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The Easy Strategy


There is an Easy Strategy for trading an S&P 500 Index fund that is likely to outperform the Buy&Hold strategy for the fund.


Finding the best strategy

The Easy Strategy derives its timing from the January Barometer. If the S&P 500 Index declines in January, reduce risk by selling out on the first trading day before April 19. Suspend investment until the first trading day before October 11 and then reinvest the proceeds.

The Buy&Hold and Easy Strategies were compared. The columns labeled Buy&Hold are the closing prices for the S&P500 Index. The Easy Strategy clearly outperformed:

easy

Use the Easy Strategy for S&P 500 Index funds. The signals page recommends a 30 box threshold for real estate funds and stocks, but a 30-box threshold for the S&P 500 Index has historically underperformed the Easy Strategy:

SP500 reversals

The S&P 500 Index is adequately diversified, even though it excludes foreign companies. A security that emulates the S&P 500 Index can be your sole stock market investment.

In 2016 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that emulated the S&P 500 Index included SPY by State Street, IVV by iShares, and VOO by Vanguard. All had low expenses.

If your account is a 401k or a Roth 401k, it probably will not offer ETFs. If so, use a mutual fund that emulates the S&P 500 Index.

Buying and selling

The best time to buy is the first trading day before the 26th, except before the 16th in December. The best time to sell is the first trading day before the 7th (timing).

Invest on the optimum buying day when not in a defensive period, except forego the March purchase ahead of a defensive period because all holdings will be sold in April. See the tranche table (buy) to determine the amount to buy.

Options versus shares

In 2016 SPY had LEAPs (long-term options) but IVV and VOO did not. The LEAPs have unusually low premium ratios (tests), making them preferable to shares.

If your account will allow call option purchases, buy LEAPs just out of the money in the most distant January series. Covered call writers tend to make this strike relatively more active, so more likely to produce favorable execution.

When an option nears expiration, sell on the first trading day before January 7. Reinvest the proceeds. To ensure you will not create a wash sale, postpone reinvestment until February.

Reducing taxes

In a Regular brokerage account, you can sell investments showing paper losses to establish tax losses. Selling will not establish tax losses in any kind of individual retirement account.

Sell on the first trading day before September 7. Reinvest the proceeds. To ensure you will not create a wash sale, postpone reinvestment until October.

Selling in September is advantageous. You will have reduced your investment exposure during the weakest part of September, which is the weakest month of the year (timing).