By Steve Blumenthal
June 12, 2019
S&P 500 Index — 2,886
Posted each Wednesday, Trade Signals looks at several of my favorite stock, investor sentiment and bond market indicators. Market trends persist over time and stem from changes in risk premiums or the amount of return investors demand to compensate them for the risks they take.
Risk premiums vary a great deal over time in response to new market information or changes in the economic environment or even changes in investor sentiment. When risk premiums increase or decrease, stocks and bonds and other assets have to be priced again. Investors react to the changes gradually and this creates trends.
Rules-based trend following strategies don’t predict, they react to what prices are telling us about supply and demand. More buyers than sellers or vice versa. Trend following strategies, in general, seek upside potential via an investment process that offers downside protection.
Trend following trading seeks to capture the majority of a market trend, up or down, for profit. Such strategies work in all major asset classes — stocks, bonds, currency and commodities. Click here for our education series piece “Trend Following Works!”
Trade Signals is organized into four sections:
- Trade Signals — Dashboard
- Charts with Explanations
- Update on CMG Investment Indices
For informational purposes only… Not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.
Trade Signals — Dashboard
(Green is Bullish, Orange is Neutral and Red is Bearish)
Equity Trade Signals
- Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index: Buy Signal – 100% U.S. Large Cap Equity Exposure
- Long-term Trend (13/34-Week EMA) on the S&P 500 Index: Buy Signal – Bullish for Equities
- Volume Demand (buyers) vs. Volume Supply (sellers): Buy Signal – Bullish for Equities
- S&P 500 Index 200-day Moving Average Trend: Buy Signal – Bullish for Equities
- S&P 500 Index 50-day vs. 200-day Moving Average Cross: Buy Signal – Bullish for Equities
- NASDAQ Index 200-day Moving Average Trend: Buy Signal – Bullish for Equities
- Don’t Fight the Tape or the Fed: Indicator Reading = +1 (Bullish Signal for Equities)
Investor Sentiment Indicators
- NDR Crowd Sentiment Poll: Extreme Pessimism (S/T Bullish for Equities)
- NDR Daily Trading Sentiment Composite: Extreme Pessimism (S/T Bullish for Equities)
Fixed Income Trade Signals
- CMG Managed High Yield Bond Program: Buy Signal – Bullish HY Bond Market Trend
- CMG Tactical Fixed Income Index: Bullish on Municipal and International Bonds
- Zweig Bond Model: Buy Signal – Bullish High Quality Bond Market Trend
- Global Recession: High Recession Risk
- U.S. Recession: Medium U.S. Recession Risk (Next Six Months)
- Inflation Watch: Low Inflation Pressures
Select Recession Watch Indicators
- Global Recession Probability Indicator: High Recession Risk
- The Economy Based on the Stock Market Indicator: Low U.S. Recession Risk
- Recession Probability Based on Employment Trends: Low U.S. Recession Risk
- Credit Conditions – Recession Indicator: Low U.S. Recession Risk*
- U.S. Economy vs. Yield Curve: High U.S. Recession Risk
* Nearing change in signal
- Long-term Indicator – 13-week vs. 34-week exponential moving average: Buy Signal
- Short-term Indicator – Daily Gold Model: Buy Signal
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Notable this week:
NDR Daily Trading Sentiment Composite and NDR Crowd Sentiment Poll (weekly) continue to signal “Extreme Pessimism.” Such readings are short-term bullish for equities. Further, the Equity Trend Signals remain bullish, as does the Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat signal. High Yield is back in a buy signal. The Zweig Bond Model remains bullish on high-grade, longer-duration U.S. bonds. The Gold trend signals remain bullish. You’ll find the latest recession watch charts below. Notable is the Economy and the Yield Curve chart. It inverted in May. Risk of recession within the next six months is increasing.
The Two Most Important Signal Charts (To Keep On Your Radar):
The economic expansion reaches 120 months or 10 years of age at month-end. That ties the longest expansion in U.S. history that ran from 1991 to 2000. We sit late cycle. Equity markets are at the second highest overvalued level in history. The level of corporate debt is higher than levels reached prior to the last two recessions and the quality of outstanding debt has never been worse. One-third of the companies in the Russell 2000 Index are not making money. They are dependent on debt to survive. 50% of investment grade debt is rated BBB — just one notch above junk bond status. I believe the next recession will see record bankruptcies and record investment opportunity in the High Yield junk bond market. The HY market declined over 40% in price during the Great Financial Crisis (2008). I suspect it will decline more than 60% in the next recession. Yields will rise from 6% today to more than 20% when prices reset and the investment opportunity after the recession will be epic.
Until then, I believe there are two important charts that can help us position for the opportunity. The first is simple. It looks at the price trend of a large and popular HY mutual fund. The second looks at lending conditions via the NDR Credit Conditions Index. When favorable, there is available liquidity in the system for companies to borrow/refinance. When unfavorable, liquidity dries up and bankruptcies follow. As Warren Buffett famously said, “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out…” The price trend in the HY market is an excellent leading indicator for the stock market and the economy. When the price trend turns down and credit (liquidity) conditions become unfavorable, that’s a toxic one-two punch. Defaults will rise to record levels. Together, both indicators can help us better understand the timing of the next default wave, help manage our risk exposures and importantly help us to better time the re-entry opportunity that will present on the other side. Especially important today as we sit late cycle, with record high corporate leverage and the lowest covenant quality in history (I explain Covenant Quality below).
Bottom line: Investors hungry for yield have been willing to tolerate less (or looser) protections to the point where they are now weaker than they were even before the Great Financial Crisis. This excess liquidity has enabled companies to borrow (record indebtedness) and at terms favorable to them and least favorable to us investors. Liquidity will dry up in the next recession and defaults will spike. Thus, my belief these next two charts are the most important charts for you and me to keep on our radar.
- HY Trend Chart (50-day MA: Buy signals above green line, Sell signals below green line)
- Note the price decline in the 2008 recession was more than -40%. Note too the gains when above the 50-day MA line. Also note that there are a number of whipsaw trades along the way, but avoiding the big declines has more than paid for the whipsaws. Given the poor quality and size of the HY market and the 50% of near junk BBB-rated bonds in the high-grade corporate sector, the coming default wave will be epic and the investment opportunity it will create, like 2008, will be exceptional. Keep your forward-looking eye on whether the current price is above or below the green trend line. Sell signals when price crosses below.
2. The NDR Credit Conditions Index
- Focus on the bottom section of the chart. Currently lending conditions remain favorable. Pay close attention to the zero line (horizontal green dotted line). Above the line reflects “Favorable” lending conditions. Below the line reflects “Unfavorable” lending conditions.
- Note the dip below zero prior to the 1990, 2001 and 2008 recessions (small red arrows).
Covenant Quality: Moody’s publishes a covenant quality index that measures the strength of covenants (bondholder protections, such as leverage requirements, ability to make payments to shareholders, ability to borrow more, seniority of lenders claims, etc.) on a scale of 1 (strongest) to 5 (weakest) over the prior two quarters. It rose to 4.12 at the end of Q1 2019. This is the weakest reading on record, according to Moody’s.
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: Steve Blumenthal has been trading the trends in the HY bond market since the early 1990’s. He is the portfolio manager of the CMG Managed High Yield Bond Program and the portfolio manager of the CMG Tactical Bond Fund. He uses a different trend signal than the one reflected in the HY chart above. The signal he shares on the Trade Signals dashboard is the signal he has used for many years. As a general rule, he believes the 50-day MA is an effective indicator to indemnify the predominant HY price trend.
Not a recommendation for you to buy or sell any security. For information purposes only. Please talk with your advisor about needs, goals, time horizon and risk tolerances.
Charts with Explanations
Equity Market Charts
1. Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index – Buy Signal – 100% U.S. Large Cap Equity Exposure
The Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index measures “market breadth.” Market breadth is simply market activity, such as advances and declines, new highs and new lows, advancing and declining volume and price momentum and trend based upon the number of stocks in uptrends and downtrends. Technicians like “breadth” measurements for two main reasons:
- Breadth thrusts are often present at the start of major bull markets.
- Breadth nearly always weakens before prices do at a major peaks.
(Source: Ned Davis Research)
The NDR CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index process measures market breadth by analyzing the overall technical strength across 24 Industry Groups (GICS). The process individually measures the trend of each of the industry groups, evaluating the rate of change in price momentum over short-term and long-term time frames and directional trend as determined by intermediate-term moving average crosses (for example, you may be familiar with the “golden cross” that compares the 50-day moving average price vs. the 200-day moving average price). The Index process also considers several mean-reverting indicators, such as deviation from trend and relative strength.
The most important line to follow in the red, white and blue chart below is the blue model equity line in the middle section of the chart. It is the combined total score across the 22 sub-industry sectors. Think of it as a “market breadth” combined weight of evidence measurement.
Here is how you read the chart:
- Markets do best when the model equity blue line is moving up. Breadth nearly always weakens before prices do at major peaks… fewer and fewer stocks are moving the market higher (recall tech stocks in 1999 and financials in 2007).
- When the model equity line is above 70, the index stays 100% invested.
- When the model equity line is between 60 and 70 and the trend is moving higher, the index stays 100% invested. If the trend is lower, the index moves to 80% invested with 20% moving to T-Bills.
- When the model equity line is between 50 and 60 and the trend is moving higher, the index stays 100% invested. If the trend is lower, the index moves to 40% invested with 60% moving to T-Bills. With greater breadth determination comes greater risk.
- When the model equity line is below 50 and the trend is moving higher, the index is 100% invested. If the trend is lower, the index moves to 0% invested (“Flat”) with 100% moving to T-Bills. The most significant periods of risk comes when the majority of sub-industries are breaking down.
- You’ll find the model’s statistical data at the bottom of the chart.
- Down arrows show levels of exposures. Up arrows mark “B” or long signals.
Up Arrows with “B” Label = Buy Signal (100% long)
Down Arrows = Reduce Market Exposure to Model Target Weights
S&P Dow Jones Index Data, 1995 to present
Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices and Ned Davis Research. Click here to learn more about how it works.
Note: CMG Long/Flat Strategy performance may differ from index performance due to trade dates/times, types of U.S. ETF large cap exposures and costs.
We created a Long/Short version of the Index and the data is favorable. The model goes from 100% to 80% to 40% invested in the same way as the NDR CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index; however, when the model trend line moves below 50, the process goes short U.S. Large Caps or short S&P 500 Index exposure.
- Here’s the data (note in the lower left-hand chart the model returns – a several hundred basis point improvement in model return):
Source: Ned Davis Research (1992 to present).
Note: S&P Dow Jones Indices does not calculate the Long/Short Index.
2. 13/34–Week EMA Trend Chart: Buy Signal – Bullish for Stocks
The process measures the intermediate-term trend in the S&P 500 Index. A bullish trend is identified when the blue 13-week smoothed moving average (“MA”) trend line rises above the 34-week smoothed MA trend line. A bearish trend is signaled when the blue line drops below the red line. You can see that this trend process has done a pretty good job at identifying the major cyclical (short-term) bull and bear market trends (note small red and blue arrows). In terms of risk management, a good stop-loss level may be at the point when the 13-week drops below the 34-week EMA with re-entry at the point the 13-week crosses above.
Click here to see “How I think about the 13/34-Week Exponential Moving Average.”
Bottom line: The 13-week shorter-term trend line has crossed the 34-week longer-term trend line = bullish signal for equities.
3. Volume Demand vs. Volume Supply: Buy Signal – Bullish for Equities
When there are more buyers than sellers, prices move higher. When there are more sellers than buyers, prices decline. Supply and demand works that way in all things – real estate, oil, stock prices and all goods in a free market.
The Volume Demand vs. Volume Supply process looks at a smoothed total volume of declining issues versus a smoothed total volume of advancing issues using a broad market equity index. The performance, reflected in the chart below, is better when Vol Demand is better than Vol Supply. More buyers than sellers. This is a relatively slow-moving but important indicator.
The yellow highlights in the next two charts shows the current signal. Currently in a buy signal. Following is the model’s data 1981 to present (which includes the great bull market and the two bear markets since 2000):
Following is the model’s data 1997 to present (which includes the tail end of the great bull market and the two bear markets and the bull market that started in 2009):
4. S&P 500 Index 200-day Moving Average Trend: Buy Signal – Bullish for Equities
Here is how to read the chart:
- Focus in on the black dotted line and the two boxes at the bottom of the chart.
- Buy signals are when the dotted black 200-day moving average line is rising and sell signals are when the dotted black is falling.
- A sell signal occurs when the 200-day MA price line drops from a high point by 0.5% or more. A buy signal occurs when the 200-day MA price line rises from a low point by 0.5% or more.
- Current trend signal is shaded grey. Bottom line: Returns are best when the 200-day MA trend line is rising.
5. S&P 500 Index 50-day vs. 200-day Moving Average Cross: Buy Signal – Bullish for Equities
Next is a look at what is known as the “Golden Cross.” Sell signals occur when the 50-day shorter-term moving average trend line drops below the longer-term 200-day moving average trend line. This trend-following process is also in a sell signal.
6. NASDAQ Index 200-day Moving Average Trend: Buy Signal – Trend is Rising, Bullish for Equities
Read this chart in the same way as the S&P 500 200-day MA rule explained immediately above. 200-day MA line is dashed black line. Blue line is the NASDAQ Composite. Focus on upper right in chart and data box below. Current “mode” is in the shaded box bottom of chart.
Bottom line: Shaded area shows current signal. The 200-day MA trend is currently flattening. Stay tuned.
7. Don’t Fight the Tape or the Fed – Indicator Reading = +1 (Bullish Signal for Equities)
Current readings highlighted in yellow below.
- The indicators that comprise this reading are a combination of NDR’s Big Mo and the 10-Year Treasury yield. It highlights just how important Fed activity is to market performance. Readings range from +2 to -2.
- Bottom line: when both the trend in interest rates (lower yields) and the trend in the overall market (the tape) are bullish, the market has historically performed best.
- +2 readings have occurred about 12% of the time since 1980.
- +1 readings have occurred approximately 25% of the time since 1980.
- -2 readings have occurred approximately 6% of the time since 1980 and the performance during those periods, as shown in the chart is poor. “Watch out for -2!”
NDR Crowd Sentiment Poll: Extreme Pessimism (S/T Bullish for Equities). Current weekly sentiment reading is 54.7. It was 56.2 last week.
- Best buying opportunities occur at “Extreme Pessimism” readings below 57.
- Gain/Annum for the S&P 500 Index (data from December 1, 1995 to present).
- Current indicator score highlighted in yellow:
NDR Daily Trading Sentiment Composite: Extreme Pessimism (S/T Bullish for Equities). Current reading highlighted below.
- Current daily sentiment reading is 33.33. It was 15.56 last week.
- Best buying opportunities occur at “Extreme Pessimism” readings below 41.5.
- 1994 to Present and 2006 to Present below (current indicator score shaded below):
The Zweig Bond Model: Buy Signal – a bullish signal for high quality fixed income bond funds and ETF exposure.
Current indicator score highlighted in yellow (bottom right section):
- The bottom section of the above chart details the drawdown (“Max DD %”) history and a few other statistics. For example, if your $100,000 investment declines 10% to $90,000 before it again moves higher, your drawdown is 10%.
- Barclays Aggregate Bond Total Return has a max drawdown of -14.12% vs. a max drawdown for the Zweig Bond Model of -5.06%.
- You can compare the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index Total Return Max DD to the Model’s Max DD. Hoped for is a higher return and a lower DD. Also listed is the hypothetical growth of $1,000.
- GPA% shows the hypothetical comparison of the Zweig Bond Model and the Barclays Agg Total Return index. The Model outperformed buying and holding the index by a wide margin.
- Finally, you can calculate the model on your own – detailed in the upper left section of the chart. How to Track the Zweig Bond Model.
- Click here for more info about the Zweig Bond Model.
- Global Recession – High Recession Risk
- U.S. Recession – Medium U.S. Recession Risk (Next Six Months) – Risk is Rising
- Inflation Watch – Low Inflation Pressures
Select Recession Watch Indicators:
The average decline in the S&P 500 is approximately 37% during recessions. The last two recessions have given us greater than -50% each. I believe, given the fact that we have tripled up on the very same thing that caused the last recession (debt/leverage/Fed policy), the next recession will be equally or more challenging than the last two. Thus, my recession obsession. Following are my favorite recession watch indicators.
Bottom line: We are likely in a global recession. There is no current sign of recession in the U.S. in the coming six months. I remain data dependent.
Global Recession Probability Indicator – High Global Recession Risk
- First, focus in on the blue model line. It plots the probability of recession based on leading indicators from 35 different countries (non-U.S.). The current reading is 90.94, meaning there is an 90.94% probability that we are in a global recession.
- Note the red dotted line. Note the grey shaded bars that show periods in which the OECD said there was global recession (something known more than six months after the fact).
- Bottom line: When the blue line rises above the red dotted line, the global economy was heading into or already likely in recession. A global recession has likely started,which is unfavorable for global equities.
- Finally, focus in on the data box in the lower right section of the chart.
The Economy Based on the Stock Market Indicator – Low U.S. Recession Risk
- Focus on the up and down arrows. Economic expansion signals (up arrows) are generated when the S&P 500 Index rises by 3.8% above its five-month smoothed moving average line. Economic contraction signals are generated when the S&P 500 Index falls by 4.8% below its five-month smoothed moving average line.
- Current signal is for “Contraction.” The most recent recession signal occurred on 12-31-2018. See down arrow upper right hand side of chart (yellow highlight).
- Note the 80% “Correct Signals” in the top left corner of the chart. This this process has done a good job at signaling prior to recessions. Not perfect but pretty good.
Recession Probability Based on Employment Trends – Low U.S. Recession Risk
- Focus in on the up and down arrows. Down is a recession signal. Up is an expansion signal.
- Expansion signals are generated when the Employment Trends Index rises by 0.4% from a low point.
- Contraction signals are generated when the index falls by 4.8% from a high point.
- Current signal indicates expansion. Last signal date in 2009.
Credit Conditions – Recession Indicator – Low U.S. Recession Risk
- Focus in on the lower section of the chart. A drop below the green dotted line has preceded the last three recessions. A relatively small data set but the idea is that when lending tightens up “Credit Conditions Unfavorable”, recession tends to follow. Grey bars indicate periods of recession.
- Currently, lending conditions are favorable.
U.S. Economy vs. Yield Curve – High U.S. Recession Risk
- Watch for a drop below the green dotted line.
- Such drops below 0 is what is known as an inverted yield curve. It is when the 6-month Treasury Bill yield is higher than the longer-duration 10-year Treasury Note yield.
- An inverted yield curve has preceded every recession since 1958 (lower section of chart).
- Note May 2019 yield curve inversion.
- Note that once the yield curve inverts, recession follows about a year later.
The short-term and long-term gold indicators remain in buy signals.
- 13-week vs. 34-week exponential moving average: Buy Signal
- Daily Gold Model: Buy Signal
Chart 1: 13-week vs. 34-week exponential moving average: Buy Signal
First, a look at the long-term cyclical trend in gold: Buy signals occur when the 13-week moving average trend line (blue line) crosses above the 34-week moving average trend line (red line). Sell signals occur when the 13-week moving average trend line (blue line) crosses below the slower moving 34-week moving average trend line (red line).
Green arrows indicate buy signals, red arrows sell signals. Note green arrow far right. NOTE – The intermediate 13-week MA has crossed below the 34-week MA. An intermediate-term sell signal for Gold.
Chart 2: Daily Gold Model: Buy Signal
Source: Ned Davis Research
As a general rule, I generally favor up to 5% in gold with an increase to 10% for more aggressive investors. 0% exposure when both S/T and L/T indicators are bearish.
Update on CMG Investment Strategies
- NDR CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index is positioned 100% invested in the S&P 500 Index.
- CMG Beta Rotation is currently 100% allocated to a utility sector ETF.
Fixed Income: Signals and current positions are as of the date of this post. Subject to change.
- CMG Tactical Fixed Income Index is currently positioned in an International Bond ETF and a Municipal Bond ETF.
- CMG Managed High Yield Bond Program is in a buy signal. Currently positioned in HY MFs and HY ETFs.
- The Zweig Bond Model is in a buy signal. Currently positioned in longer-duration Treasury bonds.
Tactical Equity and Tactical All Asset Strategies:
- CMG Tactical Equity Strategy — Currently 100% invested in Treasury Bills (cash) via ETFs.
- CMG Opportunistic All Asset Strategy — Currently positioned in Municipal Bonds, International Bonds, and Treasury Bills (cash) via ETFs.
Important: Not a recommendation to buy or sell any security. For information and discussion purposes only. Consult your investment advisor regarding investment objectives, suitability and risk tolerance.
Why risk management?
Investing is a probability game. Limit downside: In the long run, it’s about the math. This next chart shows the “The Merciless Mathematics of Loss”. A 10% decline only requires an 11% subsequent return to get back to even. A 30% decline requires a 43% subsequent return to get back to even. A 50% decline requires a 100% subsequent return to get back to even. You can read more about it here.
I hope you find this information helpful. Thank you for your interest. It is appreciated.
♦ Receive Steve’ free weekly On My Radar e-newsletter, you can subscribe here. ♦
With kind regards,
Stephen B. Blumenthal
Executive Chairman & CIO
CMG Capital Management Group, Inc.
Philadelphia – King of Prussia, PA
CMG Advisor Central – Educational Pieces and White Papers
Several client educational pieces:
- When Beating the Market Isn’t the Point
- Trend Following Works!
- Correlation, Diversification and Investment Success
- The Merciless Math of Loss (this is about how compound interest works for you and significant loss against you)
- Here is a link to our Advisor Blog page
- Here is a link to our Advisor Resource page
CMG is committed to setting a high standard for ETF strategists. And we’re passionate about educating advisors and investors about tactical investing. We launched CMG Advisor Central to share our knowledge of tactical investing and managing a successful advisory practice.
Advisor Central is being updated with new educational resources we look forward to sharing with you. You can always connect with CMG on Twitter at @askcmg and follow our LinkedIn Showcase page devoted to tactical investing.
Ned Davis Research:
For years, I have subscribed to Ned Davis Research. They are an independent research firm. Their clients are institutional (professional) investor clients like CMG. They are one of the most respected research firms in the business.
They offer several levels of subscription. You can contact them directly at Ned Davis Research at 617-279-4878 to learn more. Please know that neither I nor CMG are compensated in any form. I’m just a big fan of their research and their way of thinking. As a side, Ned Davis authored one of my favorite books, Being Right or Making Money. A great book full of sound, practical advice.
Trade Signals History:
Trade Signals started after a colleague asked me if I could share my thoughts (trade signals) with him. A number of years ago, I found that putting pen to paper has really helped me in my investment management process and I hope that this research is of value to you in your investment process.
Every week, I share with you research I find valuable. No one indicator is perfect, but we believe risk can be assessed and should be managed. Some of this research helps to shape our thinking around risk management and it helps us think about how we might size various risks within the construct of a total portfolio. For example, overweight or underweight equities/fixed income and how much one should consider allocating to tactical/liquid alternative exposures (such as managed futures, global macro, long/short equity). When and what to hedge? Shorten or lengthen bond maturity exposure? We believe such risks can be managed and, to us, broad portfolio diversification is important. If you’d like to talk to us about how we use some of these indicators within our various investment strategies, please email me or email our sales team.
From an investment management perspective, I’ve followed, managed and written about trend following and investor sentiment for many years. I find that reviewing various sentiment, trend and other historically valuable rules-based indicators each week helps me to stay balanced and disciplined in allocating to the various risk sets that are included within a broadly diversified total portfolio solution.
My objective is to position in-line with the equity and fixed income market’s primary trends. I believe risk management is paramount in a long-term investment process. When to hedge, when to become more aggressive, etc.
For hedging, I favor a collared option approach (writing out-of-the-money covered calls and buying out-of-the-money put options) as a relatively inexpensive way to risk protect your long-term focused equity portfolio exposure. Also, consider buying deep out-of-the-money put options for risk protection.
Please note the comments at the bottom of this Trade Signals discussing a collared option strategy to hedge equity exposure using investor sentiment extremes is a guide to entry and exit. Go to www.cboe.com to learn more. Hire an experienced advisor to help you. Never write naked option positions. We do not offer options strategies at CMG.
Visit http://www.theoptionsguide.com/the-collar-strategy.aspx for more information.
Diversification – Suggested Client Talking Points:
A diversified investment portfolio is designed to meet pre-defined investment goals. It is often hard to stay the course when stress presents. That is when many investors make mistakes. Diversification means that not all investment risks perform at the same time. For example, managed futures and long/short funds have underperformed the last several years but are outperforming recently. We’d all like to be in the best performing areas all the time, but that is just not possible.
Major market events tend to present one or two times per decade. It is for this reason that a longer-term view can provide a useful perspective. We know that many investors incorrectly sold out of the markets during the tech bubble in 2000-2002 and again with record selling at the height of the 2008 great financial crisis. No one knows exactly how the current distress will play out.
For some time, I’ve been talking about the following: the issues in the high yield bond market, issues that can present post-QE and zero interest rate policy, issues with unmanageable debt in Europe, Japan and China and the issues a rising dollar may trigger as it relates to the $9 trillion in EM debt that was borrowed in dollars. As much as I’d like to think I do, I don’t know for sure which or how and when any of the above risks present and the degree to which they might play out.
What we can do is build portfolios that are diversified across a number of risk factors and market environments. We can identify periods in time to become more or less aggressively positioned (overweight when valuations are cheap and underweight when they are expensive). We can manage risk not only by the collections of ETFs and funds selected but also how we combine them together. Diversification brings meaningful improvement to portfolios designed to achieve a return objective over a long-term period of time.
I see the world of investing through a lens of risk and reward. Ultimately, it is far more important to minimize losses than to capture the best gains. Find me someone or some way to always capture the best gains – impossible, doesn’t exist. I’m friendly with some of the world’s greatest investors and none of them see themselves as perfect.
Over time, it’s really about understanding the power of compound interest. To this end, I wrote a paper entitled, The Merciless Math of Loss.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Investing involves risk. Past performance does not guarantee or indicate future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended and/or undertaken by CMG Capital Management Group, Inc. or any of its related entities (collectively, “CMG”) will be profitable, equal any historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. No portion of the content should be construed as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. References to specific securities, investment programs or funds are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities.
Certain portions of the content may contain a discussion of, and/or provide access to, opinions and/or recommendations of CMG (and those of other investment and non-investment professionals) as of a specific prior date. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, such discussion may no longer be reflective of current recommendations or opinions. Derivatives and options strategies are not suitable for every investor, may involve a high degree of risk, and may be appropriate investments only for sophisticated investors who are capable of understanding and assuming the risks involved. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained herein serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from CMG or the professional advisors of your choosing. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisors of his/her choosing. CMG is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.
This presentation does not discuss, directly or indirectly, the amount of the profits or losses, realized or unrealized, by any CMG client from any specific funds or securities. Please note: In the event that CMG references performance results for an actual CMG portfolio, the results are reported net of advisory fees and inclusive of dividends. The performance referenced is that as determined and/or provided directly by the referenced funds and/or publishers, have not been independently verified, and do not reflect the performance of any specific CMG client. CMG clients may have experienced materially different performance based upon various factors during the corresponding time periods.
The CMG Tactical Fixed Income Index, CMG Tactical All Asset Index, CMG Tactical Equity Index and CMG Beta Rotation Index (the “Indexes”) are rules-based indexes that reﬂect the theoretical performance an investor would have obtained had it invested in the manner shown and do not represent actual returns, as investors cannot invest directly in the Indexes. The Indexes’ returns represented do not reﬂect the actual trading of any client account. No representation is being made that any client will or is likely to achieve results similar to those presented herein. Index returns are provided for informational purposes only; they are not meant to be applied as benchmarks since the statistical risk and volatility of client portfolios may materially differ from the indexes displayed. Unless specifically noted, performance results are presented net of a 2.25% maximum annual fee deducted from the account balance quarterly, in arrears.
The Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index is not sponsored by S&P Dow Jones Indices or its affiliates or third party licensors (collectively, “S&P Dow Jones Indices”). S&P Dow Jones Indices will not be liable for any errors or omissions in calculating the Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index. “Calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices” and the related stylized mark(s) are service marks of S&P Dow Jones Indices. S&P® is a registered trademark of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC.
CMG Tactical Fixed Income Index Performance Disclosure: For the period of January 2003 through the present, this presentation represents a hypothetical back-test of an allocation to the CMG Tactical Fixed Income Strategy. Unless noted, all performance is presented net of the current advisor fee (2.25%) for the program, paid quarterly in arrears. The performance results shown include the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings. Performance is not net of custodial fees.
Any ﬁnancial product based on the CMG Tactical Fixed Income Index, CMG Tactical All Asset Index, CMG Tactical Equity Index and CMG Beta Rotation Index or any index derived therefrom that is oﬀered by CMG Capital Management Group, Inc. is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Solactive AG and Solactive AG makes no representation regarding the advisability of investing in the product.
This info service is oﬀered exclusively by Solactive AG, Guiollettstr. 54, D60325 Frankfurt am Main, EMail: email@example.com. The ﬁnancial instrument is not sponsored, promoted, sold or supported in any other manner by Solactive AG nor does Solactive AG oﬀer any express or implicit guarantee or assurance either with regard to the results of using the Index and/or Index trade mark or the Index Price at any time or in any other respect. The Index is calculated and published by Solactive AG. Solactive AG uses its best eﬀorts to ensure that the Index is calculated correctly. Irrespective of its obligations towards the Issuer, Solactive AG has no obligation to point out errors in the Index to third parties including but not limited to investors and/or ﬁnancial intermediaries of the ﬁnancial instrument. Neither publication of the Index by Solactive AG nor the licensing of the Index or Index trade mark for the purpose of use in connection with the ﬁnancial instrument constitutes a recommendation by Solactive AG to invest capital in said ﬁnancial instrument nor does it in any way represent an assurance or opinion of Solactive AG with regard to any investment in this ﬁnancial instrument. This document is for the information and use of professional advisors only. Remember, the information in this document does not constitute tax, legal or investment advice and is not intended as a recommendation for buying or selling securities. The information an d opinions contained in this document have been obtained from public sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made that such information is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. Solactive AG and all other companies mentioned in this document will not be responsible for the consequences of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or for any omission.
NOT FDIC INSURED. MAY LOSE VALUE. NO BANK GUARANTEE.
HYPOTHETICAL PRESENTATIONS: To the extent that any portion of the content reflects hypothetical results that were achieved by means of the retroactive application of a back-tested model, such results have inherent limitations, including: (1) the model results do not reflect the results of actual trading using client assets, but were achieved by means of the retroactive application of the referenced models, certain aspects of which may have been designed with the benefit of hindsight; (2) back-tested performance may not reflect the impact that any material market or economic factors might have had on the advisor’s use of the model if the model had been used during the period to actually manage client assets; and, (3) CMG’s clients may have experienced investment results during the corresponding time periods that were materially different from those portrayed in the model. Please Also Note: Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, no current or prospective client should assume that future performance will be profitable, or equal to any corresponding historical index (e.g., S&P 500 Total Return or Dow Jones Wilshire U.S. 5000 Total Market IndexSM) is also disclosed. For example, the S&P 500 Total Return Index (the “S&P”) is a market capitalization-weighted index of 500 widely held stocks often used as a proxy for the stock market. S&P Dow Jones chooses the member companies for the S&P based on market size, liquidity, and industry group representation. Included are the common stocks of industrial, financial, utility, and transportation companies. The historical performance results of the S&P (and those of or all indices) and the model results do not reflect the deduction of transaction and custodial charges, nor the deduction of an investment management fee, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing indicated historical performance results. For example, the deduction combined annual advisory and transaction fees of 1.00% over a 10-year period would decrease a 10% gross return to an 8.9% net return. The S&P is not an index into which an investor can directly invest. The historical S&P performance results (and those of all other indices) are provided exclusively for comparison purposes only, so as to provide general comparative information to assist an individual in determining whether the performance of a specific portfolio or model meets, or continues to meet, his/her investment objective(s). A corresponding description of the other comparative indices, are available from CMG upon request. It should not be assumed that any CMG holdings will correspond directly to any such comparative index. The model and indices performance results do not reflect the impact of taxes. CMG portfolios may be more or less volatile than the reflective indices and/or models.In the event that there has been a change in an individual’s investment objective or financial situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with his/her investment professionals.