2012 Is Tough!
2012 has proven to be an even more challenging year than trendless, volatile, news driven 2011.
Fortunately, in 2012, our pocket pivot review and short-sale set ups reports have on balance managed to well outperform the major market averages (please see archives here https://www.virtueofselfishinvesting.com/reports). Members who have outperformed have taken action, while taking care to position size within their risk tolerance levels. That may include pyramiding slowly into a name, letting price prove itself, before adding to their position.
But most others have had it very tough in 2012. Even after the 3-month uptrend from January to March 2012, the trend following wizards, a group of top fund managers that were interviewed by the likes of Jack Schwager's Market Wizard series and Michael Covel's book, were collectively down for the year: http://www.automated-trading-system.com/trend-following-wizards-new-top-25-march12/
Performance only worsened as of the latest report (end of April): http://www.automated-trading-system.com/trend-following-wizards-april-2012/
Market Direction Model (MDM)
Meanwhile, the Market Direction Model (MDM) continues to perform. In this era of quantitative easing which began in early 2009, since March 12, 2009 (the day we started tracking 3-times ETF TYH) to June 11, 2012 (yesterday's close), the Market Direction Model (MDM) was up a hypothetical +568%: https://www.virtueofselfishinvesting.com/market-timing-results. For challenging 2012 year-to-date, MDM is up +22.8%. To achieve these returns, one would have bought 100% TYH on a buy signal, shorted 100% TYH on a sell signal, and exited to 100% cash on a cash signal. Note, markets are made in ETFs differently from stocks so price slippage due to buying or shorting a large position is unusual. Market makers create or suppress instantly as many shares as they want, arbitraging with the derivative markets. Thus, you should get a clean execution price without slippage whatever the offered bid and ask volumes, even if the ETF is thinly traded. It is very different from what happens with individual stocks. That said, make sure that if the ETF is thin, you can get into and out of the ETF with minimal slippage in a timely manner. Discuss it with your broker or with whomever executes your trades just to confirm.
You will notice that the other MDM-related ETF we track, 3-times TNA, can sometimes go through periods of outperformance or underperformance relative to the other major averages such as NASDAQ and S&P 500. Thus, we recommend ETFs with each change in signal to help guide our members. As one example, TYH and NASDAQ Composite had small gains as a result of the March 13 MDM buy signal, but TNA had a loss. We did not recommend any Russell 2000 equivalent ETFs such as TNA on this March 13 MDM buy signal.
True Signals Outweigh False Signals
As a final note, for those who have been frustrated by the trading environment since 2011, MDM is no stranger to false signals during such challenging periods. The trend following wizards finished the year down, with many in negative double digit percentage territory: http://www.automated-trading-system.com/trend-following-wizards-december/. That said, MDM was still able to well outperform in 2011 which goes down as one of the most challenging years on record due to its trendless and highly volatile nature. While MDM had a string of false signals in 2011, it more than made up for its small losses from just a few true signals https://www.virtueofselfishinvesting.com/market-timing-results. Thus it is important to understand that such periods can occur within MDM, and such periods have always ended very favorably. That said, always making sure you are not investing money you cannot afford to lose, and always heeding your own personal risk tolerance levels in terms of position sizing and exit point(s).