The chart below plots the results of fading the unbounded DV-2 statistic for the SPY over the last 250 trading days versus the VIX. The hypothetical equity curve represents frictionless, additive returns. Although the tested results yielded nearly a 120% return, I wish to emphasize that this is not a trading system in and of itself. Although with raw returns like that -- it may certainly be the basis of one!
As shown, last year ended up being terrific for mean reversion methods, particularly when volatility was near its peak. By the same token, even if it feels otherwise, the recent 9% draw-down from peak equity is not without precedent in either magnitude or duration (see yellow bands).
While clearly the "trend has been your friend" of late and cycle periodicities have arguably shifted, it's far too early to pronounce mean reversion dead! Also, I would suggest that the aforementioned losses could have been materially reduced by ignoring or even reversing signals during extreme market environments as measured by a variety of metrics.
This is a high level post, but I thought I'd take it one level deeper by searching for any particular sector source of the SPY's raw performance trading the DV. Looking across twelve major sectors below, my only conclusion is that the breadth of the S&P500 is what give it its edge as rotation among sectors keeps the the index more or less centered through time.
In fact, only Real Estate (IYR) significantly outperformed the SPY, while Consumer Discretionary stocks (XLY) showed no measurable edge on a raw basis whatsoever (though I imagine the savvy mechanical trader may have ideas to improve on that).
Here are several added take aways that I wish to emphasize from this post:
- Know what environment you are trading in (reverting/ trending/ break-out);
- Trading methods themselves revert (nice addition by David V.);
- Track your methodology's equity curve like it was a stock (even when you aren't trading it); and,
- Make sure you are trading the correct vehicle(s) for your method (see dispersion above).
PS - Welcome to the Blogosphere CSS Analytics!