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Cliff Smith
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I am currently a retired Aerospace Engineer. I am married with three children and seven grandchildren. I was born in San Francisco, CA in 1949 and moved to Newport News, VA in 1951 where I lived until I went to college. By God's grace, I received a B.S. degree from Virginia Tech (1972), a M.S.... More
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  • QTS Pick For 3/31/2015: TLT (Or VUSTX)

    Please use this information at your own risk.

    The QTS strategy has selected VNQ as the top-ranked ETF for the second quarter, 2015. VNQ barely beat out VB. For the mutual fund version, VGSIX was the top-ranked fund.

    But VNQ did not pass its 3-month SMA. It was quite close, but the 3-month SMA was just below the quarter-end value of VNQ. Thus, the cash ETF is selected (in this case TLT). For the mutual fund version, the cash is VUSTX.

    A safer cash position would be SHY (or just pure cash). But I will leave that for you to decide.

    For the first quarter, QTS selected VNQ; its return was 4.7%, For comparison, the S&P 500 returned 0.9% in the first quarter of 2015.

    Mar 31 8:04 PM | Link | 1 Comment
  • No Longer Posting Updates

    I have decided to stop tracking and updating the tactical strategies I have developed over the past year. Many of these strategies were based on very limited backtesting, and I now feel that a strategy needs to be tested back to at least 2003, and preferably back to before 2000. I now believe either monthly or quarterly updating is preferred over semi-monthly updating. I no longer invest in the following strategies: Bond-Only Strategy, the Low Volatility Strategy, the Rising Rates Bond Strategy, the Unified Bond Strategy, or the Unified Tactical Strategy.

    Versions of what I consider to be my best strategies are listed below:

    1. The high yield - municipal pair-hedge strategy. One such combination is HYLD-HYMB. Both can be held except when either one (or both) fails its cash filter. The cash filter for HYLD is 3d-25d SMAs, while for HYMB, it is 3d-18d SMAs. SMAs should be based on total returns (dividends included) and can be found at for free. This strategy has been backtested to 1996 using mutual fund proxies.

    By the way, I will continue to send out alert emails for the HYLD-cash strategy.

    2. The equity-long term treasury hedge strategy in which both ETFs are held except when either one (or both) fail their respective cash filters. This hedge strategy can be used with unleveraged ETFs (e.g. SPY-TLT) or leveraged ETFs (SPXL-TMF). These strategies have been discussed in my articles. The hedge strategy with the unleveraged assets has been backtested to the mid-1990s using mutual fund proxies.

    3. The Quarterly Tactical Strategy, QTS. This strategy has been backtested to mid-1999, and has shown excellent CAGR and modest drawdown. Please refer to my article on this strategy.

    Thank you for your interest.


    Feb 16 2:14 PM | Link | 8 Comments
  • Strategy Updates For February 2, 2015

    Please realize you use these recommendations at your own risk. I am not a registered financial advisor. If for any unforeseen reason I do not post the recommendations for the next period, please sell the ETFs and go to cash.

    Shown below are the February 2, 2015 ETF updates for some of the tactical strategies I have discussed in my Seeking Alpha articles. February 2nd is the day to make your trades in these strategies. More information on the strategies can be found in the linked articles.

    Bond-Only Strategy


    Low Volatility Bond Strategy, LVB


    Rising Rates Bond Strategy, RRBS4


    Municipal Bond Strategy, MBS


    Unified Bond Strategy

    HYMB (34%), IEF (33%), TLT (33%)

    Unified Tactical Strategy

    HYMB (40%), IYR (15%), MDY (15%), TLT (30%)

    Quarterly Tactical Strategy

    This strategy updates quarterly. For this quarter (that started January 2nd), the ETF pick was VNQ and the mutual fund pick was VGSIX.

    These strategies have been backtested over a limited timeframe and shown to produce good growth with minimum risk, but future results may be dependent on factors not considered. Use these recommendations at your own risk.

    Jan 31 9:44 AM | Link | 2 Comments
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