The trend following wizards are collectively down in 2013 vs NASDAQ Composite up +19.6% and S&P 500 up +18.4% year-to-date. These wizards are a group of top fund managers who have managed money for many years and been interviewed in Michael Covel's book "Trend Following" and some of the Jack Schwager "Market Wizards" books.
The wizards' underperformance over the last few years underscores the trendless, challenging nature of the markets where reluctant, grinding rallies ensue, and the number of leading stocks are scant. That said, such periods can contain periods where profitability is big. Windows of opportunity can open when least expected such as the big silver rally in 2011 which made a huge difference to our performance, enabling us to well outperform the major averages. Then there was August - October 2011 when the Market Direction Model, after a tough time in the first half of 2011, scored big gains over a series of signals, enabling it to well outperform the major averages.
Meanwhile, 2012 and 2013 have had a few opportunities in individual stocks. If you look over our report archives, while a number of stocks have not worked, the ones that have worked such as AAPL (long then short) and TSLA (long) have made big differences in certain members' performance. Thus, position sizing as always is critical. Cutting losses while letting winners run, or better yet, pyramiding winners, is essential.