanguard Dividend Growth Fund – VDIGX

  • The Vanguard Dividend Growth Fund-VDIGX is closed to new investors. Want-to-be investors can possibly do better than the fund by investing only in a few positions of the fund’s holdings.
  • The iM-Best10(VDIGX)-Trader relies on the expertise of the Vanguard’s advisors to make the primary stock selection. VDIGX currently holds 45 large-cap stocks from which the Trader periodically picks its stocks.
  • The Trader invests in the ten highest ranked stocks of VDIGX. This strategy, postulated in 2014, has produced to Jun-2017 a 3-year return of more than double that of VDIGX.
  • The 3-year performance of the Trader was 64.1% versus 28.4% for VDIGX, giving an excess return of 35.7%. Trading frequency was low, with positions held on average for 126 days.

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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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