Selections For March 2019

Feb. 28, 2019 8:43 PM ET126 Comments
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Cliff Smith's Blog
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Portfolio Strategy, Momentum, Long-Term Horizon, Bonds

Contributor Since 2013

Now in retirement and trying to preserve (and grow) my life savings, I currently have a strong interest in tactical asset allocation strategies and permanent portfolios, and have studied them extensively. I have developed a number of tactical strategies involving the periodic trading of mutual funds and ETFs. These strategies have been extensively backtested using the Portfolio Visualizer (PV) software. My goal is to earn 8-10% annually with no negative years, to have maximum drawdowns (on a monthly basis) less than 3%, and to have monthly win rates over 80%. The strategies include purchasing a limited number of assets with the highest growth and lowest volatility, and minimizing risk using dual momentum, relative strength, moving average and risk parity methods. My emphasis is on bond strategies, although I have developed some equity strategies.

I publish a free monthly article on Seeking Alpha Instablog that presents each month's selections of the strategies I invest in. I provide PV links to all of my strategies.

I am currently a retired Aerospace Engineer. I am married with three children and nine 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. degree from Caltech (1973), and a M.A. - Biblical Studies degree from Birmingham Theological Seminary (2013). I worked at Pratt & Whitney (1973-1986) and CFD Research Corporation (1987-2008).


  • Based on the original ELVS, OOSAX is the winner for March. ELVS YTD return is +2.32%.
  • The weekly-updated MDBS_ETF strategy owns SRLN at the present time. YTD return is 2.14%.
  • January and February returns have been quite good overall. The strategies are signaling more risk in March.

Give a portion to seven, or even to eight

for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. (Ecc. 11:2)

Please refer to a previous blog (posted December 23, 2018 on my SA Instablog) as background for my strategies in 2019. Links to Portfolio Visualizer for each strategy are included in the December 23rd blog post. Free, easy-to-use spreadsheets of three of my strategies (Original ELVS, DF_ELVS and ULVS) were developed by Greg Katai, and they can be downloaded at this post.

My 2019 strategies feature very low volatility bond assets (mutual funds and ETFs), and only one strategy employs equities as a component in the strategy. I expect these strategies to only give an overall return of 5-6% in 2019, and not the usual 10% annual return I desire under calmer market conditions. I think we must remain patient in 2019 and avoid large drawdowns at all costs. However, so far in 2019, we are running at an overall annual return of about 10% if we continue at the present rate.

Here are the March 2019 selections for all of my strategies:

1. Original ELVS: OOSAX (100%). In February, ELVS held WHIYX and gained 1.47%.

2. DF_ELVS: EAFAX (50%) and WHIYX (50%). In February, DF_ELVS (that owned DSIAX and VFIIX) returned +0.45%.

3. ULVS: NVHAX (100%). ULVS owned LEXNX in February and earned -0.03%.

4. VV_ELVS: OOSAX (100%). In February, VV_ELVS owned VWEHX and gained +1.49%.

5. Weekly MDBS_ETF: SRLN (100%) as of February 28, 2019. In February, MDBS_ETF earned 1.13%

6. VAA-G4: VOO (50%) and VEA (50%). VAA-G4 returned +1.43% in February.

7. Weekly LSFAX Strategy: LSFAX (100%). This strategy owned LSFAX all month in February and it returned +1.14%.

Please let me know if I made any mistakes. The February returns might be a little off because the EOM distributions might not be correct (at the time I posted this).

Overall, the strategies did quite well in February except for ULVS; I am quite thankful.  In my Schwab accounts, based on my own money I am investing, I am up 1.56% YTD, while in my Vanguard accounts I am up 1.45% YTD. I hope you are seeing similar returns. 


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