May 10, 2019

The following is an extract from my latest book (Reengineering Your Stock Portfolio), where I try to answer some probable and unasked questions related to the presented trading strategy. See my recent articles describing this strategy in more detail.

To give an inkling of the strategy's capabilities and to put it in some kind of context, the following equity chart (figure 8.16 from the book) shows some portfolio metrics for this remarkable trading script over its 14-year simulation period.


Reengineering Your Stock Portfolio (Figure 8.16)

(click to enlarge)

Is this strategy for real? Yes. Definitely. Furthermore, those performance levels could be duplicated by anyone. It uses the same tools available to any other Quantopian user. The original script, which you can also modify, is available for free. Note: Quantopian shut down in 2020.

Can the strategy last? Yes. This has been demonstrated by its 14-year backtest, where you see it improving all the time. And it is built to go even further.

Why not publish your version of this trading script for all to see? No way. You must be kidding. The answer to that should have been obvious! Also, the few times I have tried that, within hours, they were misused, and then I was blamed for “them” not doing their homework. The program is an intricate and sophisticated trading strategy. Reengineer it yourself. This way, you will understand better what it does and be responsible for your own work.

Is it new? No, not at all. You will see the same underlying trade mechanics as I have proposed over the last 12 years or so. The structure of this program is similar to my DEVX8 program, which has been illustrated on my website since 2015, with its origin going further back. Since it uses the same underlying trading philosophy, I started to call this one DEVX10 as if a continuation and improvement over DEVX8.

Can it trade long and short? Yes, if the CVXOPT optimizer wants to. It is the optimizer that determines the trading activity. And it was shown at least once (on the Quantopian website) that it could even prefer not to go short at all. It remains that it is the optimizer that makes the calls, and it will go long or short if needed.

Does it use leverage? Yes, since it has a positive upward bias, the strategy will place larger bets on the stocks performing the best. Leverage on the last simulation presented averaged 1.27. Meaning that 27% of the equity, on average, was subject to leveraging fees. At the CAGR level we see this trading strategy at, it can more than afford paying those fees. Nonetheless, the fees will leave a trace by slowing down the CAGR by some 2 to maybe 4%. Each scenario will be different. Going forward remains an unknown.

Can it use all available capital? Yes, all the time, and more. It is one of its best features. The strategy has full market exposure. In most cases presented, it has over-exposure since some leverage was used.

How can it flip that much volume? It only flips part of its inventory as it progresses in time. This way, it generates cash that can be used to buy more shares later on. As one's portfolio grows, it becomes harder and harder to flip large quantities of stock without having a price impact. The strategy can bypass much of this flipping simply by not flipping that much. As the portfolio grows, even the partial flipping is reduced. The average turnover is less than 1%.

Does it have weaknesses? Yes. Some of which have not been taken care of as yet. For example, it still needs more downside protection. It needs to handle more than the 6-stock limitation encountered. But all that can be corrected. It is part of the next stage in this development process. I first wanted to know how far it could go before installing better protective measures and solving the 6-stock limitation.

Does it pay a lot of commissions? It does pay commissions, but not as much as would be expected. A large part of the positions are still in inventory, therefore, commissions have been paid once for the entry. For the full trades, commissions were, at most, marginal expenses compared to overall returns. As said before, in these simulations, commissions and slippage were all accounted for since the Quantopian default settings were used. Also, as noted, the average turnover is less than 1%.

Can it still grow? Yes. It is a simple matter of control. You want it to grow more, then push more on its pressure points. Trade more (increase n), increase its trade aggressiveness, force it to accumulate more shares for the long term, and increase its profit margin. You see the point.

How is it controlled? On this one, it is like asking me for the trading script. And that will not happen. I would prefer you figure it out. Since once you do, you might be more inclined to accept what you see on your own machine. I can hardly expect you to put millions on the table without knowing what you could see with your own eyes when doing your own simulations.

What is the use of such a trading strategy? The strategy is made to build large long-term portfolios. It is using trading as a funding mechanism to accumulate large long-term stock inventories. The same principles could be applied by anyone building their own portfolios. Any organization or individual could use such a portfolio management methodology to increase their long-term performance. This is further discussed in my book: Building Your Stock Portfolio.

It this trading strategy for everyone? No. First, it is made to handle large sums and for a long time. However, the principles used, even after being down-scaled, even by a factor of 100, will still be more than useful since the strategy is scalable. This is demonstrated in the book in the scaling down section. It is not everyone that is looking for long-term trading/investing strategies. We all have our own preferences. Nonetheless, even if I say so myself, this strategy, with its modifications, can really fly.

Created. May 10, 2019, © Guy R. Fleury. All rights reserved.