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Old 06-17-2007, 11:34 PM   #21
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I am not smart enough to be a timer and I don't trust anyone to make my decisions for me.

I have been fully invested for maybe 25 years and it has paid off well so far.
Ed, the point that many make here is that if you time the market you are actually NOT smart.
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:52 PM   #22
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The only 'game' I play is to take advantage of buying opportunities with some of my cash allocation. Not sure this ends up actually being beneficial or not because I end up carrying a larger than normal cash allocation (which produces drag) to take advantage of those buying opportunities.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:11 AM   #23
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lol

I make a point about asset allocation using time in the market rather than asset classes.

the "refutation" quotes a 90% equity, 10% bond portfolio.

Look, if you don't accept the concept of risk-adjusted returns, fine. But many others do, and Hulbert will include that as a sort criterion as well as total return.

I agree, Mojena's aggressive model is bogus. But his non-leveraged model "ekes" as CFB puts it, market returns by only being in the market maybe 2/3 of the time. Sounds like better risk-adjusted returns to me. And if you use it in qualified plans, tell me about all these horrible tax consequences. If tax consequences are so horrible, nobody should own mutual funds that distribute.

Like I said, I don't use it because I don't like the "all in" or "all-out" approach. I'll play texas hold-em if that's what I want. But I'm not willing to just write it off as a "fool's errand" when it does have some use and validity for some.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:18 AM   #24
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just to be clear, I realize that there are LOTS of bogus MT models out there. Data-mining seems to be the most prevalent. They are recognized by things like

"buy on the signal unless it's a Tuesday after a MACD crossover and the relative strength lags the R2k for more than 4 days in a row." etc.

I pointed out Mojena mostly because it (as far as I know--it's proprietary) is based on some fundamental econometrics. It falls badly on it's face when it tries leverage and shorting.

I'm just not so willing to write off a whole class of tools which could conceivably have a place when used in a disciplined manner. Especially since many of the people rejecting them down seem to do "undisciplined timing" in their own portfolios and calling it "rebalancing."

The disciplined manner was the part I always had a problem with. It's harder to not make money when others are making it--harder than not losing it when others are losing it. Timing doesn't suit me--I am happy setting it and forgetting it and rebalancing once/year. But that doesn't mean I think it's for everybody.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:42 AM   #25
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The disciplined manner was the part I always had a problem with. It's harder to not make money when others are making it--harder than not losing it when others are losing it. Timing doesn't suit me--I am happy setting it and forgetting it and rebalancing once/year. But that doesn't mean I think it's for everybody.
Very good point here. I have been a market timer for over 30 years, successfully, due to a need to avoid large drawdowns imposed by being retired with a family to support and with modest resources.

I really don't care if someone else makes more money than me over some period, or over his lifetime really. I want to reach the distant shore safely and with good results relative to T-bills and CDs.

Actually I have done much better than this, but my goal has always been safety first, return second. I believe that one cannot find safety today in going out and buying anything readily available with any considerable duration. Some choices may be spectacularly successful; just not a priori "safe".

If I had to choose some new long investment now it would be TIPS, maybe between 5 and 10 years.

IMO the reason buy and hold has become the only respectable posture is that it is much better from the POV of mutual funds and various asset gatherers to have clients who will leave their money on deposit. So as opinion makers, they work to bring about acceptance of this approach. Likewise it is an easy sell with self directed investors because of what Bosco said above- it gives you what everyone else is getting at the time they are getting it. So you are safe from self criticism and criticism from you spouse and from ribbing from your friends.

Ha
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Old 06-19-2007, 03:17 AM   #26
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Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again. I realize I'm swimming upstream against the approved forum doctrine.

I agree that it is very difficult to "beat the market" in absolute terms using market timing. But that is not always the goal. Sometimes the goal is to reduce risk.

If I can garner 80% of the additional gains above cash by being in the market 50% of the time, have I not come out ahead on a risk adjusted basis?

Timing is difficult due to the all or nothing approach. But many of those on this forum who speak negative about timing seem to engage in it themselves, but just call it something else. What do you call it when the market makes you nervous and you practice "asset allocation" at a time that is not on a predetermined schedule?

The bottom line, to me, is to find the system that allows you to sleep at night and that is a written-down plan. This helps keep emotion out of it. When I was practicing market timing (I no longer do), I stuck to systems that I had the algorithm for--don't like relying on gurus. I won't say it was wildly successful, but neither was it disastrous. I think I slightly underperformed the market, but was only in about 60% of the time or so.

Finally, there are reputable timers with long-term respectable results. One that I watch (but don't use) is

Mojena Market Timing

I am certainly NOT advocating market timing. But I don't believe that the bottom line of whether or not it works is if it beats the market. After all, a diversified portfolio with a dollop of bonds won't beat it either. What's the difference if you allocate using the time axis versus allocating versus the "asset class" axis? Either way is a method to attempt to smooth volitility and risk.
Yeah. I read Marty Zwieg's book "Book Winning on Wall Street". He called the 1987 crash and gained much notoriety. He is a smart guy, He went to top notch schools MBA, PHD runs or ran some mutual funds. I do not think his funds out performed for any sustained period of time. He has a new letter. Martin Zweig, Stock Investing Guru

He touts the strategy of not being overly exposed to market risk. It is a form of timing. He uses a combo of fundamental and technical analysis. His book is interesting (I have read others that have similar info... not new). But applying it is complicated and takes much discipline. He would advise you to buy his news letter.

Anyway... You can quantify your gain or loss against the market benchmarks easy enough. If you have less, consider that you paid insurance premiums for the difference in "opportunity cost".

I personally believe that rebalancing a diversified portfolio (e.g. stocks, bonds, other asset classes) is a form of timing. But it is not based on traditional technical indicators... rather it is based on one asset class outperforming others. It is the safest (buy low - sell high) mechanical approach around. And it is proven academically and in practice.

Oh... I forgot to mention... in most of those timing models, the indicators are sometimes wrong. Plus, one can miss the indicator by a few days of weeks and miss significant gains. The models can be very confusing.
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:47 AM   #27
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Anyway... You can quantify your gain or loss against the market benchmarks easy enough. If you have less, consider that you paid insurance premiums for the difference in "opportunity cost".

I personally believe that rebalancing a diversified portfolio (e.g. stocks, bonds, other asset classes) is a form of timing. But it is not based on traditional technical indicators... rather it is based on one asset class outperforming others. It is the safest (buy low - sell high) mechanical approach around. And it is proven academically and in practice.

Oh... I forgot to mention... in most of those timing models, the indicators are sometimes wrong. Plus, one can miss the indicator by a few days of weeks and miss significant gains. The models can be very confusing.
I basically agree with everything said here although I don't know if rebalancing is the "safest" mechanical approach around. It certainly is one of the simplest, and fairly effective.

I really think that some of this discussion revolves around whether one's primary purpose is growth or preservation of capital. If you have the time and want primarily growth, market timing may be a waste of time and a loss of opportunity. But if your goal is preservation, it can conceivably be useful. I think this is what HaHa was saying.
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:28 AM   #28
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Well - if Mr Gus keeps those Vanguard computers properly programed and humming away - my Target Retirement fund is dirty market timing as we speak - buying low selling high, heh heh heh heh heh heh.

Of course some call it rebalancing, asset allocation or other silly names.

Over on the side with my mad money questing for the Holy Grail - I commit all sins - trade, chase performance, reinvest dividends, etc, have DRIP plans in file cabinets - you name it.

heh heh heh . Kayaks, stock trading, fishing, gardening - and whatever ever else floats my boat in retirement.
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:24 PM   #29
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I basically agree with everything said here although I don't know if rebalancing is the "safest" mechanical approach around. It certainly is one of the simplest, and fairly effective.

I really think that some of this discussion revolves around whether one's primary purpose is growth or preservation of capital. If you have the time and want primarily growth, market timing may be a waste of time and a loss of opportunity. But if your goal is preservation, it can conceivably be useful. I think this is what HaHa was saying.
My pointing to the rebalance as a form of timing is a stretch... I will admit. It is a little different than what most of us call timing.

I follow on the cap pres vs growth. At one time I drank the cool-aid. But I no longer prescribe to this thinking even with the reason of preservation of capital. The timers' primary goal is to achieve investment return (no question about that... they are looking to grow the money), but they claim they have a lower risk approach that preserves capital by limiting exposure to the stock market by going to cash. Some of them are momentum style investors (to focus on growth stocks). My take is that cap pres is a rationalization for timing. They are trying to avoid the fluctuations, corrections, and bear markets or leverage it by shorting. They believe that they can come out ahead compared to other approaches.

If their timing is off (a human judgment call), they may not preserve capital. Zwieg times the market in the name of capital preservation. Zwieg's mutual fund (ZF) has underperformed the S&P 500 index except for a brief period late 80's early 90's. He did thrive during the 87 crash. His noteriety was calling the crash. That is why he was on Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street Week for years. I think his success at timing the 87 crash help his fund's performance number for awhile. But during the late 90's the market continued to climb and outpaced his fund. (No doubt, he is a very smart guy).

I cannot say that timing does not work. What I have read has had credible analysis behind it (back testing) that shows it can work. Of course those studies often have the benefit of a rearview mirror for the study (looking at the past after the fact). Doing it with the future is more difficult.

From a practical point of view, I do not believe that I (personally) can consistently pull it off (timing).

But I do believe I can achieve acceptable and consistent results holding a diversified portfolio (several asset classes) and rebalancing. Managing the allocations level in different asset classes enables one tune the results to yield an acceptable level of risk and reward.


What I find a bit curious is that certain academics and professional shun timing and point to it being inferior by comparing the sub-par timing performance to a market index. On the other side of the argument, the timers claim they were preserving capital by limiting exposure (the value add). I guess it depends on which theory one prescribes to.
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:21 PM   #30
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Chinaco, It sure seems to me that the only market timing scheme that works is the one that looks backwards (AKA - DATA MINING). Good luck though! If you do elect to try it, may I suggest you only use a small portion of your assets? Do us a favor too, report your moves before hand and we can see how it works.
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:49 PM   #31
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Chinaco, It sure seems to me that the only market timing scheme that works is the one that looks backwards (AKA - DATA MINING). Good luck though! If you do elect to try it, may I suggest you only use a small portion of your assets? Do us a favor too, report your moves before hand and we can see how it works.
Reread my post... I stated just the opposite.
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:00 PM   #32
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Reread my post... I stated just the opposite.
. This what threw me.....
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I cannot say that timing does not work. What I have read has had credible analysis behind it (back testing) that shows it can work.
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:51 AM   #33
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Market timing works. Look at the results of all the dirty market timers who bought low and sold high-- Buffett, Fischer, Schloss, Ruane, Miller, Lynch, Simpson, [insert another dozen Hall of Famers here], Brewer, HaHa, Cute Fuzzy Bunny, and so on. The success of guys like these is why it's still an "Efficient Market Hypothesis". Heck, it can't get even get upgraded to "Theory", let alone "Rule".

The problem is that Hulbert's newsletter tracking has demonstrated that the vast majority of the timers are idiots. Idiot market timers, anyway-- they seem to be great newsletter sellers.

Another example that should be studied by all aspiring market timers is Gary "How I Trade For A Living" Smith. He's ER'd now in his 50s, I believe, but his biography leaves an awesome trail of human wreckage.

I think there are only a few criteria necessary to join the Great Market Timer ranks:
1. A predisposition (hard-wired) for gathering and sifting huge volumes of information,
2. A handy facility with remembering facts & manipulating numbers,
3. A breathtaking contrarian faith in their ability to break from the crowd that would make even George W. Bush blush with envy,
4. The mental discipline to keep it up for at least two decades.

I guess #4 downgrades Lynch to "lucky". (But his post-Magellan record isn't public info.) I, for one, am too lazy and too easily distracted to get past #1. I suspect that most of the rest of the world's investors are the same way.

But that doesn't keep them from trying.
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:56 AM   #34
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Back in the day - when I was young and less of a Vanguard Diehard - I used to ponder: am I a value investor or market timer?

Duh - if it's individual stocks buying the 'cheap' Ben Graham/intrinsic value stuff and selling the 'overvalued' stocks and keeping some fixed positions ala Ben is value not timing - Right?

Now buying mutual funds in sectors/areas that are 'cheap' ala W. Bernstein/Efficient Frontier is creative asset allocation - not dirty market timing or performance chasing - right?

Theoretical purity is not one on my strongpoints!

heh heh heh - here's to lifecycle funds in my old age(ER wise) and a few good hobbies/hormones - er I mean stocks.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:54 AM   #35
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Do bear in mind that my "market timing" was pretty much limited to two "times"...when I felt the market was grossly over and undervalued. No need for fancy charts, graphs or formulas...just look at the index prices and if you cant avoid shaking your head...its time to make a move.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:58 AM   #36
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Do bear in mind that my "market timing" was pretty much limited to two "times"...when I felt the market was grossly over and undervalued. No need for fancy charts, graphs or formulas...just look at the index prices and if you cant avoid shaking your head...its time to make a move.
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Old 06-21-2007, 09:23 AM   #37
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Back in 1999 I talked to a long haul truck driver who was "day trading" from his cab and said he was making more doing that than driving. This reminded me of the JP Morgan story of getting a stock tip from a boot black in 1929.

A few weeks later I was at a company party and looked around at all the happy people smoking cigars and talking about how much money they had made in the market. They talked on and on about their tech stock strategy (buy the infrastructure not the dot com's) and I decided it was time to lighten up. Call me a market timer or just lucky.
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Old 06-21-2007, 12:18 PM   #38
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...Call me a market timer or just lucky.
What are you doing right now? Talked to any truckers lately?
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:17 PM   #39
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What are you doing right now? Talked to any truckers lately?
I'm pretty happy with a 50/50 portfolio right now. Actually outside of this board not too many people I know talk about the market or stocks in general anymore. I sense a lot of worry about the markets and the economy in the financial press and TV. I guess if I see a big bear on the cover of TIME it might make me add to my allocation of stocks a little.
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Old 06-21-2007, 06:11 PM   #40
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Let's say you have seven people who have done extremely well timing the market. How can you tell, objectively, that they weren't just lucky?

That is, how do you know that they weren't just the seven monkeys who happened to throw their darts in the right place?
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