Risk/Reward Heat Map Methodology

The Risk/Reward Heat Map (RRHM) is essentially a sophisticated ‘pros and cons’ list that visually expresses whether risk or reward will dominate over a specific time frame.

Barron’s rates iSPYETF as “trader with a good track record” and Investor’s Business Daily says: “When Simon says, the market listens.” Find out why Barron’s and IBD endorse Simon Maierhofer’s Profit Radar Report.

Process of Compiling RRHM

  • The calculation starts with identifying a unique event, such as: The S&P 500 broke to a new all-time high for the first time in 1 year (more examples of events below are listed below).
  • Once the event is identified, we look for past events (or occasions) that fit the same criteria.
  • Once past events are identified, we calculate the forward performance (for each individual event) for the next 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12 month.
  • Once the forward returns are calculated, we consider the result an indicator, study or signal (ISS).
  • If 80% or more of a particular ISS show a positive return for a certain timeframe, it is added to the bullish column for that time period. One ISS can be bullish or bearish for multiple time frames (I.e. ISS is bearish for the next 2 and 3 month, but bullish for the next 6 and 12 month)
  • If 50% or less of a particular ISS show a negative return for a certain period of time, it is added to the bearish column for that time period.

Here is an actual example of an event and corresponding ISS published in the December 15, 2019 Profit Radar Report:

Event: For the first time since January 26, 2018 (474 days ago), the NY Composite set a new all-time high.

ISS: The NYC reached a new high for the first time in more than 400 days 8 other times since 1970.

2 weeks later, the NYC was up 4 times (50%), 1 month later up 6 times (75%), 2 month later up 7 times (88%), 3 month later up 8 times (100%), 6 month later up 7 times (88%), 1 year later up 8 times (100%).”

Below is a sampling of events that have been considered in the past. The examples are listed to show the depth and variety of events used to compile the risk/reward heat map. “X” and “[]” indicate variables.

  • [index] may refer to S&P 500, Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Russell 2000, NY Composite
  • [high or low] may refer to all-time high, 52-week high, highest or lowest level in X days/weeks/month, X above or below a moving average, bollinger band, or other indicator.
  • [indicator] may refer to RSI, MACD, CBOE put/call ratio, hedgers’ exposure, NY Composite a/d line, unemployment claims, yield curve, analyst estimates, sentiment polls, Hindenburg Omen signals, technical breakout or breakdown, period of time above/below certain threshold, or other sentiment, economic, breadth, liquidity indicator

Examples of Events

  • [Index] registered a new [high or low]
  • [Index] registered a new [high or low] for the first time in [X] days
  • [Index] registered a new [high or low] for the first time in [X] days, while [indicator] set new [high or low]
  • [Index] came within [X] percent of a new [high or low] while [indicator] stayed [X] above or below [high or low].
  • [Index] registered a new [high or low] while [x] percent of [indicator] set new [high or low]
  • [Index A] outperformed [index B] for [X]
  • [Index A] outperformed [index B] for [X] while [indicator] set new [high or low]
  • [Index] traded [X] consecutive days above [indicator]
  • [Index] traded [X] consecutive days above [indicator 1] while above [indicator 2]

Analysis

There are 3 ways to categorize the RRHM:

  1. Total signals (bullish and bearish)
  2. Net signals only
  3. Change (total or net) for a specific timeframe

Analysis #1 and #2 allow us to identify time periods of elevated risk or reward. Time is only one component of market forecasting, price is another – more important – one. A break below support or above resistance is usually required to start validating the message conveyed by the RRHM.

Analysis #3 allows us to identify changes. For example: The RRHM may project risk in February. If true to the projection, the S&P 500 drops X % in February, and ISSs start giving much more bullish signals, the RRHM change may indicate when a bottom is in.

The most recent RRHM will be available via the Profit Radar Report (along with a detailed interpretation and analysis of other factors), but below is a copy of the January 1 RRHM. Since January 1, an additional 56 ISS have been catolgued and included in the RRHM.

Continued updates, projections, buy/sell recommendations are available via the Profit Radar Report.

Simon Maierhofer is the founder of iSPYETF and the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. Barron’s rated iSPYETF as a “trader with a good track record” (click here for Barron’s evaluation of the Profit Radar Report). The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013, 17.59% in 2014, 24.52% in 2015, 52.26% in 2016, and 23.39% in 2017.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF or sign up for the FREE iSPYETF e-Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

 

How to Minimize the Risk Associated with Higher Returns

“What it means to be a successful investor in 2016 can be summed up in four words: bigger gambles, lower returns.” – Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal just reported that investors need to pile on more risk just to get a reasonable return.

According to the WSJ and research by Callan Associates, in 1995, a portfolio of save bonds would return 7.5% with little risk and volatility.

Thanks to rock-bottom interest rates, and lackluster growth, investors are now forced to take on much more risk just to get close to a 7.5% return. How much more risk?

To eek out 7.5% in 2015, investors had to shrink their save bond position from 100% to just 12% and pump the remainder of their portfolio into much riskier assets.

The chart below illustrated the progression from high returns/low risk to high risk/low returns.

How to Reduce Risk

There are two approaches to reduce risk:

  1. Price: Only enter trades with a favorable risk/reward ratio
  2. Time: Not to be (fully) invested all the time

The Profit Radar Report utilizes both strategies to reduce risk.

Price

The Profit Radar Report recommends about 25 carefully selected trades per year. Trades that pass our intense qualifications are:

a) Low risk trades: Risk is reduced to a bare minimum or

b) High probability trades: The odds of being right are exceptionally high

This page explains our trade selection process.

The Profit Radar Report has outperformed the S&P 500 every year since inception. Performance details are available here.

Time

Because we only take the best trade setups, we are only invested a fraction of the year, and don’t have permanent default exposure to risk. For example, the Profit Radar Report did not have any equity exposure during the August 2015 and January 2016 mini-meltdowns.

If you are looking for a low-maintenance way to reduce risk and juice returns, the Profit Radar Report may be for you.

Simon Maierhofer is the founder of iSPYETF and the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. Barron’s rated iSPYETF as a “trader with a good track record” (click here for Barron’s profile of the Profit Radar Report). The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013, 17.59% in 2014, and 24.52% in 2015.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF or sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

Diversification: The Correlation Risk Trap is Real

A rising tide lifts all boats and liquidity buoys all asset classes. That’s great, but it’s not diversification. In fact, it presents a whole new type of hidden risk. Many ‘diversified’ portfolios today would fail miserably at any sort of Black Swan event.

The purpose of diversification is to reduce risk. The rationale behind diversification used to be that booming cycles of some asset classes offset the bust cycle of other assets.

Diversification made sense in an environment where some asset classes boomed while others got busted, but that isn’t the case anymore.

Today most asset classes ebb and flow at the same time, but at different degrees. This makes diversification less effective and possibly dangerous.

The first chart shows the percentage change of the following asset classes/ETFs since January 2007: S&P 500 SPDR (SPY), iShares Core Total US Bond ETF (AGG), iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate ETF (IYR), and iShares S&P GSCI Commodity ETF (GSG).

In early 2007 stocks and commodities cushioned the decline in real estate prices. In 2008 commodities lessened the sting of falling stock and real estate prices.

Then came quantitative easing and it’s become clear ever since that all asset classes swim in the same liquidity pool. Some swim faster, some slower, but all float with the tide.

Different Approach to Diversification

A less popular, more contrarian and quite possibly more effective approach to diversification involves simple under appreciated cash.

Based on Rydex funds flow data, investors are despising cash like never before. Low interest rates are partially to blame for the great cash exodus, but excessive enthusiasm for stocks is probably the main motivation.

The second chart illustrates basic support (green) and resistance (red) ranges for the S&P 500. The S&P tends to get overbought in the red and oversold in the green zone.

Over the past years, investors did well to diversify out of stocks (and other assets) into cash when prices reached the red resistance range and rotate out of cash into stocks (and other assets) in the green range.

The S&P is about to reach overbought territory and risk is rising. Raising cash may offer more risk protection than diversification.

The Profit Radar Report will provide specific trigger levels indicative of a trend change from up to down.