Description of US Sector Rotation Strategy

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.

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, when measuring performance, is the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time. Total return accounts for two categories of return: income including interest paid by fixed-income investments, distributions or dividends and capital appreciation, representing the change in the market price of an asset.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (71.7%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return of 78.6% of US Sector Rotation Strategy is greater, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or performance is 32.2%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 45.2% from the benchmark.

CAGR:

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3% in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (11.4%)
  • Compared with SPY (13.2%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 9.7% is smaller, thus worse.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (13.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 8.3% of US Sector Rotation Strategy is lower, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the volatility is 7.8%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 12.9% from the benchmark.

DownVol:

'Downside risk is the financial risk associated with losses. That is, it is the risk of the actual return being below the expected return, or the uncertainty about the magnitude of that difference. 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:
  • Looking at the downside risk of 9% in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.9%)
  • Looking at downside risk in of 8.6% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (14.6%).

Sharpe:

'The Sharpe ratio is the measure of risk-adjusted return of a financial portfolio. Sharpe ratio is a measure of excess portfolio return over the risk-free rate relative to its standard deviation. Normally, the 90-day Treasury bill rate is taken as the proxy for risk-free rate. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers. The measure was named after William F Sharpe, a Nobel laureate and professor of finance, emeritus at Stanford University.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.66) in the period of the last 5 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 1.18 of US Sector Rotation Strategy is larger, thus better.
  • Looking at ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) in of 0.92 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.83).

Sortino:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.09 in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.6)
  • Compared with SPY (0.74) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.84 is larger, thus better.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The Ulcer Index over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 1.95 , which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (3.99 ) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 1.91 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 4.1 from the benchmark.

MaxDD:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the maximum drop from peak to valley of -8.6 days in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days)
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley is -8.6 days, which is greater, thus better than the value of -19.3 days from the benchmark.

MaxDuration:

'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.'

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.
  • Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 94 days is lower, thus better.

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (41 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days under water of 29 days of US Sector Rotation Strategy is smaller, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (35 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 27 days is smaller, thus better.

Performance of US Sector Rotation Strategy (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of US Sector Rotation Strategy
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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.