Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Harriman’s Stock Market Almanac 2018

Harriman’s Stock Market Almanac 2018, compiled by Stephen Eckett, is now in its eleventh edition. And it comes complete with a new and improved format. Gone is the weekly diary that formerly took up a large part of the book and made it look like something of a clone of Hirsch’s Stock Trader’s Almanac. (A minimalist version of the diary is now available online.) In its place is an expanded explication of seasonal market strategies and analysis.

The almanac, which focuses on the UK market, is divided into four parts—calendar, strategies, analysis, and reference.

The calendar section gives a two-page summary of the main features of each month’s historical performance and anomalies associated with the month.

The strategies section “describes the major anomalies and seasonality effects in the UK market and how they can be exploited.” These include the bounceback portfolio, construction sector 4M strategy, sell in May and sell in May sector strategies, summer share portfolio, sell Rosh Hashanah buy Yom Kippur, Santa rally, day of the week strategy, Tuesday reverses Monday, turn of the month strategy, FTSE 100/250 monthly switching strategy, FTSE 100/S&P 500 monthly switching strategy (investing in the FTSE 100 in April, July, and December, and in the S&P 500 for the rest of the year is a winner), monthly seasonality of oil, monthly share momentum, quarterly sector strategy, quarterly sector momentum strategy, the low-high price portfolio, and the world’s simplest trading system.

The analysis section looks at market indices, sectors, companies, long term patterns, and interest rate considerations. For instance, under the heading of market indices Eckett discusses such topics as intra-day volatility, first and last trading days of the month, and the Chinese calendar and the S&P 500. As for the last item, the best performing market animals since 1950 have been the goat and the dog. The Chinese year starting February 16, 2018 is the year of the dog, in which the S&P 500 has had an average return of 16.8%. Under the long-term heading he analyzes the correlation between UK and US markets, the ultimate death cross (when the 50-month moving average moves down through the 200-month moving average), and gold.

All in all, this almanac is a treasure trove of seasonal strategies that can be tested out on, and probably tweaked for, any market.

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