# Utility Spread and Financial Turbulence Part 2 with Utility Slope

May 24, 2011
By

(This article was first published on Timely Portfolio, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

THIS IS NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE.  YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN GAINS AND LOSSES.

I did not intend for this to be a two-part series but I just could not be complacent with Utility Spread and Financial Turbulence (for avid readers, there was a small error in this post that is now corrected).  Since the change was so easy and the results so much better, I thought I should share.

In previous posts, I set up a very basic relative strength approach by using the 12 month slope (linear beta) to choose the stronger performer.  The improvements from adding this relative strength technique to my original Great FAJ Article on Statistical Measure of Financial Turbulence system were substantial as seen in Great FAJ Article on Statistical Measure of Financial Turbulence Part 3.  If the technique has helped in the past and I already know how to do the calculation, I figured I should at least try to apply it to the Utility Spread.  Now when turbulence is low, invest in the stronger of the S&P 500 and CRB, but when turbulence is high, use the Utility Spread only if its 12 month slope is positive.  If everything is blowing up (turbulence high) and utilities are not defensive (slope is negative), then use the US 10y Treasury as your last resort.  Lots of rules but they intuitively make sense to me.  Drawdown remains higher than I would like.

 From TimelyPortfolio

R code:

#cleaned up the code to eliminate leftovers from previous posts and studies
#see http://timelyportfolio.blogspot.com for the history and older code

require(quantmod)
require(PerformanceAnalytics)

#get data from St. Louis Federal Reserve (FRED)
getSymbols(“GS20″,src=”FRED”) #load 20yTreasury; 20y has gap 86-93; 30y has gap in early 2000s
getSymbols(“GS30″,src=”FRED”) #load 30yTreasury to fill 20y gap 86-93
#now Dow Jones Indexes
getSymbols(“DJIA”,src=”FRED”) #load daily Dow Jones Industrial
getSymbols(“DJUA”,src=”FRED”) #load daily Dow Jones Utility

#get CRB data from a csv file

#fill 20y gap from discontinued 20y Treasuries with 30y
GS20[“1987-01::1993-09”]<-GS30[“1987-01::1993-09”]

#do a little manipulation to get the data lined up on monthly basis
SP500<-to.monthly(SP500)[,4]
#get monthly format to yyyy-mm-dd with the first day of the month
index(SP500)<-as.Date(index(SP500))
#my CRB data is end of month; could change but more fun to do in R
CRB<-to.monthly(CRB)[,4]
index(CRB)<-as.Date(index(CRB))

#let’s merge all this into one xts object; CRB starts last in 1956
#use ROC for SP500 and CRB and momentum for yield data
assetROC<-na.omit(merge(momentum(assets[,1])/100,ROC(assets[,2:4],type=”discrete”)))

############Turbulence calculation
#get Correlations
corrBondsSp<-runCor(assetROC[,1],assetROC[,2],n=7)
corrBondsCrb<-runCor(assetROC[,1],assetROC[,3],n=7)
corrSpCrb<-runCor(assetROC[,2],assetROC[,3],n=7)
#composite measure of correlations between asset classes and roc-weighted correlations
assetCorr<-(corrBondsSp+corrBondsCrb+corrSpCrb+
(corrBondsSp*corrSpCrb*assetROC[,2])+
(corrBondsCrb*corrSpCrb*assetROC[,3])-
assetROC[,1])/6
#sum of ROCs of asset classes
assetROCSum<-assetROC[,1]+assetROC[,2]+assetROC[,3]
#finally the turbulence measure
turbulence<-abs(assetCorr*assetROCSum*100)
colnames(turbulence)<-“Turbulence-correlation”
############

############System building
#wish I could remember where I got some of this code
#please let me know if you know the source
#so I can give adequate credit

#let’s use basic relative strength to pick sp500 or crb
#know I can do this better in R but here is my ugly code
#to calculate 12 month slope of sp500/crb and djua/djia
width=12
for (i in 1:(NROW(assets)-width)) {
#get sp500/crb slope
model<-lm(assets[i:(i+width),2]/assets[i:(i+width),3]~index(assets[i:(i+width)]))
ifelse(i==1,assetSlope<-model\$coefficients[2],assetSlope<-rbind(assetSlope,model\$coefficients[2]))
#get djua/djia slope; already calculated ratio so just take that
model_util<-lm(assets[i:(i+width),4]~index(assets[i:(i+width)]))
ifelse(i==1,assetSlopeUtil<-model_util\$coefficients[2],assetSlopeUtil<-rbind(assetSlopeUtil,model_util\$coefficients[2]))
}
assetSlope<-xts(cbind(assetSlope),order.by=index(assets)[(width+1):NROW(assets)])
assetSlopeUtil<-xts(cbind(assetSlopeUtil),order.by=index(assets)[(width+1):NROW(assets)])
assetSlope<-merge(assetSlope,assetSlopeUtil)
#use turbulence to determine in or out of equal-weighted sp500 and crb
signal<-ifelse(turbulence>0.8,0,1)

#use slope of sp500/crb to determine sp500 or crb
signal2<-ifelse(assetSlope[,1]>0,1,2)

#lag signals
#if we knew what would happen tomorrow, we can eliminate all this effort
signal<-lag(signal,k=1)
signal[1]<-0
signal2<-lag(signal2,k=1)
signal2[1]<-0

signals_returns<-merge(signal,signal2,assetROC,assetSlope)
#get sp500 or crb return based on slope when turbulence low or use bonds as cash
ret<-ifelse(signals_returns[,2]==1&signals_returns[,1]==1,signals_returns[,4],
ifelse(signals_returns[,2]==2&signals_returns[,1]==1,signals_returns[,5],
signals_returns[,3]))
#get sp500 or crb return based on slope when turbulence low or use utility spread as cash
ret_util<-ifelse(signals_returns[,2]==1&signals_returns[,1]==1,signals_returns[,4],
ifelse(signals_returns[,2]==2&signals_returns[,1]==1,signals_returns[,5],
signals_returns[,6]))
#get sp500 or crb return based on slope when turbulence low or use utility spread
#as cash only if slope positive
ret_util_slope<-ifelse(signals_returns[,2]==1&signals_returns[,1]==1,signals_returns[,4],
ifelse(signals_returns[,2]==2&signals_returns[,1]==1,signals_returns[,5],
ifelse(signals_returns[,8]>0,signals_returns[,6],signals_returns[,3])))
ret_util[1]<-0
ret_util_slope[1]<-0

#get system performance
system_perf_rs<-ret
system_perf_rs_util<-ret_util
system_perf_rs_util_slope<-ret_util_slope

perf_comparison<-merge(system_perf_rs_util_slope,system_perf_rs_util,system_perf_rs,(assetROC[,2]+assetROC[,3])/2,assetROC[,2],assetROC[,3])
colnames(perf_comparison)<-c(“System-with-turbulence-filter and RS-util with slope”,
“System-with-turbulence-filter and RS-util”, “System-with-turbulence-filter and RS-original”,
“Equal-weighted”,”S&P500″,”CRB”)

charts.PerformanceSummary(perf_comparison,ylog=TRUE,
main=”Turbulence-based System with RS and Utility Spread vs Equal-Weighted, CRB, and SP500″,

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