An Intermarket Approach to Tactical Risk Rotation: Using the Signaling Power of Treasuries to Generate Alpha and Enhance Asset Allocation
2014 Wagner Award, 3rd Place
19 Pages Posted: 1 May 2014 Last revised: 3 Dec 2019
Date Written: February 28, 2014
Numerous academic studies have shown that asset allocation is the single most important determinant of portfolio returns. We accept this premise but note that an optimal asset allocation strategy must still be determined based on dynamic conditions. Using the principles of intermarket analysis and the relationship between the total return of the 10-year Treasury and the 30-year Treasury, we develop one such strategy. We find that an active strategy that uses the signaling power of these Treasury bonds to position into either the stock market or Treasuries can be used to outperform a buy and hold stock portfolio on an absolute and risk-adjusted basis. We also find that the signaling power of Treasuries can be used to enhance asset allocation decisions and traditional rebalancing. The predictive behavior of Treasuries on equities is a market anomaly that has persisted over time, and has served as an anticipatory gauge of expansionary or contractionary conditions which favor stocks or bonds. Contrary to the Efficient Market Hypothesis, the information provided by relative total return Treasury movement does not appear to be priced in immediately by broad stock market averages, and therefore may be exploitable for active traders and tactical asset allocators.
Keywords: Intermarket Analysis, Stocks, Tactical Risk, Trading, Market, Momentum, Rotation, Volatility, Bonds, Fixed Income, Treasuries, Equities, Rebalancing, Quantitative, Efficient Markets, Hedge, Asset Allocation
JEL Classification: C00, C10, C50, G00, G11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation