Efficient Market Theorists in Hiding

…according to Bespoke Investment Group.  In a recent article, they discussed the amazing volatility the market has exhibited lately:

…the S&P 500 has averaged a daily hi/lo spread of 5.33% over the last five trading days. It’s been a truly remarkable trading period, and efficient market theorists are currently in hiding.

Source: Bespoke

You can look at the volatility in a couple of ways.

First, I think it shows how important it is to try to distinguish the underlying trend from the noise.  When markets get very choppy like this, you’ve got to have an intermediate to long-term model.  Otherwise you just get whipsawed to death.

Second, as Bespoke remarks, if the market were actually efficient it wouldn’t whip around nearly this much.  The underlying value of the companies is obviously not changing nearly as rapidly as the market price.  What’s going on is pure psychology—market participants trying to handicap supply and demand.

Strategic asset allocation relies on assumptions for returns, correlations, and volatility to generate the optimal pie chart.  If you’re just a little off on some of the factors, your allocation can be way, way off.  It’s safe to say that a few volatility estimates might have been revised over the past couple of days.

In contrast, tactical asset allocation driven by relative strength does not make any assumptions about returns, correlations, or volatility.  It just tries to stay with the strongest trends at any given time.  Simple, and effective too.

One Response to Efficient Market Theorists in Hiding

  1. SD Asset manager says:

    Effective? perhaps if you fellows should stop writing long enough you may notice your performance! you are down 10 to 20% is that effective?