Market Map Model With “Sell In May” Goes To Cash

As the Market Map model identified 2016 as having a “High” risk profile, using the popular “Sell in May” strategy combined with the Market Map model ( variable #6, assets would now be allocated from equities to cash., assets would now be allocated from small cap value equities to cash on Monday 5/2/2016.

The next possible action may be a bond allocation held for the 3rd quarter commencing in the second week of July 2016.

Market Map Allocates To Cash

Since the equity allocation instruction of post 12/31/2015 ( ), as of 01/29/2016,  model variable #2 has identified 2016 as a “high” risk profile year.  Thus, the model allocates from equities ( QQQ / SPY)  to cash equivalents on 02/01/2016.

The present -3.5% S&P500 loss that the model has produced for the month of January falls in line with previous and similar signaling history involving “high risk” year Januarys ( 12/31/1969 – 02/02/1970 -3.2%, 12/31/1973 – 02/01/1974 -2.5%, 12/30/1977 02/01/1978 -5.3%, 12/31/1981 – 02/01/1982 -1.9% ).

The model has identified 16 previous instances of “high”risk profile since 1924 as shown in chart below.

ScreenHunter_1131 Mar. 23 08.07

Upcoming Predefined Allocation Action Date ( Dec 31 )

As another predefined date for asset allocation action as defined by the Market Map model is upcoming ( Dec 31 ), we review the 7 non subjective, price based variables * and rule set in order to guide us towards possible allocation change.

As 2012, 2013, and 2014 were consecutive years of “outperformance” greater than the fixed, valuation baseline ( variable #1 ), the model has been in “cash” allocation in 2015, as it was in 2014. With 3 trading days to go, the model rule set is as follows:

1) the current S&P500 YTD performance reflects an “underperformance” year vs. the valuation baseline ( which stands at S&P 2241). If the S&P500 rallies and closes above 2241, then 2015 will be a fourth consecutive year of “overperformance”, and hence a possible “cash” allocation.

2) 2015 was identified as a “high risk” profile year on 1/20/2015 **. On the last trading day of a “high risk” profile year, if the S&P500 < long term moving average of the S&P 500 ( variable #5 ) then stay in cash into the next year, otherwise invest in QQQ/SPY ETFs *** depending on preference, at the open of Jan 3rd.

Conclusion: Odds suggest that the S&P500, at the time of this writing, won’t rally 185+ points by close Dec 31. The S&P500 vs. it’s moving average needs to be monitored.

Past years with similar variable/rule set configuration to 2015 were: 1969, 1981



*** Model would allocate to QQQ/SPY ETF on Dec 31 with later “favorable risk” profile year validation from variable #2 on Jan 30 in order to “stay” invested.

**** moving average currently stands at 2042

>>>  Model using Small cap value and “Sell in May” stays invested with next allocation decision date of importance being May 1, 2016

Market Map model: Tactical Asset Allocation Using Low-Expense Index ETFs – 2015

The Objectives of the Market Map Model

1a. To capture multi-month to multi-year market index price trend appreciation through investment in index products that track the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq 100 indices (SPDR Trust ETF (SPY), Vanguard Total market ETF (VTI), or Powershares QQQ Trust ETF (QQQ)) during “equity” allocation periods, and

1b. To invest in: 1) Long dated bond securities represented by ETF products such as TLT or EDV ( Barclays Long treasury ETF / Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury ETF ) and 2) Short term Treasury market instruments during “cash” allocation periods .

2. To add long term value to the portfolio’s total return by utilizing low expense and low tax ratio investment products (this under auspices of investment principles set forth by John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group of funds).

3. To make infrequent asset allocation changes occurring on time specific, predefined dates during the course of market cycles.

4. To show consistent and comparable performance accompanied by reduced volatility relative to the S&P 500 index over many decades of diverse stock market environments and cycles (using historical testing).

5. To strategically decrease equity allocation as upside price appreciation occurs and increase equity allocation as price depreciation occurs.

Basis for and Components Applied Towards Asset Allocation Decisions

The model utilizes calculations on 7 main “price + time” based variables * ( variables’ data series not subject to revision ) which are then constructed into a chronological sequence of explicit signaling steps or components.

The underlying basis of the signaling adjusts equity / bond / cash allocation exposure for inevitable periods of below-average returns after empirically defining periods of above-average performance. Conversely the signaling adjusts equity allocation exposure for inevitable periods of above average returns after empirically defining periods of below average performance.

Shown below is the historical record of the model which, during entry dates, allocates 100% capital to the SP500 when “SP500” is indicated and 100% or two 50% capital allocations during certain signature market declines and “bottoming” processes; and 75% capital allocation to Long dated bond equivalents when “BOND” is signaled, or short term treasury equivalents when “cash” is indicated.

Shown below is the historical record of the model which, during entry dates, allocates 100% capital to the SP500 when “SP500” is indicated and 100% or two 50% capital allocations during certain signature market declines and “bottoming” processes; and 75% capital allocation to Long dated bond equivalents when “BOND” is signaled, or short term treasury equivalents when “cash” is indicated.

Note: in an attempt to replicate the present interest rate environment, the interest rate on short term treasury equivalents shown during all historical “cash” periods has been set at 2% per annum.

Because of the historical efficacy of the key components and calculations, the vast improvement on equity drawdown versus buy and hold, and the “long term” investment philosophy on which the model is based, stop loss methods have been deemed unnecessary.

    • SP500 price history supplied by ” S&P500 Dividends Reinvested Price Calculator ” + using VFINX

Signal Table 1924 - 1966 Sp500

Signal Table 1966 - 1999 SP 500

Signal Table 1999 - 2015

Performance Statistics

Statrs table Map 1924 - 2015

Stats table Map 2000 - 2015


20 Year Performance Periods

Model vs. SP performance 1924 - 1943

Model vs. SP500 1944 - 1963

$1 growth Model vs. Buy Hold SP500

Model vs. SP500 1983 - 2003

Map model 2004 - 2014

Signal dates

Predefined “equity” ( via SP500 / QQQ ) allocation dates occur on:

a) the last trading day in December

b) ( beginning of ) select 4th quarters

* A minority of  all signals are not “predefined” but still mechanically derived

Predefined “bond” ( via TLT ) allocation dates occur on the first Friday after the 4th of July ( 3rd quarters ):

Equity Allocation Table

Predefined “cash ” allocation ( treasury bills, short term cash equivalents ) occur on:

a) the 1st “trading” Day of February

b) the 1st Friday after July 4th

c) the last “trading” day of the year

d) ( beginning of ) select 4th quarters


 Cash Allocation Table Map

Benefits of using a systematic and mechanical process


    • Fees, expenses, and commissions are low ( with use of a low cost broker, low expense index etfs, elimination of “excess” fees paid to portfolio managers )
    • The chronological format gives a “map” and “advanced knowledge” of fixed signal dates as a guide in making the appropriate allocation transactions.
    • Human judgement and subjectivity are removed from the investment process
    • The account holder has some control over position management and knowledge of the signaling.
    • “Sequence risk“ is alleviated.
    • Because of the empirically derived nature of the research and robustness of data sample, a level of confidence and precommitment in executing the allocation transactions in gained, thus avoiding the behavioral / cognitive biases and ego driven mistakes that appear during discretionary portfolio management (ie. we let the process do the work).
    • We procure “long term” thinking instead of being distracted by short term “randomness”, financial news flow, and media “noise”.
    • “Losses” are avoided                                                                                                         . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 7 main non subjective, price based variables:

    1. Mean reversion measurement using consecutive occurrences of annual overperformance or underperformance of SP500 versus a fixed baseline.
    2. Time series calculation conducted on performance of SP500 over specific months, categorized into risk profiles ( Favorable, Neutral, and High) applied towards upcoming year, indicated on 1st trading day of Februarys
    3. Relationship of long bond price and short length moving average of bond prices to long length moving average during select 3rd quarters
    4. Statistically significant equity performance in 4th quarters based on Presidential cycle
    5. SP500 price vs. long length moving average combined with the use of price oscillator
    6. *  “Sell in May / Halloween” anomaly  ( used for map model applied to small cap universe )       7. Generational strings of consecutive years and derived heuristics (as calculated by #1)


Disclosure:  Model is in cash position since 1/20/2015

Model design change: cash allocation dates

Through an “ease of use” improvement suggested by users and colleagues, we are changing the “cash” allocation publishing dates that have occurred previously on the “3rd week of January(s)” to the 1st trading day of February(s).  This improvement does not affect the structure of the model and past performance was minutely affected. Also, this transaction date will concur with the transaction date of another sector investment strategy ( thus consolidating strategy transactions onto one date ) that we have implemented for our clients. The change will be reflected in the subsequent post.

Model With “Sell In May” Component Allocated To Small Cap Value

As the “Sell in May” anomaly requires allocation to equities in the beginning of November, the model now allocates to small cap value universe ( we use Vanguard Small Cap Value ETF (VBR). It previously signaled cash allocation on May 3rd posting

Primer on Map model with “Sell in May”