Do the odds favour a rebound in equities? Do the odds favour a rebound in equities? Do the odds favour a rebound in equities?

Do the odds favour a rebound in equities?

PG
Peter Garnry

Head of Equity Strategy

Summary:  Going back to 1987 individual investors have only been this bearish in less than 2% of the time. Extreme pessimism is often a good starting point for being contrarian and betting on a rebound. In today's equity note we test whether history has shown that it is a good idea to bet on being long equities when bearishness is dominating market sentiment among individual investors.


Extreme pessimism is often fuel for a good rebound

The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) asks their members every about their sentiment using the question ”I fell that the direction of the stock market over the next 6 months will be”. From these answers AAII compute the percentage of their members that answered this question in terms of bullish, neutral, or bearish. The spread between the percentages being bullish vs bearish declined today to -35.2% which is an extremely negative reading only observed in less than 2% of the time. The question is whether this statistics have any information value for traders and investors. While the question is examining expectation over a 6-month horizon, it is more interesting to observe whether it has any predictive power over a shorter time horizon.

AAII Bullish minus Bearish reading | Source: Bloomberg

First we identify all the weeks when the bull-bear spread has been lower than -30, which is 37 times since 1987. Three of these observations have been within the last 12 weeks. In our analysis we then calculate the forward 1, 4, 8, and 12-week return going long the S&P 500 Index if the spread is below -30. The table below shows the excess return over S&P 500 on such a strategy which is done by subtracting the average S&P 500 return since 1987 for these different time horizons. If a signal has any informational value then it should be able to beat the passive returns by just being invested in US equities.

The average excess return in percentage is -0.11% for the 1-week holding period but then jumps to 1.33% for the 4-week horizon and 1.29% and 1.49% for the 8-week and 12-week holding period respectively. This looks good at first sight, but the average always comes with variance and if we apply a standard t-test on the samples of each holding period scenario then we see that the probability of these different samples being statistically significant from zero excess return is not very high. The best test statistic is for the 4-week holding period at t = 1.28 which correspond to a p-value of 0.21, which is not statistically significant under normal circumstances. In a low signal-to-noise process such as the equity market the question is whether the odds are good enough to bet on. The confidence interval is -0.79% to 3.46% after all, so we let each trader decide for himself whether the odds are stacked in favour of a rebound. One should note that many of the most bearish readings are clustered in time which means that the 34 observations that we are calculating our statistics on are not truly independent and thus the statistical significance is weaker than the numbers displayed below suggest.

Outside the world of statistics, yesterday’s price action felt technical across both bond and equities as there was no real news driving the move. It seems the market might be positioning itself differently ahead of the important US CPI print on Tuesday where a lower than estimated inflation figure could ignite a short-term rally equities. These considerations are worth melting into the decision process of whether this is a good time to go long again.

Table over excess returns | Source: Saxo Group
Average excess return over different time horizons | Source: Saxo Group
T-tests over each time horizon | Source: Saxo Group
Disclaimer

The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website is not intended to and does not change or expand on this. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
- Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (https://www.home.saxo/legal/niird/notification)
- Full disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/en-hk/legal/disclaimer/saxo-disclaimer)

Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited
19th Floor
Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower
12 Queen’s Road Central
Hong Kong

Contact Saxo

Select region

Hong Kong S.A.R
Hong Kong S.A.R

Saxo Capital Markets HK is a company authorised and regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited holds a Type 1 Regulated Activity (Dealing in securities); Type 2 Regulated Activity (Dealing in Futures Contract); Type 3 Regulated Activity (Leveraged foreign exchange trading); Type 4 Regulated Activity (Advising on securities) and Type 9 Regulated Activity (Asset Management) licenses (CE No. AVD061). Registered address: 19th Floor, Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower, 12 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

By clicking on certain links on this site, you are aware and agree to leave the website of Saxo Capital Markets, proceed on to the linked site managed by Saxo Group and where you will be subject to the terms of that linked site.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. AppStore is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Please note that the information on this site and any product and services we offer are not targeted at investors residing in the United States and Japan, and are not intended for distribution to, or use by any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation. Please click here to view our full disclaimer.