Sunday Reads

Below is my weekend investment reading list:


The Reformed Broker:

Ministers Without Portfolio
If You’re Reading This It’s Not Too Late

Don’t forget to check out some of my favorite Finance Sites:


Swedroe: Gurus’ ‘Sure Things’ For 2016
Swedroe: Keep Calm And Step Forward

Above the Market:

The Great Myths of Investing
Here We Go Again: Forecasting Follies 2016

The Irrelevant Investor:

Probably Everything You Need To Know About Bear Markets
What if You Were the World’s Best Market Timer?

Meb Faber:

How to Beat 98% of all Mutual Funds
Institutional Investors, They’re Just Like Us!

Newfound Research:

The Cost of Protection
If You’re Going to Sin, Sin Systematically

Momentum Deterioration, Crashes, and Prospects – Investor’s Field Guide
The Bear Market Playbook – Pragmatic Capitalism
Trend Following In Financial Markets: A Comprehensive Backtest – Philosophical Economics
Things I’m Pretty Sure About – The Motley Fool
What To Do When The Market Punches You In The Mouth – Greenbackd

Dual ETF Momentum Update

Scott’s Investments provides a free “Dual ETF Momentum” spreadsheet which was originally created in February 2013. The strategy was inspired by a paper written by Gary Antonacci and available on Optimal Momentum.  Antonacci’s book, Dual Momentum Investing: An Innovative Strategy for Higher Returns with Lower Risk, also details Dual Momentum as a total portfolio strategy.

My Dual ETF Momentum spreadsheet is available here and the objective is to track four pairs of ETFs and provide an “Invested” signal for the ETF in each pair with the highest relative momentum. Invested signals also require positive absolute momentum, hence the term “Dual Momentum”.

Relative momentum is gauged by the 12 month total returns of each ETF. The 12 month total returns of each ETF is also compared to a short-term Treasury ETF (a “cash” filter) in the form of iShares Barclays 1-3 Treasury Bond ETF (SHY). In order to have an “Invested” signal the ETF with the highest relative strength must also have 12-month total returns greater than the 12-month total returns of SHY. This is the absolute momentum filter which is detailed in depth by Antonacci, and has historically helped increase risk-adjusted returns.

An “average” return signal for each ETF is also available on the spreadsheet. The concept is the same as the 12-month relative momentum. However, the “average” return signal uses the average of the past 3, 6, and 12 (“3/6/12″) month total returns for each ETF. The “invested” signal is based on the ETF with the highest relative momentum for the past 3, 6 and 12 months. The ETF with the highest average relative strength must also have an average 3/6/12 total returns greater than the 3/6/12 total returns of the cash ETF.

Portfolio123 was used to test a similar strategy using the same portfolios and combined momentum score (“3/6/12″).  The test results were posted in the 2013 Year in Review and the January 2015 Update.

Below are the four portfolios along with current signals. “Risk-Off” is the current theme among all four portfolios:

Return Data Provided by Finviz

Dual January

As an added bonus, the spreadsheet also has four additional sheets using a dual momentum strategy with broker specific commission-free ETFs for TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard. It is important to note that each broker may have additional trade restrictions and the terms of their commission-free ETFs could change in the future.

Dividend Champion Portfolio January Update

The High Yield Dividend Champion Portfolio is a publicly tracked stock portfolio on Scott’s Investments.  Its goal is to capture quality high yield stocks with a history of raising dividends.

The screening process for this portfolio starts with the “Dividend Champions” as compiled by DRIP Investing. The list is comprised of stocks that have increased their dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years.

For 2016 I am making one change to the screen methodology in order to further simplify the process. Stocks from the Dividend Champion list were previously ranked on yield, payout ratio, P/E, and 3 year dividend growth rate.

Going forward, stock will be ranked yield, P/E and 3 year dividend growth rate.  Payout ratio will no longer be a factor.  The modification has a relatively low impact to screen results.

Stocks will still be sold on the re-balance date (generally around the 5th of the month) when they drop out of the top 15 (to limit turnover) and are replaced with the next highest rated stock.

The top 15 stocks using the new method  are below and displayed in order of their overall ranking (figures are December month-end):

Name Symbol Yield
Helmerich & Payne Inc. HP 5.14
Questar Corp. STR 4.31
Emerson Electric EMR 3.97
ExxonMobil Corp. XOM 3.75
Chevron Corp. CVX 4.76
Altria Group Inc. MO 3.88
Archer Daniels Midland ADM 3.05
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT 3.2
Universal Health Realty Trust UHT 5.16
HCP Inc. HCP 5.91
Old Republic International ORI 3.97
Consolidated Edison ED 4.05
MDU Resources MDU 4.09
Eagle Financial Services EFSI 3.48
Target Corp. TGT 3.08


There is turnover this month in one position.  Community Trust Bancorp (CTBI) has been a holding since May  2014. It will be sold for a capital gain of 1.9%.

The proceeds will be used to purchase (MO).

The current portfolio is below:

Position Initial Purchase Date Percentage Gain/Loss Excluding Dividends
CVX 12/6/2012 -19.52%
EMR 8/4/2015 -10.13%
ORI 4/4/2014 13.63%
WMT 10/6/2015 -1.02%
ADM 12/7/2015 -2.49%
MO 1/7/2016 0.05%
XOM 4/5/2013 -14.34%
HP 10/6/2014 -46.45%
STR 3/6/2015 -16.23%
TGT 12/7/2015 0.55%


Investment Reads

Below are some investment reads to ring in the first week of 2016:

The Reformed Broker

Are you on a mission?
In 2015 I Learned That…

Meb Faber

Global Stock Market Valuations in 2016
Stock Valuations and Returns in 2015
Top Investment Writing of 2015

The 50 Best Investing Insights of 2015 – Fund Reference

Bah humbug to ridiculous year-end financial advice – The Big Picture

The Best Econ and Finance Research of 2015 – Pragmatic Capitalism

Swedroe: Why Index Investing Wins
Swedroe: Using Factors To Lower Risk
Swedroe: A Perfect Storm For Low Returns
Swedroe: Look Abroad For Higher Returns

Why Does Dual Momentum Outperform? Dual Momentum

A Painful Year for Contrarian Trades – A Wealth of Common Sense

What If You Only Invested In Stocks When They Were Cheap? The Irrelevant Investor

ZIRP, And The Factors That Launched 1,000 ETFs – The Investor’s Field Guide

New Momentum Portfolios

In 2011 Scott’s Investments began tracking a momentum portfolio which ranks a basket of ETFs based on price momentum and volatility.  In 2014 I also introduced a pure momentum system, which ranks the same basket of ETFs based solely on 6 month price momentum. The first portfolio was previously called the “ Portfolio” but going forward it will be called the “Conservative Momentum Portfolio” (or “6/3/3 strategy”) to reflect some changes in the portfolio and tracking methodology for both portfolios detailed below.

Bring Your Portfolio Into The 21st Century
Free Access – Special Report

In previous years the Conservative Momentum Portfolio  began with a static basket of 14 ETFs.  The basket of 14 ETFs will be reduced to 10 ETFs. This change is being made in order to further simplify the portfolio. The 10 ETFs are listed below:

RWX SPDR DJ International Real Estate
PCY PowerShares Emerging Mkts Bond
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets
TIP iShares Barclays TIPS
VTI Vanguard MSCI Total U.S. Stock Market
GLD SPDR Gold Shares
TLT iShares Barclays Long-Term Trsry
SHY iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasry Bnd Fd


The ETFs will still be ranked by 6 month total returns (weighted 40%), 3 month total returns (weighted 30%), and 3 month price volatility (weighted 30%). The top 3 will be purchased  at the beginning of each month and if a holding drops out of the top 3 at the next month’s rebalance it will be replaced. Previously, the portfolio purchased the top 4 ETFs and only sold when a holding dropped out of the top 5. In addition, ETFs previously had to be ranked above the cash-like ETF (SHY) in order to be included in the portfolio. This requirement will be removed, so the top 3 ETFs will be held regardless of proximity to SHY.

The real-time performance of the portfolio is below, which reflects any changes made since inception:


Pure Momentum System

The pure momentum system previously ranked  ETFs based solely on 6 month price momentum.  For 2015 the strategy will now rank ETFs based on 5 month price momentum. There is no cash filter in the pure momentum system, volatility ranking, or requirement to limit turnover. Previously the strategy bought the top 4 ETFs each month – going forward the top 3 ETFs will be purchased. The portfolio and rankings are posted on the same spreadsheet as the 6/3/3 strategy.

The one year performance of the Pure Momentum system is below:

Pure momentum

The portfolio names are dropping “” because the strategy can be tracked on multiple website. is still an excellent choice for tracking and backtesting the strategies detailed. However, a formidable free option for backtesting these strategies has emerged at Portfolio Visualizer.

The current top 3 ETFs are listed below for each strategy (top 3 are the same for both strategies):

PCY PowerShares Emerging Mkts Bond
SHY iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasry Bnd Fd


The current portfolios are below:

Conservative Momentum

Position Shares Purchase Date
PCY 155 11/30/2015
VNQ 53 11/30/2015
SHY 49 12/31/2015


Pure Momentum

Position Shares Purchase Date
PCY 117 8/31/2015
SHY 37 12/31/2015
VNQ 40 10/30/2015


Current signals can be viewed on Scott’s Investments here.

Ivy Portfolio January Update

The Ivy Portfolio spreadsheet track the 10 month moving average signals for two portfolios listed in Mebane Faber’s book The Ivy Portfolio: How to Invest Like the Top Endowments and Avoid Bear Markets. Faber discusses 5, 10, and 20 security portfolios that have trading signals based on long-term moving averages.

The Ivy Portfolio spreadsheet tracks both the 5 and 10 ETF Portfolios listed in Faber’s book. When a security is trading below its 10 month simple moving average, the position is listed as “Cash”. When the security is trading above its 10 month simple moving average the positions is listed as “Invested”.

The spreadsheet’s signals update once daily (typically in the late evening) using dividend/split adjusted closing price from Yahoo Finance. The 10 month simple moving average is based on the most recent 10 months including the current month’s most recent daily closing price.  Even though the signals update daily, it is not an endorsement to check signals daily or trade based on daily updates. It simply gives the spreadsheet more versatility for users to check at his or her convenience.

The page also displays the percentage each ETF within the Ivy 10 and Ivy 5 Portfolio is above or below the current 10 month simple moving average, using both adjusted and unadjusted data. If an ETF has paid a dividend or split within the past 10 months, then when comparing the adjusted/unadjusted data you will see differences in the percent an ETF is above/below the 10 month SMA. This could also potentially impact whether an ETF is above or below its 10 month SMA. Regardless of whether you prefer the adjusted or unadjusted data, it is important to remain consistent in your approach. My preference is to use adjusted data when evaluating signals.

Bring Your Portfolio Into The 21st Century
Free Access – Special Report

The current signals based on December 31st’s adjusted closing prices are below.    This month  (VNQ) is above its moving average and the balance of the ETFs are below their 10 month moving average.

The spreadsheet also provides quarterly, half year, and yearly return data courtesy of Finviz. The return data is useful for those interested in overlaying a momentum strategy with the 10 month SMA strategy:

Ivy December

I also provide a “Commission-Free” Ivy Portfolio spreadsheet as an added bonus. This document tracks the 10 month moving averages for four different portfolios designed for TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Vanguard commission-free ETF offers.

Not all ETFs in each portfolio are commission free, as each broker limits the selection of commission-free ETFs and viable ETFs may not exist in each asset class. Other restrictions and limitations may apply depending on each broker.

Below are the 10 month moving average signals (using adjusted price data) for the commission-free portfolios:

Comm Free1 Comm Free2