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Strategies For Trading Inverse Volatility

Update: You can see the most recent performance our our inverse volatility strategy here. In this paper, I present five different strategies you can use to trade inverse volatility. Why trade inverse volatility you ask? Because since 2011, trading inverse volatility was probably the most rewarding investment an investor could make in the markets. Annual returns of between 40% - 100% have been possible which crushes any other strategy I know. Smartly Trading inverse volatility In modern markets, the best way to protect capital would be to rotate out of falling assets, like we do in our rotation strategies. This is relatively easy, if you are invested only in a few ETFs, but it is much more difficult, if you are invested in a lot of different shares. In such a situation an easy way to protect capital is to hedge it, going long VIX Futures, VIX call options or VIX ETFs VXX. If you trade inverse volatility, which means going short VIX, you play the role of an insurer who sells worried investors an insurance policy to protect them from falling stock markets. To hedge a portfolio by 100% an investor needs to buy VXX ETFs for about 20% of the portfolio value. The VXX ETF loses up to 10% of it's value per month, because of the VIX Futures contango, so this means that scared investors are willing to pay 1.5-2% of the portfolio value per month or around 25% per year for this insurance. Investing in inverse volatility means nothing more, than taking over the risk and collecting this insurance premium from worried investors and you can capitalize on this with a few simple strategies, which I will show you below. Something seems afoot. Why do investors pay 25% per year to hedge 100% of an S&P 500 portfolio [...]

2017-04-20T01:14:31+00:00 By |38 Comments

Hedging Portfolio: Comparison of TMV, TMF or EDV

TMF is by far not so good as TMV short for hedging portfolio. Here is the 12 month comparison. While all treasuries had quite big losses of about -7%, a shortTMV position was flat over the year. I think for IRA accounts the better and saver way of hedging would be a part of the investment in the Bond rotation. This one should make 10-15% per year and is also good for hedging portfolio. Hedging Portfolio with different instruments in comparison Below chart: EDV -7.2% TMF -18.2% (divide by 2 because TMF=2xEDV) -9.1% TMV 0.6% /2 = 0.3% = -0.3% because you are short TMV Conclusion: If you can short, then use TMV for hedging. If not, then better do not hedge or use the Bond Rotation Strategy for hedging portfolio. You can employ this hedging portfolio with our Sleep Well Bond Rotation Strategy, here a summary or look at the recent performance: Our high yield Bond Rotation Strategy is one of our core investment strategies. The strategy invests on a monthly basis in two of four different bonds as hedging portfolio. This is the perfect strategy if you are looking for a safe long term investment and if you want to sleep well even during turbulent financial markets and be covered by hedging. The extremely low volatility (risk) of this strategy is only 7.9% which is about 3-4x less than the S&P500 volatility. The 4 Bonds are: CWB – SPDR Barclays Convertible Bond JNK: SPDR Barcap High-Yield Junk Bond (4-7yr) PCY: PowerShares Emerging Mkts Bond (7-9yr) TLT: iShares Barclays Long-Term Trsry (15-18yr) The strategy is a very conservative approach to maximize your portfolio return and on the same time minimize the risk of losses. During the 2008 financial crisis the S&P500 lost more than 50%. This strategy ended the year 2008 [...]

2017-02-20T12:45:22+00:00 By |0 Comments

Avoid DrawDown: TMV hedging and timing

TMV should stay in place for quite some long time, and it´s a great investment to harvest time decay and avoid drawdown. The big tapering drawdowns of 2013 are past history. You don't need to look daily at the TMV short hedge. Just keep it. TMV is a loser and if you stay short it will be a long term winner. It should return about 10-15% per year. How to avoid drawdown using TMV Here is a long term chart of TMV. As you see, it lost 80% of it's value in the last 4 years. So being long TMV is one of the best way to destroy money - and this is why we short it. This to benefit from the time decay, but also to avoid drawdown in times of market corrections. Here is a 12 month comparison with EDV and TMF. While all treasuries had quite big losses of about -7% in 2013, a short TMV position was flat over the year. EDV -7.2% TMF -18.2% (divide by 2 because TMF=+2xEDV) -9.1% TMV 0.6% (divide by -2 because TMV=-2xEDV) = -0.3% Since 2009 the average return of TMV short is nearly 20%. With normal ETFs you only profit from Treasury yield (dividends). From this you have to substract mangagement fee and time decay of leveraged ETFs like TMF. With TMV you profit from Treasury yield (dividends) and because you are short TMV you profit also from mangagement fee and time decay. You can use this technique in several of our strategies. Instead of going long TMF you just short the same number of shares in TMV. Or instead of TLT just short 1/3 of the shares TMV, this considers the leverage factor in TMV. In conclusion, this is a nice way to harvest the time decay [...]

2017-04-20T01:23:12+00:00 By |0 Comments

What is a hedge and why does it makes sense to do it?

A hedge is always an investment which is negatively correlated to the main investment. When the main investment goes down, the hedge should go up and if the main investment goes up, then the hedge normally goes down. It is clear, that we like the first, which is to reduce the draw downs with a hedge, but not to reduce the gains. If you have a stock portfolio, then the main hedge possibilities are: A VIX ETF like VXX or a VIX Future. These have nearly a -1 correlation. An inverse ETF on a index like SH which is the inverse of the S&P 500 SPY ETF Precious metals like GLD or SLV Treasuries A lot of people use 1) and 2) to hedge their positions. This may probably make sense if you have a big stock portfolio, and you can not sell everything instantly in case of a market crash. These two must be perfectly timed. I do not think it makes sense to use them as a hedge for longer periods because the VXX ETF has an extremely strong down trend of about 5-10% per month. This is a very effective but also very expensive hedge. Such a hedge will ruin the performance of your portfolio if you keep it longer then one or two weeks. Same with SH. Because the S&P 500 has a long term up trend of about 8%, you will lose about these 8% per year if you use SH as a long term hedge. Precious metals 3) are much better. They are a safe haven investment. They normally have an inverse correlation to the stock market in times of trouble and on the longer term they should go up at least because of inflation. Gold and Silver are today priced about at their [...]

2017-02-20T12:45:31+00:00 By |7 Comments

Risk Management using Timed Hedging – Avoid DrawDowns

As you perhaps know I have invested all my money in my own strategies, and I and my family (the best wife of all and 4 nice children) are living from the return of these investments. So, I just cannot afford to lose much money in market corrections. Therefore I always try to improve the strategies to lower the risk of major losses through hedging. Timed Hedging The new "Timed hedging" is a major improvement of the rotation strategies. It increases the Return to Risk ratio of all strategies a lot. Timed hedging allows you to reduce the downside risk or the volatility of your investment by about 1/3rd without affecting the performance of the strategies. An excellent way to reduce the volatility or risk of your investment is hedging with Treasuries. Treasuries are most of the time negatively correlated to the stock market and still have a long term positive return. In my strategy emails, I will from now on always give an indication on how you can hedge the current strategy investment. There is a good possibility that 2014 will be a more choppy market than 2013. The 32% performance of the US stock market is just crying for some corrections, even if the economy outlook is still very positive. In a normal year like 2012 without tapering, the stock market (MDY – orange) and Treasuries (EDV – blue) have nearly perfectly mirrored charts. 2013 was a special year with extremely fast rising treasury yields during the summer period. This had the effect, that long duration ETFs like EDV lost up to 20% for the whole year. Since the beginning of 2014 treasuries show again a normal negative correlation of about -0.5 to the stock market (SPY). Since hedging with Treasuries is an extremely simple and effective [...]

2017-03-14T22:11:11+00:00 By |14 Comments

Enhancement of the Treasury hedge in our strategies

For many years, most of our strategies used long term Treasuries (TLT, TMF) as a hedge against market corrections. These Treasuries have been a safe haven asset with negative correlation to the stock market and have been used successfully to reduce the risk/volatility of our strategies. With rising rates and inflation, long term treasuries lose a part of their value as a safe haven asset. Their hedging value depends mainly on the speed interest rates go up. If rates go up slowly and inflation stays low, then ETFs like TLT will still be a good hedging choice. To be on the safe side we diversified our strategy hedge.   Universal Investment Strategy UIS Our U.S. based Universal Investment Strategy UIS will have a hedge that can now choose between TLT and TIP. TIP is a very liquid inflation protected Treasury. TIP is less volatile than TLT and is a good alternative when TLT is heading lower. Here is a 10 year comparison between TLT (lower red chart) and the hedging algorithm which switches between TLT and TIP (lower black chart). In the year to date chart you can see how the allocation switches between TLT and TIP. Since October the hedging strategy is invested in TIP. The new UIS strategy allocates between SPY and the TLT/TIP hedging strategy. The annual return (CAGR) for the last 10 years has been 12.06% with a Sharpe ratio of 1.4. This compares with the performance of the original UIS strategy of CAGR 9.5% and Sharpe 1.1. So there is a clear improvement for the new strategy.   The Bond Rotation Strategy BRS The Bond Rotation Strategy BRS will be improved by also adding TIP as a 5th ETF. BRS did very well this year with a year to date performance of 11.36% and [...]

2017-03-14T22:11:10+00:00 By |39 Comments