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Among the more popular portfolios on Scott’s Investments has been the ETFReplay.com Portfolio. The strategy has been revised and improved for 2013 in order to make it simpler to follow.

I previously detailed here and here how an investor can use ETFReplay.com to screen for best performing ETFs based on momentum and volatility. I select only the top 4 ETFs out of a static basket of ETFs and re-balance the portfolio monthly.

For 2013 the static basket of ETFs was reduced from 25 to 15. From this basket of 15, the top 4 are purchased each month. The portfolio will be re-balanced at the beginning of each month. When a holding drops out of the top 5 ETFs it will be sold and replaced with the next highest ranked ETF. I added the top 5 requirement in order to further limit turnover. ETFs will be ranked on a combination of their 6 month returns, 3 month returns, and 3 month volatility (lower volatility receives a higher ranking).

In addition, ETFs must be ranked above the cash ETF SHY in order to be included in the portfolio, similar to the absolute momentum strategy I profiled here. This modification could help reduce drawdowns during periods of high volatility and/or negative market conditions (see 2008-2009), but it could also reduce total returns by allocating to cash in lieu of an asset class.

The top 5 ranked ETFs as of 8/30/13 are below:

6mo/3mo/3mo
SHY Barclays Low Duration Treasury
VTI Vanguard MSCI Total U.S. Stock Market
DBC PowerShares DB Commodity Index
HYG iShares iBoxx High-Yield Corp Bond
EFA iShares MSCI EAFE

This is little changed compared to last two months. Since cash is the highest rated ETF, anything rated below it does not qualify for purchase. This is a defensive allocation, as a result of recent volatility and negative performance in a variety of equity, commodity and bond markets.

For September the portfolio is selling its only current position, VTI, for a gain of 8.35% and holding the entire portfolio in cash. A more aggressive approach would disregard the cash filter. However, the objective of the portfolio is balance risk and reward while reducing drawdowns.

The strategy’s performance since inception is below, as is comparative performance of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), iShares Growth Allocation (AOR), and the Permanent Portfolio (PRPFX):

(click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)

Disclosures: None

Source: ETFReplay Portfolio For September