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The Logical-Invest monthly newsletter for July 2016

Logical Invest Investment Outlook July 2016 Our top year-to-date strategies: The Leveraged Universal strategy with 29.4% return. The Maximum Yield strategy with 24.6% return.  The World Top 4 with 12.6% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned 3.82%, year-to-date. Market comment: The big event for June was the British E.U. membership referendum. Contrary to widespread expectations, Britain's vote was in favour of leaving the Eurozone. Anyone trading on the 23rd experienced unprecedented volatility as the VIX first crashed on expectations of the "remain" camp winning and subsequently spiked up as the actual results came in. As of this writing the SP500 has almost recovered. Still, this provides an excellent opportunity to see how our strategies perform under a real and unprecedented market shock. Our core strategy, UIS saw a drawdown of barely -1.45%. Our BUG leveraged strategy, being 200% invested, lost no money and returned +7.4%, its majority allocation being in gold, treasuries and inflation protected treasuries (TIPS).  Our year-to-date top performers, the UIS 3x and MYRS strategies, returned +10.4% and +7.4%, completely ignoring the 'black-swan' event. So let us take a closer look and see why our strategies remained robust in this type of risky environment. Most of our current subscribers are familiar with the fact that all our strategies are hedged using treasuries, some using gold as well. The idea is to participate in longer term growth through equity investment while hedging  part of the portfolio in a leveraged treasury ETF. When a market negative event materializes, money flows to traditional safe heavens like treasuries or gold. Having a (variable) allocation to these will dampen the shock to the portfolio and sometimes even provide profit, especially if the shock to the system is temporary and the equity part recovers. Of course all this assumes that ETFs like SPY and TLT/GLD are inversely correlated, which is mostly the case. No wonder that most our strategies had a good June return: The two BUG strategies, being exposed to both TLT and [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |4 Comments

Correlation – Still the grand lady of Portfolio Diversification

It has been now 18 months since our post on “The power of diversification: Portfolios of Logical Invest Strategies”. Back then our main argument for diversification using a robust portfolio of several of our strategies was that “diversification is ‘a rare free lunch’, it is well accepted part of modern financial portfolios, and to stay financially healthy it is important not to skip lunch”. Several new strategies have been published since then, among them the “NASDAQ 100” strategy, the “Gold-Currency” strategy and our “Hell on Fire”, the 3x leveraged Universal Investment strategy. At the same time, we went through the bumpy start into 2016 and most recently the waves created by the BREXIT referendum. Does our stated hypothesis of formerly presented portfolios still hold true? How have the individual components performed, and most importantly, have they added value through low correlation? Have new optimum portfolios emerged since then?

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |31 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 [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |7 Comments

The Logical-Invest monthly newsletter for August 2016

Logical Invest Investment Outlook August 2016 Our top year-to-date strategies: The Leveraged Universal strategy with 40.6% return. The Maximum Yield strategy with 34.3% return.  The World Top 4 with 20.6% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned 7.6%, year-to-date. News: Our in-house software is available for licensing to professional clients. We are looking for registered investment advisers and wealth managers to partner with.   Market comment: Sentiment across mainstream media remains cautious despite the S&P500 index breaking to a new all time high, on July 8th. Many investors continue to perceive both the S&P and Treasuries as overpriced and due for a correction. Increased geopolitical risk includes the recent coup attempt in Turkey and a highly unstable environment in Syria. Europe has somewhat recovered from the Brexit shock only to find itself in a new controversy over troubled Italian banks. The ECB is continuing the controversial path of negative rates policy and widespread corporate bond purchases. Increasingly low yields have many wealth advisors prepare their clients for an era of lower future returns while they issue warnings of increased volatility. Short term traders remain baffled at this somewhat 'unresponsive' market, where neither the Turkey failed coup or the news from Italy have managed to 'spike' the VIX, which has steadily crawled down to a low 11.8. And yet we are enjoying a wonderful year. Our top two strategies continue to provide handsome returns: 34% for MYRS and 40% for 3x UIS. Our average return of all our strategies is 15.8%. July was most kind to our Nasdaq 100 strategy as it recovered 9.5% from a recent correction. It is up 13.8% for the year. Our current leaders, the MYRS and 3x UIS strategies continue on to higher profits with July returning 8.6% and 7.8% respectfully. The World Top 4 strategy follows with 7.1%. The BUG leveraged added 3.7% and is up 15% for the year. Our core conservative UIS is at a respectable 12.9%. Looking at 3 month Sharpe ratios, we get a similar picture: The winners in risk adjusted performance [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |0 Comments

Permanent Portfolio – Will We Ever Kill The Bug?

An analysis of Harry Browne´s Permanent Portfolio and further enhancements towards:  A Permanent Portfolio ETF Rotation Strategy employing Momentum, Mean Reversion, and Volatility Targeting. It’s not just cars. It’s investment strategies like the permanent portfolio, too. Vintage "all-weather" investment strategies are often simple, easy to execute and give amble 'out-of-sample' data. In other words one can see how they performed in life years after they have been proposed. And like the VW bug, they are "safe" choices. Tried and true. Can you imagine a 1965 VW running in the Autobahn? Although the essence counts for a lot, for the car to survive at today's highway speeds the tech needs to be up to date. So let’s take my favourite oldie and bring it up to speed: Harry Browne’s Permanent Portfolio. The Permanent Portfolio by Harry Browne From Investopedia: … Browne believed that the four asset classes would thrive in one of the four possible macroeconomic scenarios that exist. Stocks would thrive during periods of economic prosperity. Bonds would do well in deflation and acceptably well during periods of prosperity. Gold during periods of high inflation would rapidly increase in value as the only true defence against a deteriorating currency. Cash would act as a buffer against losses during a routine recession or tight-money episode, and would act well in deflationary times. So let’s see how the original permanent portfolio Harry Browne first published has performed. The original rules of the All Weather Portfolio: 25% in a stock market Index ( S&P 500) 25% in Treasuries 25% in Gold. 25% in Cash or similar Not bad. Annual return is 7.1% and maximum draw-down comes in at 17.84% since 1992. For a far more detailed analysis of the so-called fail-save investment or permanent portfolio or "PP" you can see Gestaltu's excellent "PP Shakedown" [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |7 Comments

Easy Investing in a multi-strategy Markowitz optimized Portfolio

In our recent post we´ve shared some powerful options to design a well-balanced portfolio of several Logical Invest strategies to achieve a preset portfolio objective using Modern portfolio theory (MPT) techniques developed by Nobel Prize laureate Harry Markowitz. Here, we review the steps to achieving an optimized portfolio with our tools and summarize some portfolio options to illustrate use of our updated tool set:(picture for mobile use)These options might serve as a starting point to design your own portfolio according to your return and risk preferences, fundamental beliefs or asset class preferences.How do I start easily designing my portfolio?You can design a portfolio to meet your objectives in three simple steps that will not take you more than 30 minutes initially, and about 15 minutes monthly for rebalancing: Design and Execute your Custom Portfolio Starting with our Online Custom Portfolio Builder, you can simply select a preset portfolio objective. The tool will report back the allocation across our strategies that achieves that objective based on our quantitative models, and on portfolio optimization procedures that analyze the last 2105 trading days. Additionally, the user can select the “Custom Portfolio” tab, enter any strategy allocation weights he wishes and similarly calculate the performance of his custom allocation. Combined with our “Consolidated Signals” tool which we will introduce in a minute, the results from Portfolio Builder will point the user to the allocation across ETFs and/or stocks that have the best prospect to meet his objective.A Practical Example:Here is a practical example: Let´s assume I  think a historical portfolio volatility of around 15% in the period 2008-2016 is acceptable to me I would simply choose the “Max15% Volatility” (and Max CAGR) portfolio from the preconfigured portfolio list. Strategy allocation weights are immediately shown in the performance table and the portfolio risk/return performance is graphed in comparison to that [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |2 Comments

Stocks, Bonds and Gold ETF Down

This past Friday (3/6/2015) was a difficult day for most portfolios that are long any major asset excluding the dollar index and volatility. Stocks, bonds and gold ETF declined. SPY was down 1.4%, TLT fell 2.2%, GLD (Gold ETF) also down 2.7%. We got some reactions from some of our subscribers asking if the models are failing, especially regarding the Gold ETF. So let's put things in perspective. Is this common? As you can see this is an outlier. It has only happened a few times in over 12 years that all, including Gold ETF fell.  Well, let's ask another question. Is it often that both SPY and TLT fall the same day? On the other hand, the SPY and TLT declining on the same day is not uncommon. Let's say we panic, we think everything is going down and short on the next open. We cover the next day close.  Over time, we lose money...not a good idea. Top pane: Price of 20 year Treasury ETF: TLT. Lower pane: Bakctest results starting with 100k. Now let's do the opposite. We go against our instinct and actually buy both SPY and TLT at the next day open. We sell the next day at the close. We see that over time this is a better strategy.    Top pane: Price of 20 year Treasury ETF: TLT. Lower pane: Bakctest results starting with 100k. So what does this mean?  Co-movement between equities and bonds are not uncommon. It does not mean that the basic correlation between the two assets has fundamentally changed. History shows that thinking something is wrong and selling is counter-productive.  The idea is to have a long term plan and to follow it while paying less attention to short term movements, news, hype and emotions. It is possible that a model stops working. In this case, that would mean the fundamentals [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |5 Comments

The Logical-Invest monthly newsletter for November 2016

Special Topic: IRA Investments using QuantTrader, our Backtest Software Logical Invest Investment Outlook November 2016 Our top year-to-date strategies: The Maximum Yield strategy with 32.61% return. The Leveraged Universal strategy with 21.42% return.   The World Top 4 with 17.66% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned 5.87%, year-to-date. Market comment: Recent surveys show that fund managers have increased cash positions1 while outflows from equity funds are at historically high levels2. From a contrarian point of view this could be considered market positive. There are two bullish seasonal biases kicking in: The presidential year is nearing an end and we are walking into the traditional strongest months of the year. The beginning of the month may be volatile as markets react to elction results. It remains to be seen how and if these results will affect the rest of the year. All our strategies corrected during October. Our hedged Gold strategy was almost flat at +0.17% while our aggressive 3x UIS suffered a -11.02% correction. The World Top 4 lost -1.80% while most other strategies lost anywhere from -2 to -4%. This was partly due to a sudden correction in Treasuries, causing  TLT to lose almost 5% for the month.  SPY was down -1.73% and GLD -2.74%. This type of rise in cross-asset correlation was seen in 2015. In the graph below you can see how TLT an GLD correlations to SPY turned positive in October. Correlations of TLT and GLD become positive end of October. We have found this type fo behaviour to correlate to a strengthening dollar. UUP the ETF that tracks the dollar index is up 3% for the month, a fairly large move, causing the index to approach towards it's 2015 highs. We are taking this into consideration even though the environment is quite different this year. While commodities and foreign markets were crashed by the 2015 dollar move, selected markets are showing tremendous strength, namely coal (KOL:+69% [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |4 Comments

Logical-Invest review @ Daily Fintech

With a lot of hype about FinTech these days, we´re happy to have received a positive review from one of the most important FinTech blogs. What is FinTech? Here the definition of FinTech by Investopedia: Fintech is a portmanteau of financial technology that describes an emerging financial services sector in the 21st century. Originally, the term applied to technology applied to the back-end of established consumer and trade financial institutions.             A review of Logical Invest by Efi Pylarinou @ Daily Fintech "Logical-Invest offers actionable portfolio solutions: Simple and Intelligent" "They provide you with 100% actionable advise." "You can pick a monthly subscription or an annual subscription to one of their core strategies and pay less than 3 shares of Apple (for the year)." "Financial advisors are natural users of such tools and they typically, subscribe to all the Logical-Invest products. Retail investors are also using the single strategies because they are relatively simple and fit in every portfolio." Read the whole article in Daily FinTech here:   Logical-Invest offers actionable portfolio solutions; Simple and intelligent. By Efi Pylarinou Looking for a quant edge in your investing strategies? Logical-Invest already has 8 off-the-shelf strategies that you can “grab” and use. Logical-Invest is not an investment advisor and will not manage your money. They provide you with 100% actionable advise. You can pick a monthly subscription or an annual subscription to one of their core strategies and pay less than 3 shares of Apple (for the year). Logical-Invest was founded by four partners that bring a lot of experience in financial markets, quantitative fields (engineering), and business. They started by introducing a sharing platform of their own strategies for investing. Logical-Invest sprung out of this, less than six months ago. The team is putting their money where their mouth [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |0 Comments

The Logical-Invest monthly newsletter for December 2016

Special Topic: IRA investment using QuantTrader Logical Invest Investment Outlook December 2016 Our top year-to-date strategies: The Maximum Yield strategy with 30.27% return. The Leveraged Universal strategy with 17.73% return.   The NASDAQ 100 strategy with 15.19% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned 9.77%, year-to-date. NEWS: Enhancement of the Treasury hedge in our strategies (link).   Market comment: Presidents change, markets change and so do we. As our subscribers know well, Treasuries have been a cornerstone of our strategies. For the last few months many investors remained sceptical as 0% interest rates meant there was only one way for rates to go: Up. Although the logic has merit, markets often defy common sense and with the help of central banks the unthinkable became a reality: negative interest rates. Adding Treasuries to one's portfolio proved to be an excellent strategy, post 2009. We still believe the 30-year Treasury etf  (TLT) is an excellent diversifier for our strategies but recent developments convinced us that alternative hedging instruments are worth pursuing. For that reason we are changing our methodology to allow the use of inflation protected treasuries (TIPS) as well as well as our Bond Rotation strategy itself (BRS), as hedges to our equity portfolios. As an example, our Universal Investment strategy will allocate a percentage of assets to SPY and the rest to either TLT or TIP based on TLT vs TIP rules-based evaluation. Strategies like the Global Market Rotation will hedge their equity part with the BRS strategy as a whole. You can find a more detailed explanation of the new methodology in this article. This month was a difficult one for many of our strategies because of the simultaneous drop in treasuries, gold and non-U.S. equity markets as the US$ surged about 4.5% compared to major foreign currencies.  GMRS lost 8% this month alone, followed by the BUG (leveraged version) at -6% due to the TLT and GLD [...]

2017-10-02T20:00:00+00:00By |0 Comments