Monday, November 01, 2004

The Market Sirens and Elections

I've sold my positions. Almost all of them. The only remaining position I have is McDonalds (MCD) with a 3.25% gain. I've sold the QQQ positions even though 4 of the systems currently have a .98% gain and one has a .35% gain. I even received a trading system trigger on CVT yesterday that I did not pull at the open today. That position would have been down -0.98% at the close.

I know I did a bad thing. In order to trade your systems you must remove all emotions. You must follow them rigidly. Most of my positions I've held for over 2 1/2 years. All of them were sold at the end of trading today. I've weathered many storms with those positions. But, I'm seeing things differently now. Maybe what I see is short-term in nature. I just don't think so.

It just feels like a strong top is or has taken place. The market sirens are singing their song...and I was almost lured to that island of Anthemoessa. I'm not sure what caused me to awake from their beautiful singing filled with GOOG like returns for many months to come. Where almost any breakout from congestion quickly garnishes several percentage points. Heck, some have even called those breakouts lottery tickets because of the huge moves accorded. Whatever shook me by my shoulders and melted wax into my ears...I'm grateful. At least for now.

Now that you know where I stand...let me show you some research you might find interesting. I researched the Dow Jones Industrials in respect to election years. Particulary, the time period from the end of October thru the end of December of the same year. I wanted to know what type of returns to expect from this very short period in time when the president is chosen thru the end of that election year. These results are based on election years 1916 - 2000.

The Dow Jones Industrials were up or breakeven 68% of the time and down 32% of the time. During those up or breakeven times...the DJ-30 eaked out an average gain of 5.63%. And during those down times the DJ-30 shed an average 5.44%.

Not bad, huh?

To go a step further, I reviewed the S&P 500. These results are based on the election years of 1964 - 2000.

S&P 500 was up or breakeven 70% of the time and of course down 30% of the time. The average move experienced during up or breakeven times was 3.85%. While the average loss during down times was -2.74%.

Very similar to the DJ-30 scenario.

I'm sure after seeing these numbers you're thinking I'm crazy for selling all my positions. You can't argue with the numbers. I mean we have at least a 68% chance of experiencing an average positive return of 5% or greater from now til' the end of December. And there's further research that agrees with this bullish scenario.

There's the Fed Model that suggests stocks are 37% cheaper than treasuries. Read on...

You also have the built in seasonality factor of November thru April where this period has outperformed the May thru October timeframe 70% of the time. Read on...

Despite all this great news, why am I bearish? And why if I'm a system trader would I give up all my hard-earned years of research for a hunch? I'll answer that in one word...EDGE.

I create systems to capture an edge in the market. The only way I make money is to find some edge or inefficiency to exploit. What happens when the edge I rely on is known by many participants? Does the edge vanish? I believe so. That's why I cashed out. I cashed out because the edge I was trading was gone. And there's another edge available to trade. I believe this new edge is rested on the fact that so many traders and hedge fund managers are leaning the same way. They are all using the same research and trading the same edge. They all know this bullish news. And they have been positioning themselves for this bullish news for the past few weeks.

What will happen when the market sirens stop singing? The answer to that question is the edge I'm looking to exploit.

Until then...

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