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 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 performance over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 82%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (63%) in the same period.
  • Looking at total return, or performance in of 31.2% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (39.8%).

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the annual performance (CAGR) of 12.7% in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (10.3%)
  • During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 9.5%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 11.8% from the benchmark.

Volatility:

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the volatility of 8.3% in the last 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.6%)
  • Compared with SPY (12.7%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 7.8% is lower, thus better.

DownVol:

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

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The downside deviation over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 8.8%, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (14.9%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (14.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside deviation of 8.5% 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.57) in the period of the last 5 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 1.24 of US Sector Rotation Strategy is larger, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (0.73) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.89 is greater, thus better.

Sortino:

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 1.16, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.52) in the same period.
  • Looking at excess return divided by the downside deviation in of 0.82 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.65).

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 Ratio over 5 years of US Sector Rotation Strategy is 1.93 , which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (4.01 ) in the same period.
  • Looking at Ulcer Ratio in of 2.15 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (4.08 ).

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.'

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 reduction from previous high is -8.6 days, which is higher, 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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days below previous high of 135 days of US Sector Rotation Strategy is smaller, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark is 117 days, which is smaller, thus better than the value of 139 days from the benchmark.

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 28 days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (41 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (36 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 35 days is lower, 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.