Alternative Investments -Measuring Performance

How to measure performance between accounts.

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Dealing in Alternative Investments requires a bit of statistical knowledge (the more the better).  So I picked out one component that would benefit someone who handles their investments personally and, at the same time, benefit someone who pays an advisor because it never hurts to ask the right questions.

The following is not investment advice, but one way to assess the advice you were given…

High Frequency Trading or Unconventional Return Periods

When returns are realized at higher frequencies (many times per year), Sharpe Ratios and the corresponding t-statistics can be calculated in a straightforward way.

Assuming there are N return occurrences per year, and the mean (μ) and standard deviation (σ) of the returns are μ and σ, the annualized Sharpe Ratio can be calculated as (μ×N)/(σ×√N) …or (μ/σ)×√N.

The corresponding t-statistic is (μ/σ)×√(N × number of years).

For monthly returns, the annualized Sharpe Ratio and the corresponding t-statistic are (μ/σ)×√12 and (μ/σ)×√(12 × number of years), respectively.  Here, μ and σ are the monthly mean and standard deviation of returns.

Similarly, assuming μ and σ are the daily mean and standard deviation for returns (you traded every day the market was open…please don’t do that:) and there are 252 trading days in a year, the annualized Sharpe Ratio is (μ/σ)×√252 …the corresponding t-stat is (μ/σ)×√(252 × number of years).

The calculators I use to find these metrics are listed in the right-hand column on “my trading desk.” They both have statistical functions.

The Test Statistic

Test Statistics (t-stat,t-statistic) are tricky creatures.  Essentially when evaluating performance, I require a t-stat of 4 or more (the higher the better) before considering a stake.  In the future, I will explain a simple model I use to allocate cash among accounts and strategies according to their t-stat.

Now, here is a simple formula to estimate a t-statistic for unusual return periods:

Test statistic= (μ/σ)×√(N return occurrences × number of years).

Note that “N return occurrences×Number of years” is just the total number of return occurrences resulting from the investment or strategy (either positive or negative).  So, if you closed out 3 trades (at 1%, -2.3% and 3%), that counts as N=3.

Or, if your investment reconciles every 6 weeks, for the past 1.5 years then N=13, (78 weeks / 6).

Remember, it is important to convert your daily/weekly/monthly returns to an annual (yearly) number.  This makes it very easy to compare performance against conventional, low-return investments pushed by financial salesmen.

And since the volatility adjustment is built-in, it is an apples-to-apples comparison.

 

Sails Up

Long The Japanese Yen.

↓ CAD/¥

The global macro picture looks squared away: swap dealers are short CAD and long Yen; institutional managers are actively buying Yen contracts.  Bond activity indicates risk-off verifying ¥ long positioning.  Retail positioning is not optimal and BoJ numbers are due out this week so a wide stop.

The charts show good CCI Divergence on the daily and weekly.  Stop is set north of ¥92.  Position size is a full bell.

Update:  10/01, order triggered; 10/18, closed at +2.4% of margin;

 

↓ €/¥

Similar global macro factors with institutional managers  actively closing their euro shorts.  CCI divergence on the weekly; stop-loss is set above the weekly high.  A correlated trade so I will be trailing the stop on this pair if it triggers. Risk taken is a 2/3 bell.

Update: 10/01, order triggered;  10/18, stopped out, -1.94% loss on equity

Trader Error:  this trade was held too long, I was away from my laptop and missed the profit target on the morning of 10/16.

European Monetary Union: Flash PMI

Emerging Markets: Flash PMI

EMU: Purchasing Manger’s Index

This week the Flash PMI for the EMU will be released.  The flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) provides an early estimate of current private sector output.

The flash data are released around ten days ahead of the final report and are typically based upon 75-85 percent of the survey sample. Results are synthesized into a single index which can range between zero and 100. A reading above (below) 50 signals rising (falling) output versus the previous month and the closer to 100 (zero) the faster is output growing (contracting).

The report contains flash estimates of the manufacturing and services PMIs. The survey is produced by IHS Markit and uses a sample of around 5,000 manufacturing & services firms.

Manufacturing firms located in:

  1. Germany
  2. France
  3. Italy
  4. Spain
  5. Netherlands
  6. Austria
  7. Ireland
  8. Greece.

Services firms located in:

  1. Germany
  2. France
  3. Italy
  4. Spain
  5. Ireland.

The report is significant because other investors/traders value it –economic data such as the PMIs  indicate what the economic backdrop is for the various markets:

  • Equity investors like to see rapid economic growth because that usually translates to higher corporate profits.  However, increased corporate profits may occur without any growth whatsoever.
  • Forex traders like rapid growth as well because that is one indicator of demand for a country’s currency.
  • The fixed income (bond) market prefers slow to no growth and is extremely sensitive to whether the economy is growing too quickly due to inflationary pressure.

So which market do you think the central pirates banks cater to?

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Homanns Heirs c1746

Have A Calculated Edge

Do you have a calculated edge?

It is important to have an edge as a trader.  But, what is an edge?  And how do I act on it to minimize risk and profit consistently.

The generic definition of an edge is this: an edge is a higher likelihood of one outcome happening over a second outcome.

With this definition in mind, let’s take a look at a simple scenario that illustrates an edge.

If you play heads or tails, with a friend, with a coin that you know is weighted more on one side (heads by 70%) than the other (tails), does it make sense to try and predict whether the number of heads will exceed the number of tails by the end of the day?

No, because each outcome is not random, you know that over time if you keep calling heads you will be wrong more often than you are correct.

The exact same can be said about trading. Simply put, once you have found an edge, all you have to do is keep applying that edge to the market whenever it presents itself.  Different traders hold different kinds of edges.  The type of edge you hold matters little.  What matters is that your edge is profitable and can be applied consistently.  And, if you have multiple edges, that definitely matters!

There is no point in guessing whether the next trade is going to be a winner or a loser. Guessing is futile.  Don’t guess your way into a soupline. When your edge is present, you don’t need to guess what the ruling market will do next.

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Do you have a clearly defined edge?

So what is my edge?  I have multiple edges since I prefer a good nights rest …and need my beauty sleep.

My #1 edge is Mindset –I know that money is a means and not an end.  I know that markets rule 24 hours a day, non-stop.  Missing a trade means nothing, losing a trade means little.  I know there are many more trades that are correlated  and time-lagged to any that I miss or lose.

My #2 edge is Money Management  —the money management model I developed over the years minimizes risk and adapts to trader performance.  When I take a loss, it is minor …gains always exceed losses.  My model is based on the work of great minds like:

  • Ed Thorpe
  • Claude Shannon
  • John Kelly, Jr.

At least one of those names should ring a bell.  Afterall, Claude Shannon (M.I.T.) is the father of modern Information Theory!

My final edge is market analysis which I learned from taking the first two CFA exams; as well as learning entry & exit points according to price charts (technical analysis).

If you want learn how to gain an edge in the market, go visit the fine folks who taught me:  Infinite Prosperity, a Corp. Authorised Representative of Alpha Equities & Futures Ltd ABN 76131376415

What is your edge?

When thou sittest to eate with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee…              –prov XXIII

U.S. Nonfarm Payroll (NFP)

All about the Nonfarm Payroll (NFP)

Always check the Economic Calendar

Later today, there will be released two separate surveys in one report. The first is a survey of 60,000 households (called the household survey). Workers are counted once, no matter how many jobs they have, or whether they are only working part-time. To be counted as unemployed, one must be actively looking for work. Other commonly known figures from the Household Survey include the labor supply and discouraged workers.

The second survey is the Establishment Survey –a survey of over 557,000 worksites. Nonfarm payroll employment is the most popular and well-known indicator from this survey. Business establishments in the nonfarm sector report the number of workers currently on their payrolls. Double counting occurs when individuals hold more than one job.  Always keep in mind that this is just a single indicator.  One that appeals to the emotions of many traders, but is hardly representative of the overall economy.

Market reactions to this indicator are usually dramatic.  The employment data given is comprehensive on how many people are looking for jobs, how many have them, what they’re getting paid and how many hours they are working. These numbers guide, not determine, the future direction of the economy. Nonfarm payrolls are categorized by sectors. This sector data can go a long way in helping investors determine in which economic sectors they intend to invest.

The employment statistics also provide insight on wage trends, and wage inflation is high on the list of opponents of easy monetary policy. Fed officials constantly monitor this data watching for even the smallest signs of potential inflationary pressures. If inflation is under control, it is easier for the Fed to maintain a more accommodative monetary policy. If inflation is a problem, the Fed is limited in providing economic stimulus.

By tracking jobs data, investors can sense the degree of tightness in the job market. If wage inflation threatens, it’s a good bet that interest rates will rise; bond and stock prices will fall. No doubt that the only investors in a good mood will be the ones who watched the employment report and adjusted their portfolios to anticipate these events. In contrast, when job growth is slow or negative, then interest rates are likely to decline – boosting up bond and stock prices in the process.
The employment situation is the primary monthly indicator of aggregate economic activity; it encompasses all major sectors of the economy. Many other economic indicators are dependent upon its information. It not only reveals information about the labor market, but about income and production as well. The Fed has emphasized that it is overall labor market conditions that matter – not just a specific number.

The bond market will rally (fall) when the employment situation shows weakness (strength). The equity market often rallies with the bond market on weak data because low interest rates are good for stocks. But sometimes the two markets move in opposite directions. After all, a healthy labor market should be favorable for the stock market because it supports economic growth and corporate profits. At the same time, bond traders are more concerned about the potential for inflationary pressures.

The unemployment rate rises during cyclical downturns and falls during periods of rapid economic growth. A rising unemployment rate is associated with a weak or contracting economy and declining interest rates. Conversely, a decreasing unemployment rate is associated with an expanding economy and potentially rising interest rates.

The fear is that wages will accelerate if the unemployment rate becomes too low and workers are hard to find.

Nonfarm payroll employment indicates the current level of economic activity. Increases in nonfarm payrolls translate into earnings that workers will spend on goods and services. The greater the increase in employment, the faster is the total economic growth. When the economy is in the mature phase of an expansion, rapid increases in employment cause fears of inflationary pressures if rapid demand for goods and services cannot be met by current production.

When the average workweek trends up, it supports production gains in the current period and portends additional employment increases. When the average workweek is in a declining mode, it probably is signaling a potential slowdown in employment growth-or even outright declines in employment in case of recession.

Gains in average hourly earnings represent wage pressures. These figures aren’t adjusted for overtime pay or shifts in the composition of the workforce, which affects wages on its own. Market participants believe that a rising trend in hourly earnings will lead to higher inflation. But if increased wages are matched by productivity gains, producers likely will not increase product prices with wages because their unit labor costs are stable.

90% of the time, I close out 90% of my positions the week of the NFP release.cropped-old-map-36.jpg

Sails Up

Apply risk management to your alternative investments.

Short AUD/JPY

I expect the easterly winds to push down the AUD/JPY this week.  The Reserve Bank of Australia  (recent dovish rhetoric) did not hike rates recently.  Also the Chinese slowdown is putting overall downward pressure on commodity currencies.

However, I always rely on charts for navigable water, such as:

  • a weekly high-test with cci divergence
  • daily decelleration with cci divergence
  • top of a head & shoulders pattern on the daily chart

The Japenese Yen, a safe-haven (funding) currency, may rise above the AUD a bit this week to offset the expected decrease in the DXY.  I will be on the lookout for an updraft to the DXY to signal a flattening or decreasing of the Yen.

Use wide stops, in this case above JPY89.  Cap risk at a predetermined limit that does not change unless something outside of emotion justifies the change.  My target holding period is no more than 10 days, depending on the Winds.

trade closed:  stopped out at JPY89.2   risk capped at -1.9% of  equity.

Short NZD/USD

High probabilility of the DXY  rebounding off 93, good probability of weekend gap in price action to fall, good CCI divergence on daily & weekly.  Conservative lot size and wide stop due to Fed meeting this week.  Stop loss set above USD00.75

trade closed:  stopped out at USD.755  risk capped at -1.1% of  equity.

Read up on the Sintra Accord.

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fairweather & following seas

Underway

___________________

Thank you for visiting my web log.  Although this blog is centered around alternative investments, foreign currency exchange & risk managment,  you will not see graphs nor price charts scattered about.  You will not see any news summaries, news articles or other such rehashed fear & confusion.  I have spent an immense amount of time, energy and sleepless nights (i.e. life) studying charts, analyzing price movement, spotting trends, memorizing formulas, determining correlations and pouring over grueling finance books.  What for? For why? Well, to decipher the code, navigate the matrix and predict the future, of course.

That is the past.

This blog reflects process.  And right now, the process is refined, the models are in place and the Mind is set.  God is in the Winds.  And when the Winds gust, the simple truth is that either your sails are up or your sails are down.  Make preparations before the storm.  Here, I will tell you when I hoist the Mainsail, why I lower it, or if I’m just reducing sail to prevent taking on too much risk.

In the sidebar, you will only find links to those resources that I personally use or have personally contributed to.  If the quality or status of the resource has diminished, the link will be promptly removed.

Good sailors know the ocean is unforgiving, relentless and beautiful; they always signal other ships when a storm is coming and when the coast is clear, so that is what I will do for you  …there is enough of God’s blue ocean for everyone to enjoy.

 

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