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In February I announced a new "Dual ETF Momentum" spreadsheet. The idea was inspired by a paper written by Gary Antonacci and available on Optimal Momentum. The spreadsheet is available here. The objective of the spreadsheet is to track four pairs of ETFs and provide an "Invested" signal for the ETF in each pair with the highest relative momentum.

Relative momentum is gauged by the 12 month total returns of each ETF. The 12 month total returns of each ETF is also compared to a short-term Treasury bill ETF (a "cash" filter). In order to have an "Invested" signal, the ETF with the highest relative strength must also have 12-month total returns greater than the 12-month total returns of the cash ETF. This is the absolute momentum filter which is detailed in depth by Antonacci, and has historically helped increase risk-adjusted returns.

I have added an "average" return signal for each ETF on the spreadsheet. The concept is the same as the 12-month relative momentum. However, the "average" return signal uses the average of the past 3, 6, and 12 ("3/6/12″) month total returns for each ETF. The "invested" signal is based on the ETF with the highest relative momentum for the past 3, 6 and 12 months. The ETF with the highest average relative strength must also have an average 3/6/12 total returns greater than the 3/6/12 total returns of the cash ETF.

Below are the four portfolios along with current signals. As you can see, the 12-month and 3-6-12 signals are the same with the exception of the Real-Estate risk portfolio. REM has higher 12-month returns than VNQ; however, VNQ has higher 3/6/12 returns than REM.

Return data courtesy of Finviz
EquityETFAverage of 3/6/12 ReturnsSignal based on 1 year returnsSignal based on average returns
US EquitiesVTI16.72InvestedInvested
International EquitiesVEU13.06
CashSHY0.17
Credit RiskETFAverage of 3/6/12 ReturnsSignal based on 1 year returnsSignal based on average returns
High Yield BondHYG7.67InvestedInvested
Interm Credit BondCIU2.28
CashSHY0.17
Real-Estate RiskETFAverage of 3/6/12 ReturnsSignal based on 1 year returnsSignal based on average returns
Equity REITVNQ17.17 Invested
Mortgage REITREM14.43Invested
CashSHY0.17
Economic StressETFAverage of 3/6/12 ReturnsSignal based on 1 year returnsSignal based on average returns
GoldGLD-13.42
Long-term TreasuriesTLT0.46InvestedInvested
CashSHY0.17

As an added bonus, the spreadsheet also has four additional sheets using a dual momentum strategy with broker specific commission-free ETFs for TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard. It is important to note that each broker may have additional trade restrictions and the terms of their commission-free ETFs could change in the future. Also, the dual momentum strategy has historically had relatively low turnover.

Disclosure: No positions

Source: Dual ETF Momentum: May Update