Description of US Sector Rotation Strategy

The U.S. Sector strategy allocates dynamically between four long U.S. sector sub-strategies and one short U.S. sector strategy. Each of the four long sub-strategies use different momentum and mean reversion criteria. The short U.S. sector sub-strategy is used as a hedge to limit losses in case of a large market correction.

Due to the low correlation of these strategies, the combination creates a strategy with a considerably higher Sharpe Ratio than a simple sector rotation. The addition of the negatively correlated short strategy significantly reduces volatility and drawdowns during difficult market periods.

What makes this strategy interesting is that it does not rely on either treasuries or bonds to hedge in times of market stress, it uses the short US sector strategy instead. The hedging mechanism is purely "short equity" and unrelated to whether interest rates rise, a common concern when holding bonds in a portfolio.

The strategy uses SPDR sector ETFs, but you can replace these with the corresponding sector ETFs or futures from other issuers.

US sectors have historically been good for trend following systems because each sector usually over or under performs for long periods at a time due to longer lasting economic cycles and not just short-term market fluctuations.

The economy itself is not a linear stable system, but swings between periods of expansion (growth) and contraction (recession). This results in a series of market cycles which are visualized in the following picture.

Source: http://www.nowandfutures.com (Global Business Cycles)

Each market cycle favors different industry sectors. The goal of a good working strategy is to choose the best performing sectors while avoiding or even shorting the worst performing sectors.

You can read the original strategy whitepaper for more details.

Methodology & Assets

U.S. industry sectors ETFs, their corresponding inverse or short sector ETFs and optional futures:

U.S. Sector ETF Inverse (leverage) Globex Futures
Materials XLB SMN (-2x) IXB
Energy XLE ERY (-3x) IXEe
Financial XLF SKF (-2x) IXM
Industrials XLI SIJ (-2x) IXI
Technology XLK REW (-2x) IXT
Consumer Staples XLP SZK (-2x) IXR
Real Estate XLRE SRS (-2x) -
Utilities XLU SDP (-2x) IXU
Health Care XLV RXD (-2x) IXV
Consumer Discretionary XLY SCC (-2x) IXY

Statistics of US Sector Rotation Strategy (YTD)

What do these metrics mean? [Read More] [Hide]

TotalReturn:

'Total return is the amount of value an investor earns from a security over a specific period, typically one year, when all distributions are reinvested. Total return is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. For example, a total return of 20% means the security increased by 20% of its original value due to a price increase, distribution of dividends (if a stock), coupons (if a bond) or capital gains (if a fund). Total return is a strong measure of an investment’s overall performance.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The total return, or performance over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 93.8%, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (72.2%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (48.3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of 41.3% is lower, thus worse.

CAGR:

'The compound annual growth rate isn't a true return rate, but rather a representational figure. It is essentially a number that describes the rate at which an investment would have grown if it had grown the same rate every year and the profits were reinvested at the end of each year. In reality, this sort of performance is unlikely. However, CAGR can be used to smooth returns so that they may be more easily understood when compared to alternative investments.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the annual return (CAGR) of 14.2% in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (11.5%)
  • During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 12.2%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 14.1% from the benchmark.

Volatility:

'In finance, volatility (symbol σ) is the degree of variation of a trading price series over time as measured by the standard deviation of logarithmic returns. Historic volatility measures a time series of past market prices. Implied volatility looks forward in time, being derived from the market price of a market-traded derivative (in particular, an option). Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the 30 days standard deviation of 8.1% in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.2%)
  • During the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation is 7.6%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 12.4% from the benchmark.

DownVol:

'The downside volatility is similar to the volatility, or standard deviation, but only takes losing/negative periods into account.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The downside deviation over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 8.7%, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (14.5%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (14.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside deviation of 8.2% is lower, thus better.

Sharpe:

'The Sharpe ratio (also known as the Sharpe index, the Sharpe measure, and the reward-to-variability ratio) is a way to examine the performance of an investment by adjusting for its risk. The ratio measures the excess return (or risk premium) per unit of deviation in an investment asset or a trading strategy, typically referred to as risk, named after William F. Sharpe.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 1.43 in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.68)
  • Compared with SPY (0.93) in the period of the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 1.28 is higher, thus better.

Sortino:

'The Sortino ratio, a variation of the Sharpe ratio only factors in the downside, or negative volatility, rather than the total volatility used in calculating the Sharpe ratio. The theory behind the Sortino variation is that upside volatility is a plus for the investment, and it, therefore, should not be included in the risk calculation. Therefore, the Sortino ratio takes upside volatility out of the equation and uses only the downside standard deviation in its calculation instead of the total standard deviation that is used in calculating the Sharpe ratio.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The excess return divided by the downside deviation over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 1.34, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.62) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is 1.18, which is greater, thus better than the value of 0.82 from the benchmark.

Ulcer:

'The ulcer index is a stock market risk measure or technical analysis indicator devised by Peter Martin in 1987, and published by him and Byron McCann in their 1989 book The Investors Guide to Fidelity Funds. It's designed as a measure of volatility, but only volatility in the downward direction, i.e. the amount of drawdown or retracement occurring over a period. Other volatility measures like standard deviation treat up and down movement equally, but a trader doesn't mind upward movement, it's the downside that causes stress and stomach ulcers that the index's name suggests.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (3.95 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Index of 1.9 of US Sector Rotation Strategy is lower, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the Downside risk index is 2.11 , which is lower, thus worse than the value of 4 from the benchmark.

MaxDD:

'Maximum drawdown is defined as the peak-to-trough decline of an investment during a specific period. It is usually quoted as a percentage of the peak value. The maximum drawdown can be calculated based on absolute returns, in order to identify strategies that suffer less during market downturns, such as low-volatility strategies. However, the maximum drawdown can also be calculated based on returns relative to a benchmark index, for identifying strategies that show steady outperformance over time.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -8.6 days of US Sector Rotation Strategy is greater, thus better.
  • Looking at maximum drop from peak to valley in of -8.6 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (-19.3 days).

MaxDuration:

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Max Drawdown Duration is the worst (the maximum/longest) amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs) in days.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The maximum days under water over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 135 days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at maximum days under water in of 135 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (139 days).

AveDuration:

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Avg Drawdown Duration is the average amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs), or in other terms the average of time under water of all drawdowns. So in contrast to the Maximum duration it does not measure only one drawdown event but calculates the average of all.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The average days below previous high over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 26 days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (41 days) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark is 35 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 36 days from the benchmark.

Performance of US Sector Rotation Strategy (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of US Sector Rotation Strategy
()

Allocations

Returns of US Sector Rotation Strategy (%)

  • "Year" returns in the table above are not equal to the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of US Sector Rotation Strategy are hypothetical, do not account for slippage, fees or taxes, and are based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.