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" [...]
In a previous post we introduced our new investment strategy, the BUG. There has been a lot of interest but also some concerns when it comes to using leverage. We are introducing a version of the BUG for non-leveraged accounts. In this version we allocate amongst 6 ETFs: SPY, TLT, GLS, CWB, TIP and PCY. Again as in the original strategy we use these heuristics: Timing (using a simple average rule), Volatility Targeting (we reduce exposure to more volatile ETFs), Momentum (we reduce the size of the worst performer and add to the rest). We don’t employ short term mean reversion and we only trade up to 4 assets.
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 [...]
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 [...]
Special topic this month: 401k Investments Logical Invest Investment Outlook January 2017 Our top 2016 strategies: The Maximum Yield strategy with 29.92% return. The Leveraged Universal strategy with 22.33% return. The NASDAQ 100 strategy with 21.54% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned 12.00%. Market comment: To put 2016 in perspective, we must go back to 2015 and remind ourselves how the rising dollar environment affected diversified investors. Most asset classes suffered through 2015. The S&P 500 stayed flat, long term Treasuries lost 2%, gold lost 9%, emerging markets shed 17% and USO, the crude oil ETF was down 44%. To make things worse, in August 2015 there was a sharp correction in equities which caused many "weak hands" to just exit the market. The first half of 2016, by contrast, rewarded anyone holding any of these assets.The second half proved far more challenging as rising yields expectations depressed bond prices, with TLT loosing 16% from July to December. Expecting higher yields in the U.S. can cause an appreciation in the U.S. dollar which in turn causes weakness in dollar denominated assets like gold and foreign equity. All of these assets gave back some of the early 2016 gains. Two major events, the Brexit vote and U.S. elections proved to be much less disruptive than expected. For 2016, The S&P 500 returned 12%, long term Treasuries gave up early gains to stay flat and gold gained 6%. Emerging markets gained a respectable 14%. All our strategies were positive for the year. Our 'non-equity' strategies did well outperforming their respective benchmarks: Our volatility harvesting strategy (MYRS) returned 29.92%. Our Bond rotation strategy (BRS) returned 13.62%, compared to 1% for TLT and 2.4% for AGG. Our Gold hedged strategy (Gold-USD) returned 15.74% compared to 6% for Gold. For 2017, in preparation for rising yields, we have adapted our strategies to rely less on the 30-year Treasury ETF (TLT). We introduced inflation [...]
Logical Invest Investment Outlook March 2017 Our top 2017 strategies, year-to-date: The Maximum Yield strategy with 14.90% return. The Leveraged Universal strategy with 13.97% return. The NASDAQ 100 strategy with 11.28% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned 5.79%. News: Our in-depth 2-hour QUANTtrader webinar, with Frank Grossmann. Get a behind-the-scenes look at our strategies. We are testing a new U.S. Sector-based strategy that should be available in the coming months. Market comment: The S&P 500 is reaching new all time highs, currently at +10% from it's previous support in the summer of 2016. It is following a straight line with no major corrections since the U.S. elections. This type of movement makes investors nervous about a coming correction. Interestingly, looking at the VIX term-structure we see the following picture: VIX term structure February 28th 2017 This is highly unusual. Having near-month VIX contracts at very low prices is normal as the SP500 is breaking upwards. What is interesting is that far-out contracts are at extremely low levels as well, making the curve somewhat flatter than normal. This implies that market participants expect low levels of volatility in the future, even 9 months out. We will see how this plays out in the coming months. Our top 3 strategies are all U.S. market based and have achieved returns above 10% in just 2 months. Our Maximum Yield strategy, has returned an additional 4.1% in February, bringing year-to-date returns to 15%. Our 3x UIS strategy added 9% due to equity performance as well as a small upward reaction from oversold Treasuries. Our Nasdaq 100 added just 1.2% for the month. Of note is that the Nasdaq strategy has the lowest 60-day correlation to SPY, just 0.36, second only to our Gold-USD strategy's 0.18. Apart from our high flying strategies, it is worth mentioning and tracking our more defensive ones. Our Universal Investment Strategy [...]