Back to the Beginning

In 2010 when I started this post, I recommended that one of the better methods of selecting equities was to find those sectors that were showing high relative strength with positive momentum. Selecting the highest relative strength sector with positive momentum should outperform.

I chose four sectors as illustrations.

XLE: Energy (Green)

XLY: Consumer Discretionary (Red)

XLU: Utilities (Cyan)

XTN: Transportation (Yellow)

The following chart as of the close of Friday, July 9, 2021, shows the current relative strength of these four sectors.

Relative Strength

In the many past posts, I have recommended that to be successful in swing trading, one has to be aware of the individual securities relative strength as it compares to some index of its peers.

The following chart is an example of  OIH which is the oil VanEck oil services ETF. I have compared this ETF to SPY, which represents the Standard & Poors 500 index.

 

The prices are as of the close yesterday, January 12, 2021.

The rules are very simple, and the action indicated by the up and down arrows reflects the result of following the rules.

  1. Buy when the target security is stronger, on a relative strength basis than the index.
  2. Buy ONLY when the target is stronger, has positive momentum, and the index is also going up.
  3. Close the position when any condition is violated. Shown by blue vertical lines.
  4. The rules apply to shorting when the actions are the opposite of the buy rules.

Market Timing Signal

Most investors find that timing the market, which is trying to determine whether to be invested or not, is not something that is within reach.

My experience tells me that not only is it possible, but it is also very important in these volatile times.

The ‘market’ can be illustrated by looking at the performance of the S& P 500 index, which comprises a good section of the United States economy.

The above graph shows the S&P 500 index, ETF: SPY, as of the close on Friday, December 4, 2020. It shows that there was a significant decline beginning at the end of February 2020 with a nice recovery starting in April 2020. It would have been ideal to find some way of getting out of the way of the decline and getting on the right path in April.

There is that kind of early, or at least not so late way, of doing just that!

In the past, which is certainly no predictor of future behavior, the movement of the U.S. Treasury note and bond market, has behaved in an almost opposite manner to the equity market. The avoidance of equity risk has shifted the money flow into the safe haven of U.S. Treasuries and vice versa. In the past then, the equity market has been negatively correlated to the Treasury market. So, when equities are getting strong, Treasuries should be getting weaker, etc.

I have chosen an ETF which is a good indicator of the U.S Treasury market: EDV, the Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury ETF.

Prices reflect the close of December 4, 2020.

 

The following chart shows the relationship between the price movement of SPY and EDV during the period of February 2020t to the close of Friday, December 4, 2020.

SPY is represented by the green line and EDV is represented by the red line in section three of the graph.

The next line shows the relative strength of SPY versus EDV. Green shows that SPY is stronger, Red shows that it is weaker.

The same is true on the bottom part of the illustration. The cross indicator on the individual ETFs show positive or negative momentum of the individual ETF.

 

The answer then is that one could make a market timing decision by watching the relative strength between equities (SPY) and Treasuries (EDV) and act accordingly. Purchase the equity market when it is in a positive relative strength to the Treasury market, which is represented by the Green vertical lines. Stay on the sidelines when it appears that the Treasury market is stronger than the equity market, the Red lines.

 

 

High Volatility versus Low Volatility

There is a fascinating article in today’s Wall Street Journal in its quarterly “Investing In Funds & ETFs on page R3.: The Time to High-Beta?

Once a Quarter.

The thesis is that new research conducted says that: “high -beta stocks tend to outperform in just one week per quarter. Only in that week, therefore, does it make sense that traders bet on high-beta stocks. That week occurs in the quarterly earnings season.

The article goes on to that to test the theory, one would invest, during the first week of earnings season in a high-beta stock ETF while shorting an equal dollar amount of a low ETF.

Their example in the article regarding a high-beta fund is the Invesco High Beta ETF. (SPHV) That ETF  contains the 100 highest beta stocks of the S&P 500 index. The 100 selected have the “highest sensitivity to market movements, or beta, over the past 12 months. The fund and the index are rebalanced and reconstituted quarterly in February, May, August, and November.”

The example of low beta is the Invesco S&P Low Volatility ETF(SPLV) which contains 100 S&P 500 stocks with the lowest realized volatility over the past 12 months. It then weighs each stock based on its volatility(well, lack thereof).

I assume it is rebalanced every month, but was unable to speak to anyone at Invesco to give me that information.

The article begs the question of whether a strategy of ALWAYS having a position in being long/short SPHV versus the reverse in SPLV would be successful?

The following illustration says YES!

The green vertical lines indicate long SPHB and short SPLV. The red vertical lines indicate long SPLV and short SPHB.

 

Swingtrader Suite for Day Trading

Many times I have been asked if the PerfectStorm strategy that works so well for swing trading has any use for the thousands of traders who day trade. Perhaps the following illustrations will be helpful. All graphs are as of the close of business of Friday, June 5, 2020.

The above picture is the daily results of BA versus SPY.

The top is BA, and the next security is SPY. The next line represents the relative strength of BA versus SPY. When the line is going up and GREEN, BA is stronger than SPY. When the line is going down and RED, SPY is stronger than BA.

The Vertical lines represent, when GREEN, that BA should be bought. When the vertical line is BLUE, the trade should be closed. When the vertical line is RED, BA should be short. Many hedge funds, when the trade indicates, will be short the opposite security, that is, when indicated long BA, they will be short SPY and vice versa.

 

The next picture is of BA versus SPY on a twenty-minute basis. I have left off the vertical signal lines, but a careful analysis will dictate the long/short position.

The next picture is of BA versus SPY on a two-minute chart.

There are thousands of “pairs” that can be traded in the same manner. Just ask Medallion Fund, or Citadel, or World Quant or the many other Quant funds.

I can be reached for further information at rfeit@msn.com or (516) 902-7402

Relative Strength with Momentum

Readers of the swingtrader.com blog will have noticed that the overall theme that I have proposed is that to be a successful swing trader one has to understand the principle of relative strength with positive momentum.

I originally proposed the concept in an e-book that I had offered in 2000. Because of my lack of web marketing, it was only downloaded a few times, although it was free.

Over the past few months, I have received multiple offerings of momentum services that offer similar strategies that I have been discussing on my swingtrader.com, relativevalue.com and perfectstormtradingstrategy.com websites for the past ten years or more.

One of the offers was a service, using only four ETF’s, that the provider stated would constantly beat the market.

Over the next few weeks and months, I am going to have on the swingtrader.com website an example, updated weekly or daily if necessary, of my 4 ETF strategy. If followed, the strategy should emulate the best of the services being offered. It is certainly not a recommendation of what to buy or sell, but an example of what can be accomplished by using a relative strength with momentum strategy. It is for illustrative purposes ONLY!

The four ETF’s chosen are the result of my own research. They should portray a representation of the changes in market sector rotation. The four ETF’s have a positive and negative correlation with each other. The ETF’s are displayed here on daily charts.

I will update the daily charts when appropriate.

Remember, Green=XLE, Energy. Red=XLY, Consumer Discretionary. Light Blue=XLU, Utilities. Yellow=XTN, Transportation.

Latest update July 11, 2019, 8:00 AM

 

 

Dividend Aristocrat strategy

Many traders only look for high probability trades without making sure that there is also a high expectancy outcome.

A great example is so-called Russian roulette. Load a six capacity revolver with five bullets leaving one chamber empty. Spin the revolver mechanism and put the gun to your head. Pull the trigger. The player has an 83% chance of not killing him or herself. High probability, 83% versus 13%, but the 13% is a total loss. Not a few ticks or pennies, but a total loss with no possibility of recovery, ever!

Expectancy knows that regardless of the probability, there is a high level of payout that outweighs the losses.

The successful trader realizes that a system of small probability can be very successful if the average trade has a very high payout for wins versus little loss if the trade doesn’t work out. The best strategy would have a high probability AND a high expectancy.

For example, if one flips a coin a few hundred times and receives $300 each time the coin shows ‘heads’ and loses $100 each time the coin shows ‘tails’, the normal distribution of approximately 50% would earn the coin flipper a high expected return. The coin flipper would have high expected return with anything better than a 25% heads versus tails distribution.

An example of a high probability, high expectancy swing trader strategy is derived from an article in Seeking Alpha, December 23, 2016, “The 10 Best Dividend Aristocrats for 2017 And Beyond”. The piece refers to 10 stocks from a wide range of industries which have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. “Market Watch” reported on September 9, 2016, that Dividend Aristocrats stocks almost doubled the returns of the S&P stocks in 2016. Many other studies of dividend aristocrats show similar results over much longer time periods.

Below are the 10 Dividend Aristocrats mentioned in the Seeking Alpha article. Once again, the relative momentum is color coded to represent the issues that are also color coded.

It is expected that performance will be better if one were to chose only the issues that are exhibiting only positive(above the zero line, purple) momentum.

Higher probability with a higher expected outcome.

VFC=VFC Corp, ABT=Abbott Labs, JNJ=Johnson & Johnson, CAH=Cardinal Health, ABBV=AbbVie.

 

GWW=Grainger , MDT=Metronic, WMT=Walmart, BDX=Becton Dickinson, HRL=Hormel Foods.

 

Color coding on bottom chart refers to the color coding of the securities. Yellow=Yellow, etc.

Prices as of the close May 29, 2019

 

Swingtrading for farmers

Corn-Wheat 8-15-2014BTodays(Monday Aug 18, 2014) Wall Street Journal on page C1 has an article “U.S. Farmers Are Up to Ears in Corn”

To no ones surprise, the economic factors that led farmers to plant increasingly more acreage in corn has caused an oversupply of corn just when the demand is declining. This demand fall off is due to a decline in livestock herds and declining purchases from China.

In addition to the supply/demand problem, more farmers in certain parts of the country which have traditional planted wheat have moved to corn due to the changes in weather patterns over the last few years. In other parts of the country, the opposite is happening.

The choice to plant corn or wheat or a new combination of both is happening in farms all over North America.

Fortunately there are ways for farmers to hedge their crops. Traditionally that has been in the futures market.

In September 2011, Teucrium introduced an ETF designed to replicate the returns that mirror the movements in the spot prices of wheat. WEAT. It has developed other commodity ETF’s that follow corn,soybeans and others. The ETF for corn is CORN.  For more information on the construction and costs please go to the Teucrium website.

The following daily chart of CORN versus WEAT illustrates a Swingtrading approach to corn and wheat. Both commodities have been in a decline, but at various times, the better play was to follow the relative momentum. Prices as of the daily close, Friday, August 15,2014

Corn-Wheat 8-15-2014A

and a closer view:

Corn-Wheat 8-15-2014B

For further information on all the topics covered and how you can implement these and many others in your trading plan. Please contact me at rfeit@msn.com See www.relativevalue.com for day trading ideas.

Swing trading using pairs, Emerging versus Frontier Markets

A recent Wall Street Journal article, Saturday/Sunday February 1-2, 2014,tracked the relative performance of ETF’s representing emerging markets and even less developed economies referred to as ‘frontier markets’. The article points out that the frontier markets have seen a ‘steady trickle of investment from fund managers hoping to ride years of steady growth’.

I have used the ETF IEMG to represent emerging markets and the ETF FM to represent frontier markets.

Since the end of 2013, IEMG is down almost eight per-cent while FM has flat performance. The U.S. market as represented by SPY is down a little more than five per-cent.

As a portfolio manager who is looking to diversify into less developed emerging markets, a look at the relative strengths of IEMG versus FM would be of some value.

The following graph illustrates this point.

 

Pairs IEMG-FM 1-31-

Pairs trading. VIX versus SPY

One of the groups that are active in LinkedIn is Automated Trading Strategies(Algorithmic Trading of Stocks,…). A current questions is about the VIX and the SP500.

The VIX, first introduced by the CBOE in 1993 using the S&P100 (OEX) was a weighted measure of the implied volatility of at the money put and call options on the S&P 100. Some years later it was changed and is now based upon the S&P500 index. The ETF of the S&P500 is SPY. The VIX index is often called a fear index by traders because in most cases when the market is calm and moving in a narrow trading range, volatility is low. As the market sells off, anxiety among traders increases and volatility increases. The VIX raises in periods of higher volatility.

The VIX tends to move in an opposite direction as the S&P500.
The following chart of the SPY versus the VIX for the daily period ending January 10, 2014 should illustrate that point.

Pair-SPY-VIX 1-10-2014

The top wriiten symbol in green is SPY, the bottom security with the symbol written in red is the VIX.
The chart clearly illustrates that as the SPY rises, the VIX declines. As SPY declines, VIX rise.

The vertical lines indicate turning points in the direction of the SPY and the VIX. Green lines tell the trader to purchase SPY, the symbol written in green and sell VIX, the symbol written in red. Red vertical lines indicate the decision to purchase VIX the red symbol and sell SPY the green symbol.

The latest trading decision was indicated on October 16, 2013. Buy SPY, sell VIX.
If a trader had purchased SPY the next day at the high of 173.32 and held it through the close of 184.14 on January 10, 2013,it would represent a profit of 6.24%. A sale of VIX at the low of the next trading day after October 16 at 52 and still holding the sale through the close of 40.84 on January 10, 2014 would represent a 27.3% profit.