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Strategies For Trading Inverse Volatility

Update: You can see the most recent performance our our inverse volatility strategy here. Consult vixcentral for the daily VIC term curve. 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 [...]

2017-04-26T06:38:57+00:00 By |38 Comments

The power of diversification: Portfolio Diversification with Logical Invest Strategies

Diversification is a cornerstone to successful investing. In simple form, when measurably diverse assets are combined in a portfolio, the investors portfolio risks are reduced without any sacrifice of returns. This 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. When one asset is going down while the other is going up, the portfolios risk is reduced without the normal penalty of risk/return trade-offs. We take advantage of that when our systems dynamically blend things like the S&P 500 and treasury bonds, which often exhibit negative correlation to each other (which is ideal).Applying Portfolio Diversification to Strategies: Our subscribers can take this take a step further. Our investing algorithms take on a blend of the properties of their underlying assets combined with the “alpha” edges from the investing rules. The returns of each investing strategy should be thought of as an asset, which are different and unique from the underlying holdings. So holding a portfolio of strategies functions much like holding a portfolio of assets. To evaluate the risk profile of the strategy, we examine the history of the returns of those strategies, much like when holding a basket of stocks the historical returns of each stock would be evaluated.

2017-03-11T22:34:11+00:00 By |18 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" [...]

2017-03-15T17:06:25+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

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?

2017-03-14T22:06:07+00:00 By |31 Comments

Portfolio optimization: The all new Portfolio Builder

  From individual Strategies to Portfolio Optimization Based on the interest of our followers and our own investment philosophy, we have gradually evolved from offering single quantitative strategies towards blends or portfolios of strategies. The way we visualize our own development cycle might be best summarized in a chart: Where are we on this path and where are we heading? We believe we have now a stable set of 'core-strategies', which cover a broad spectrum of both risk/performance but also trading and hedging instruments. We will continue our research on new strategies, and will also in future come up with smart ideas in that area. However, we are currently increasing our effort in blending these strategies into portfolio solutions. The "Portfolio Builder" with fixed-weight allocations is here only the first step. Developing a dynamic Strategies of Strategies (or Meta-Strategies) which smartly allocate with changing weights among a set of our strategies is one of the projects we initiated since the four of us met in mid 2014. Our thought: Quickly reacting to or even anticipating changes in the market environment by changing horses on the fly, better dealing with changing correlations of markets and constantly challenging whether one of our strategies has lost ‘steam power’ should be even better than simply allocating funds with fixed weights or even worse discretionary among strategies. To continue the enhancement of our tools towards this vision, we’ve given our fixed-weight Portfolio Builder a major overhaul and implemented many of the requested features. Key features for portfolio optimization Some of the new key features for portfolio optimization are: Equity lines according to most recent strategy review Our subscribers know that we review our strategies periodically, either because we find improvements for the execution (change of IEV to FEZ in the Global Market Rotation), or introduce newly developed [...]

2017-03-17T10:40:09+00:00 By |9 Comments

‘Hell on Fire’: The 3x leveraged Universal Investment Strategy

Summary: -Aggressive leveraged version of our previously published Universal Investment Strategy -Variable SPY-TLT allocations dynamically adapted to the market conditions. -45% annual return with a Sharpe Ratio of 1.3 since 2002.Due to its simplicity and low correlation to the S&P 500, there is a continued interest in the UIS version that uses 3x leveraged ETFs: ETF SPXL (Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 3X Shares ETF) and TMF (Direxion Daily 30-Year Treasury Bull 3x Shares ETF). Following the suggested nomenclature by Al from AAII SV - and to honor their interest, we call this version “Hell on fire”, which alludes to the high risk/return profile of the strategy. We will show ways to blend this strategy in a well-balanced and risk-optimized portfolio as to overcome the generally negative perception of private investors towards leveraged ETF.

2017-04-23T13:02:34+00:00 By |27 Comments

Harvesting Contango: How To Build An ETF Rotation Strategy With More Than 50% Annualized Returns

In this paper I want to explain the readers how the Maximum Yield Rotation Strategy of is built. This strategy harvests the so called Contango. Harvesting Contango by investing in inverse volatility This Strategy harvests contango and achieves very high returns investing in inverse volatility. From 2011 to today the annual performance was more than 70% per year. Year to date the performance is 40.9%. The Sharpe Ratio (Return/Risk) of 2.12 is a "DREAM VALUE" and I doubt that someone can show me a strategy with a higher ratio. The strategy invests in 4 different ETFs and harvests the contango: US Market (MDY - S&P MidCap 400 SPDRs) U.S. Treasury Bonds - (EDV Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury 25+yr) Volatility - (ZIV VelocityShares Inverse VIX Medium-Term) cash - (SHY Barclays Low Duration Treasury) only if Treasury correlation to SPY > -0.25 The Maximum Yield Strategy switches semi-monthly between these 4 ETFs. For the switching I use a ranking system like the one I explained in my SeekingAlpha article of the Global Market Rotation Strategy. The ranking system is also using 3 month historical performance and 20 day volatility. Using also volatility is quite important for harvesting contango, because it reduces the ranking of high volatile ETFs like ZIV. However, if you want to play such a rotation strategy by yourself, then you can also just look at the 3 month historical performance to benefit from contango. In this strategy the ZIV ETF is the most important performance driver. ZIV can only be backtested since 2011, so that I cannot present a longer backtest for the whole strategy, but the way the strategy is built, you can backtest parts of it for more than 10 years. Benefit from Contango The Maximum Yield Rotation Strategy is composed by several smaller sub-rotation strategies. Here is an overview of [...]

2017-04-28T16:11:29+00:00 By |2 Comments