The U.S. Sector strategy allocates dynamically between four long U.S. sector sub-strategies. Each of the four long sub-strategies use different momentum and mean reversion criteria

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 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.

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 |

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The total return, or increase in value over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 42.7%, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (123.6%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 20.1%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 89.9% from the benchmark.

'Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a business and investing specific term for the geometric progression ratio that provides a constant rate of return over the time period. CAGR is not an accounting term, but it is often used to describe some element of the business, for example revenue, units delivered, registered users, etc. CAGR dampens the effect of volatility of periodic returns that can render arithmetic means irrelevant. It is particularly useful to compare growth rates from various data sets of common domain such as revenue growth of companies in the same industry.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (17.5%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4% of US Sector Rotation Strategy is smaller, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 6.3%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 23.8% from the benchmark.

'Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. In the securities markets, volatility is often associated with big swings in either direction. For example, when the stock market rises and falls more than one percent over a sustained period of time, it is called a 'volatile' market.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the volatility of 9.6% in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (18.9%)
- Looking at volatility in of 11.4% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (21.8%).

'Risk measures typically quantify the downside risk, whereas the standard deviation (an example of a deviation risk measure) measures both the upside and downside risk. Specifically, downside risk in our definition is the semi-deviation, that is the standard deviation of all negative returns.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (13.7%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside volatility of 6.9% of US Sector Rotation Strategy is smaller, thus better.
- Looking at downside deviation in of 8.2% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (15.8%).

'The Sharpe ratio was developed by Nobel laureate William F. Sharpe, and is used to help investors understand the return of an investment compared to its risk. The ratio is the average return earned in excess of the risk-free rate per unit of volatility or total risk. Subtracting the risk-free rate from the mean return allows an investor to better isolate the profits associated with risk-taking activities. One intuition of this calculation is that a portfolio engaging in 'zero risk' investments, such as the purchase of U.S. Treasury bills (for which the expected return is the risk-free rate), has a Sharpe ratio of exactly zero. Generally, the greater the value of the Sharpe ratio, the more attractive the risk-adjusted return.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.5 in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.79)
- During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 0.33, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.98 from the benchmark.

'The Sortino ratio improves upon the Sharpe ratio by isolating downside volatility from total volatility by dividing excess return by the downside deviation. The Sortino ratio is a variation of the Sharpe ratio that differentiates harmful volatility from total overall volatility by using the asset's standard deviation of negative asset returns, called downside deviation. The Sortino ratio takes the asset's return and subtracts the risk-free rate, and then divides that amount by the asset's downside deviation. The ratio was named after Frank A. Sortino.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.71 in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (1.09)
- Looking at excess return divided by the downside deviation in of 0.46 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (1.35).

'The Ulcer Index is a technical indicator that measures downside risk, in terms of both the depth and duration of price declines. The index increases in value as the price moves farther away from a recent high and falls as the price rises to new highs. The indicator is usually calculated over a 14-day period, with the Ulcer Index showing the percentage drawdown a trader can expect from the high over that period. The greater the value of the Ulcer Index, the longer it takes for a stock to get back to the former high.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The Ulcer Index over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 3.24 , which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (5.59 ) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (6.04 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 4 is smaller, thus better.

'Maximum drawdown measures the loss in any losing period during a fund’s investment record. It is defined as the percent retrenchment from a fund’s peak value to the fund’s valley value. The drawdown is in effect from the time the fund’s retrenchment begins until a new fund high is reached. The maximum drawdown encompasses both the period from the fund’s peak to the fund’s valley (length), and the time from the fund’s valley to a new fund high (recovery). It measures the largest percentage drawdown that has occurred in any fund’s data record.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is -18.8 days, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -18.8 days is larger, thus better.

'The Maximum Drawdown Duration is an extension of the Maximum Drawdown. However, this metric does not explain the drawdown in dollars or percentages, rather in days, weeks, or months. It is the length of time the account was in the Max Drawdown. A Max Drawdown measures a retrenchment from when an equity curve reaches a new high. It’s the maximum an account lost during that retrenchment. This method is applied because a valley can’t be measured until a new high occurs. Once the new high is reached, the percentage change from the old high to the bottom of the largest trough is recorded.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days below previous high of 414 days of US Sector Rotation Strategy is greater, thus worse.
- Looking at maximum days under water in of 414 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (119 days).

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (32 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days under water of 91 days of US Sector Rotation Strategy is larger, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (22 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 131 days is greater, thus worse.

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- Note that yearly returns do not equal 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.