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Momentum

Oct 07 2021

These “Insiders” Have Exited; Should You?

  • Oct 7, 2021

What if the S&P 500’s September 2nd closing high were to miraculously stand as the cycle’s high-water mark? If it did, the peak was presaged—in retrospect—by two Federal Reserve Bank presidents who rode the liquidity wave all the way to its crest after assuring the floodgates would be left wide open. Both resigned in September. 

Sep 08 2021

A Lost Decade For Emerging Markets

  • Sep 8, 2021

Fading momentum in GDP growth, sizable dislocation of corporate EPS in the midst of an expansion, and U.S.-dollar weakness have all made EM equity investments inferior to U.S. stocks over the last decade. 

Aug 23 2021

Can Mo Outrun A Bear?

  • Aug 23, 2021

Hiker #1: Can you run faster than that hungry bear looking at us?

Hiker #2: I don’t need to run faster than the bear, I just need to run faster than you.

The Momentum style of investing has a long history of generating excess returns, and ranks near the top of the list of essential smart beta factors. However, Momentum also has a dark side; it is prone to severe drawdowns whenever the market makes a significant reversal.

Jun 05 2021

Val-Mo (Finally) Explodes Higher

  • Jun 5, 2021

After years of underperformance, investors who pay attention to both Momentum and Value are finally being rewarded. The turnaround has been substantial, but the relative valuation of expensive Momentum vs. cheap Momentum stocks is still extremely elevated by historical standards.

Mar 26 2021

Momentum: “New Junk” In The “Old Trunk”

  • Mar 26, 2021

March 23rd marked the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 bear-market bottom. We are all eager to turn the page on the pandemic ordeal and move forward to brighter days ahead. Looks like some big help is coming our way.

Jan 08 2021

Momentum Across Asset Classes

  • Jan 8, 2021

In the extreme case where one possesses no other information beyond last year’s total returns, the best single-asset strategy has been to buy the second-best performer (the “Bridesmaid”) and hold it for the next twelve months in hopes that the prior year’s momentum will carry it through. That approach has beaten the S&P 500 by 3.7% annualized over the past 48 years. 

Dec 05 2020

Factor Chaos

  • Dec 5, 2020

The November 9th Pfizer vaccine news compressed an entire Momentum reversal into one historic day. Factor performance easily broke records looking back over our entire history of data. While great news for the general public, it was awful news for Momentum indicators.

Nov 13 2020

Momentum’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

  • Nov 13, 2020

If Momentum and Growth investors thought they were escaping 2020 unscathed, they learned otherwise on Monday. Pfizer’s promising news about a COVID-19 vaccine was met with universal excitement and investors rearranging portfolios—taking gains in long-term winners and plowing into beaten-down cyclical stocks. 

Mar 20 2020

How Sharp Is This Falling Knife?

  • Mar 20, 2020

While it’s possible that Monday’s S&P 500 low of 2,386 will represent an important trading low, we believe it is too early to expect the market to form a major bear market low.

Mar 06 2020

Factor Performance During Sell-Off: Momentum Dominates

  • Mar 6, 2020

Momentum made up for a lackluster 2019 by providing protection during the volatile market correction, while Value continued to be punished. Momentum remains expensive relative to its long-term history, while Value remains cheap, but neither is outside levels seen in recent years.

Mar 06 2020

Enhancing Country Rotation With Sector Concentrations

  • Mar 6, 2020

A dramatic shift of country weights within EM indexes has become an inadvertent challenge for a country rotation strategy. Due to this, we tested the integration of a momentum-based sector rotation model to attain exposure to the top-rated sectors to represent the markets of the largest country components instead of seeking to obtain “whole market” exposure.

Mar 02 2020

Interim Memo

  • Mar 2, 2020

The coronavirus epidemic/pandemic is getting the bulk of the blame for the sudden collapse in U.S. equities, and certainly qualifies as one of the few “black swans” seen in modern market history. We do not think the ultimate path of the coronavirus contagion can be analyzed at this point, and medical experts foresee possible outcomes ranging from a serious epidemic to a short burst of illness that fades with the summer weather. 

Jan 08 2020

Momentum Across Asset Classes

  • Jan 8, 2020

For those not blessed with clairvoyant asset selection ability, we’ve developed a simple single-asset portfolio strategy that’s handily beaten the AANA Portfolio and the S&P 500 over the long-term.

Dec 13 2019

How Much Should We Pay For Market Momentum?

  • Dec 13, 2019

If the S&P 500 closes in the green today, an RSI "overbought" signal will be triggered.

Nov 07 2019

The State Of Momentum

  • Nov 7, 2019

Going forward, high Momentum will depend on an unlikely combination of Information Technology and low Volatility, while low Momentum continues to have outsized exposure to Energy and Materials. Recent weakness only moderately tempered valuations, which could be a headwind.

Oct 10 2019

The Case Of The Flipping Factors

  • Oct 10, 2019

Equity market themes have been boringly consistent of late; growth beating value, large beating small, and domestic beating international. In the factor world, Momentum and Low Volatility have been investor favorites for most of 2019 while Value resided in last place – the same old, same old. Then, something remarkable occurred on September 9th.

Sep 27 2019

The Odd Couple

  • Sep 27, 2019

The Momentum style—in which investors buy what has been going up recently—represents an optimistic, hopeful, “I’ll take some of that” mentality. The Low Volatility factor entails a pessimistic, fearful outlook in which investors want (or need) to stay invested in stocks but desire downside protection in case the market performs badly.

Sep 07 2019

Factor Performance: Momentum Saves The Day (Year); Value Is Awful

  • Sep 7, 2019

Momentum has made a furious comeback after a rough start to the year, posting an +11% spread in both May and August. Value continues to get crushed and there has been nowhere to hide: The pain is equally distributed between cheap and expensive, and it’s happening in every sector.

Aug 07 2019

Assessing The Commodity Free-Fall

  • Aug 7, 2019

For at least two years, the unofficial title of “the scariest chart in the Leuthold database” belonged to the S&P 500 Price/Sales ratio. That chart still rattles us, with the July month-end ratio still in the vicinity of its old Y2K high.

Feb 22 2019

Momentum Buyers: Beware

  • Feb 22, 2019

Momentum is a smart beta factor that gives investors excellent upside participation in rising markets. Most other smart beta factors are defensive plays, so Momentum is the place to be in strong upward moves. Momentum filled that role admirably in recent years, rising 56% from 2016 to the September top, compared to an average of +26% for the other major factors.

Jan 15 2019

Incongruities In High Quality

  • Jan 15, 2019

Quality is one of the most popular and successful of the equity market’s quant factors. It is intuitively appealing and serves as a useful defensive strategy in falling markets. Low Volatility and Dividend Growth are also defensive factors, while Momentum and High Beta are viewed as aggressive or bullish factors. These offsetting behaviors would seem to make for excellent diversification opportunities in equity portfolios, and for the most part, that is true. 

Jan 11 2019

Characteristics Of Major Market Lows

  • Jan 11, 2019

We wrote in the January Green Book that the S&P 500 Christmas Eve low did not have the “right look,” in that: (1) there had been no sign of “smart money” accumulation beforehand; and, (2) downside momentum was also at a new low for the entire correction. Smart money buying is measured by the Smart Money Flow Index, which evaluates trends in first half-hour market action (considered to be more emotional and news-driven), and the last hour of trading (viewed to be more informed and institutional in nature).

Jan 08 2019

Read This Before Taking The “Plunge”

  • Jan 8, 2019

After a bad market year like 2018, there’s a natural instinct for allocators to skew portfolios toward assets with poor recent performance. History suggests, though, that one shouldn’t make a habit of buying an asset on the basis of price weakness alone.

Jan 08 2019

December’s Low Didn’t Have The “Right Look”

  • Jan 8, 2019

As the market sunk to a 3% loss on Christmas Eve, we sensed genuine investor panic—at least among the fraction of investors then paying attention.

Jan 08 2019

Momentum Negative In Q4, But Positive For 2018

  • Jan 8, 2019

2018 was frustrating for most investors as Value continued to struggle and positive Momentum performance was difficult to capture. Small Caps, Mid Caps, and ADRs also underperformed.

Dec 07 2018

VLT = Very Lousy Timing?

  • Dec 7, 2018

In the spirit of keeping an open mind, three months ago we observed that our S&P 500 VLT Momentum measure had triggered a “moderate-risk” BUY signal with its August reading.

Dec 07 2018

What’s In Momentum Now?

  • Dec 7, 2018

 Along with market volatility, the composition of Momentum has changed, becoming more defensive and less exposed to cyclicals and commodities.

 

Nov 07 2018

October Factor Performance

  • Nov 7, 2018

Most factor categories reversed performance along with the market in October. During the month, Value had solid results while Growth gave up all of its 2018 gains. Profitability also had a nice bounce-back month. 

Oct 19 2018

Monitoring Mo’s Mojo

  • Oct 19, 2018

Momentum is one of the most successful investment styles over the long run, and does particularly well in the later stages of a bull market during the run-up to an eventual peak.

Sep 08 2018

VLT Turns Up Again??

  • Sep 8, 2018

A “moderate-risk” S&P 500 VLT BUY signal was triggered at the end of August, but it’s not all good news. Any upturn in the VLT while the indicator is in positive territory also sets up a pattern known to veteran market analysts as the “Killer Wave.”

Sep 07 2018

Price Hasn't Mattered

  • Sep 7, 2018

While Momentum continues to work overall, the gains have been skewed to the companies trading at the highest valuation multiples. Extremes, based on both price and valuation, have only been greater a handful of times during the period measured.

May 05 2018

Has The Makeup Of Momentum Changed?

  • May 5, 2018

The makeup of Momentum has stayed surprisingly steady through the volatility in 2018, with Info Tech and Health Care maintaining overexposure. Energy is sneaking in, though, and could be poised to take a much larger share.

Feb 16 2018

Why Is Discretionary Leading?

  • Feb 16, 2018

For at least the last year we have argued that late bull market conditions would tend to reward momentum strategies over mean-reverting ones. That’s played out not only during the market’s melt-up phase, but also (to our surprise) during the recent two-week air-pocket, at a time when we would have expected to see at least a temporary setback in the ratio above.

Feb 07 2018

Implications Of Extreme Momentum

  • Feb 7, 2018

Historically, leadership and breadth accompanying an upside market move is far more predictive than the pure momentum of the move. But when intermediate-term momentum is not just strong but exceptional (as it was until just recently), there has usually been even more upside to follow.

Jan 06 2018

Strength Begets Strength

  • Jan 6, 2018

If stock market breadth and leadership look nothing like they typically do at cyclical peaks, neither does momentum.

Dec 07 2017

Sector Rotation: Momentum Versus Valuation Factor

  • Dec 7, 2017

For sector overweight/underweight decisions, applying a Momentum overweight with both EM and DM countries has been most successful.

Dec 07 2017

The Many Faces Of Mo

  • Dec 7, 2017

Momentum is one of the most widely accepted alpha-generating factors, used by quantitative and fundamental managers alike. Its biggest drawback, however, is high turnover. Herein we explore momentum from the perspective of sector weights.

Nov 07 2017

The Case Of The Disappearing Value Premium

  • Nov 7, 2017

Market history teaches us that investors behave differently in groups than they do as individuals.

Nov 07 2017

A Mysterious Bond BUY Signal…

  • Nov 7, 2017

Sometimes we feel compelled to report findings that conflict with our outlook. And then there are the even rarer times we actually do it.

Nov 07 2017

Stock Market Observations

  • Nov 7, 2017

We remain bullish on stocks but with very limited visibility into 2018.