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Pereira (2000) Motivation Experimental Design Performance Evaluation Experimental Results Structured Investments Group County Investment Management Level 19, 255 George Street Sydney NSW 2000 Motivation

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Pereira 2000 l.jpg
Pereira (2000)

  • Motivation

  • Experimental Design

  • Performance Evaluation

  • Experimental Results

Structured Investments Group

County Investment Management

Level 19, 255 George Street

Sydney NSW 2000

Motivation l.jpg

  • The majority of the studies examining trading rules chose both the rules and their parameter values arbitrarily.

  • However this approach leaves these studies open to the criticisms of data-snooping and the possibility of a survivorship bias.

Methodology l.jpg

  • By choosing trading rules based on an optimization procedure utilizing in-sample data and testing the performance of these rules out-of-sample, this bias can be avoided or at least reduced.

Purpose l.jpg

  • In this paper the forecasting ability and economic profitability of some popular technical trading rules applied to the Australian share market are investigated using a standard genetic algorithm optimization procedure.

Purpose5 l.jpg

  • The genetic algorithm can be used to search for the optimal parameter values for the GMA and GOS trading rules.

Data snooping l.jpg
Data Snooping

  • Lo A.W., and A.G.MacKinley (1990), ``Data Snooping Biases in Tests of Financial Asset Pricing Models,’’ The Review of Financial Studies, Vol. 3, pp. 431--467.

Survivorship bias l.jpg
Survivorship Bias

  • Brown S., W. Goetzmann, and S. Ross (1995), ``Survival,’’ Journal of Finance, Vol. 50, pp. 853--873.

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Experimental Design

  • Encoding a Trading Rule

  • Fitness Function

  • Genetic Operation

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Encoding a Trading Rule

  • A GMA Rule

  • A GOS Rule

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Encoding the GMA Rule

  • Potential solutions to the problem of optimization of the parameters of the GMA rule

    can be represented by the vector

Meaning of and l.jpg
Meaning of and

  • The periodicity of the two MAs have a range defined by


    where represents the maximum length of the moving average.

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Meaning of

  • The filter parameter has a range given by

    where represents the maximum filter


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Parameters Setting

  • For this study =250 days and =100 basis points.

  • These limiting values are consistent with what is used in practice.

  • Also, results from a preliminary investigation, indicated that higher parameter values generally produced losses.

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Number of Bits Used

  • In order to satisfy the limiting values given above, the binary representations for and

    are each given by a vector consisting of eight elements.

  • For the filter parameter ( ) a seven bit vector is required.

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A GMA Rule

  • Therefore, the binary representation for the GMA rule can be defined by a row vector consisting of twenty three elements stated as

  • ( ): 8 bits

  • ( ): 8 bits

  • ( ): 7 bits

23 bits

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Encoding the GOS Rule

  • For the GOS rule,

    candidates can be represented by the vector

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Meaning of

  • The parameter on the channel rule represents the number of the most recent historical observations used to calculate either the maximum or minimum price.

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Parameter Setting

  • The parameter is restricted to the values

  • The range for is given by basis points.

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A GOS Rule

  • The binary representations for the order statistics based rule can be defined by a row vector consisting of twenty elements stated as

    ( ): 8 bits

    ( ): 10 bits

    ( ): 1 bit

    ( ): 1 bit

20 bits

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Fitness Function

  • Each candidate's performance can be assessed in terms of this objective function, which can take numerous forms depending upon specific investor preferences.

  • Given that individuals are generally risk averse, performance should be defined in terms of both riskand return.

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Modified Sharpe Ratio

  • The Sharpe ratio is given by

    where is the average annualized trading rule return, is the standard deviation of daily trading rule returns, while Y is equal to the number of trading days per year.

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Modified Sharpe Ratio

  • This formulation is actually a modified version of the original Sharpe ratio which uses average excess returns, defined as the difference between average market return and the risk-free rate.

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Trading Rule



``In’’ the Market

``Out of’’ the Market

Market Rate of Return

Risk-Free Rate

of Return


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  • Thus the trading rule return over the entire period of 0 to N can be calculated as


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Transaction Costs

  • An adjustment for transaction costs is given by the last term which consists of the product of the cost per transaction (tc) and the number of transactions (T).

  • Transaction costs of 0.2 percent per trade are considered for the in-sample optimization of the trading rules.

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Genetic Operation

  • Selection Method: Ranking-Based Procedure

  • Crossover Style: One Point Crossover

  • Parameter Settings:

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Ranking-Based Selection

  • In the genetic algorithm developed in this paper a copy of the best candidate replaces the worst candidate.

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Performance Evaluation

  • Profitability

  • Directional Predictability

  • Bootstrap

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Measure for Trading Rule Performance

  • Some Difficulties

  • Measure 1

  • Measure 2

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Some Difficulties

  • The true profitability of technical trading rules is hard to measure given the difficulties in properly accounting for the risks and costs associated with trading.

  • Benchmark

Costs l.jpg

  • Trading costs include not only transaction costs and taxes, but also hidden costs involved in the collection and analysis of information.

    • Institutional Traders vs. Individual Traders

    • The Break-Even Cost

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Institutional Traders’ Costs

  • According to Sweeney (1988), large institutional investors are able to achieve one-way transaction costs in the range of 0.1 to 0.2 percent.

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Sweeney (1988)

  • Sweeney R. J. (1988), ``Some New Filter Rule Tests: Methods and Results,’’ Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Vol. 23, pp. 285--301.

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The Break-Even Transaction Cost

  • This is the level of transaction costs which offsets trading rule revenue with costs, leading to zero trading profits.

  • See Bessembinder and Chan (1995).

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Bessembinder and Chan (1995)

  • Bessembinder H., and K. Chan (1995), ``The Profitability of Technical Trading Rules in the Asian Stock Markets,’’. Pacific Basin Finance Journal, Vol. 3 , pp. 257--284

Benchmark l.jpg

  • To evaluate trading rule profitability, it is necessary to compare trading rule returns to an appropriate benchmark.

  • Since the trading rules considered in this paper restrict short selling, they do not always lead to a position being held in the market and therefore are less risky than a passive buy and hold benchmark strategy, which always holds a long position in the market.

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Weighted Average as A Benchmark

  • Therefore, the appropriate benchmark is constructed by taking a weighted average of the return from being long in the market and the return from holding no position in the market and thus earning the risk free rate of return.

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Risk-Adjusted Buy and Hold Strategy

  • The return on this risk-adjusted buy and hold strategy can be written as

  • where is the proportion of trading days that the rule is out of the market.

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A Portfolio of ``In’’ and ``Out’’

  • This return represents the expected return from investing in both the risk-free asset and the market according to the weights and (1- ) respectively.

  • There is also an adjustment for transaction costs incurred due to purchasing the market portfolio on the first trading day and selling it on the last day of trading.

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Measure 1: Excess Returns

  • Therefore, trading rule performance relative to the benchmark can be measured by excess returns

  • where r represents the total return for a particular trading rule calculated from

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Measure 2: Sharpe Ratio

  • Since investors and traders also care about the risk incurred in deriving these returns, a Sharpe ratio based on excess returns can be calculated using Equation

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Directional Predictability

  • To investigate the statistical significance of the forecasting power of the buy and sell signals, traditional t tests can be employed to examine whether the trading rules issue buy (or sell) signals on days when the return on the market is on average higher (or lower) than the unconditional mean return for the market.

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Test Statistics

  • T-test for Buy (Sell) Signal

  • T-test for the Difference between Buy and Sell Signals

  • Cumby-Modest Test

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Test Statistic (Buy)

  • The t-statistic used to test the predictive ability of the buy signals is

    where represents the average daily return following a buy signal and is the number of days that the trading rule returns a buy signal.

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Null and Alternative Hypothesis

  • The null and alternative hypotheses can be stated as

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Test Statistic (Buy and Sell)

  • To test whether the difference between the mean return on the market following a buy signal and the mean return on the market following a sell signal is statistically significant, a t-test can be specified as

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The Null and Alternative Hypothesis

  • The null and alternative hypotheses are

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Cumby-Modest Test

  • Cumby and Modest (1987) suggested a test based on the following regression

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Cumby and Modest (1987)

  • Cumby R. E., and D. M. Modest (1987), ``Testing for Market Timing Ability: A Framework for Forecast Evaluation,’’ Journal of Financial Economics, Vol. 19, pp. 169--189.

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Experimental Results

  • Data

  • Results

Slide51 l.jpg

  • Data Description

  • Data Split

  • Basic Statistics

Data description l.jpg
Data Description

  • The Daily Closing All Ordinaries Accumulation index

  • The Daily 90 day Reserve Bank of Australia Bill Dealer Rate.

  • Period: 4/1/1982 to 31/12/97 (4065 observations)

  • Source: the Equinet Pty Ltd data base.

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Data Split:

  • In-sample optimization period:

    • from 4/1/1982 to 31/12/89

  • Out-of-sample test period

    • from 2/1/1990 to 31/12/97.

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Basic Statistics

  • Table 2 provides summary statistics for the continuously compounded daily returns ( ) on the All Ordinaries index.

  • Significant first-order serial correlation in share indices is a well known stylized fact due to the inclusion of thinly-traded small shares in share market indices.

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Basic Statistics

  • This result is not surprising given that the All Ordinaries Accumulation index is comprised of over 300 shares, which includes a significant amount of small shares.

  • There also appears to be significant higher order serial correlation as indicated by the heteroscedasticity-adjusted Box-Pierce Q statistic (ABP).

Results l.jpg

  • In-Sample Period

  • Out-of-Sample Period

    • Economic Profitability

    • Predictive Ability

    • Bootstrap

  • Non-Synchronous Trading Bias

In sample period l.jpg
In-Sample Period

  • The GA-optimal parameter values for the trading rules found during the in-sample period based on transaction costs of 10 basis points are reported in Table 3.

  • The returns and the Sharpe ratios are high, even compared to the buy and hold return of 18.79 percent per annum and the corresponding Sharpe ratio of 0.86 percent per unit of standard deviation.

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In-Sample Period

  • The best GMA rule can be described as a 14 day MA rule with a 64 basis point filter, while the best GOS rule can be described as a 9 day channel rule with a 21 basis point filter.

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Table Description

  • The Sharpe ratio (SR) is calculated as the ratio of annualised returns ( ) to standard deviation.

  • The number of times the best rule was found in 10 trials (No.) is given in the fifth column.

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Table Description

  • The average number of iterations completed until the best rule was found (Best after) is reported in column 8..

  • The average number of iterations completed for one trial (No. of iters) is reported in the second last column.

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Economic Profitability

  • The out-of-sample performance statistics are reported in Table 4.

  • In terms of maximum drawdown, both rules are much less risky than the buy and hold, which has a maximum drawdown of -69 percent.

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Economic Profitability

  • The robustness of the results is investigated across different non-overlapping sub-periods.

  • A sub-period analysis of the performance results, show that this good performance deteriorates over time.

  • In the last couple of years neither rule is able to outperform the benchmark.

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Table Description

  • The break-even level of transaction cost is given by .

  • Trading frequency is measured by the average number of trades per year.

  • represents the proportion of trades that yield positive excess returns.

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Table Description

  • The average excess return on winning and losing trades is given by and respectively.

  • The maximum drawdown represents the largest drop in cumulative excess returns.

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Predictive Ability

  • The results for the predictive ability of the trading rules are reported in Table 5.

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Cumby-Modest Test

  • Both rules display some evidence of significant predictive ability as indicated by the t-statistics in the second last column of Table 5.

  • This result is confirmed by the final column in the table which reports the t-statistic based on the Cumby-Modest market timing test.

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T test and Volatility

  • However, individually the buy and sell signals do not seem to have any significant predictive ability.

  • All the rules issue buy (or sell) signals when the excess returns on the market are on average less (or more) volatile as indicated by the volatility of returns following buy ( ) and sell ( ) signals respectively.

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Sub-Period Analysis

  • A sub-period analysis of these results indicates that the difference between the average return following buy signals and the average return following sell is no longer significant.

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  • The bootstrap approach is applied to both the trading rule performance and predictive ability results.

  • The simulated p-values for the various measures of performance and predictive ability are given in Table 6.

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Non-Synchronous Trading Bias evidence that the rules have significant better forecasting power and profitability in the original series than in the bootstrap series which the return series are generated by a random walk process.

  • It is important to evaluate the sensitivity of the results to the significant persistence in returns, which are reported in Table 2.

  • Since the existence of thinly traded shares in the index can introduce a non-synchronous trading bias or return measurement error.

  • These returns might not be exploitable in practice.

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Trade with A Delay evidence that the rules have significant better forecasting power and profitability in the original series than in the bootstrap series which the return series are generated by a random walk process.

  • To investigate this issue, the performance of the trading rules is simulated based on trades occurring with a delay of one day.

  • This should remove any first order autocorrelation bias due to non-synchronous trading.

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Results evidence that the rules have significant better forecasting power and profitability in the original series than in the bootstrap series which the return series are generated by a random walk process.

  • As can be seen from Table 7, the rules are still profitable over the out-of-sample test period, although there has been a substantial reduction in performance.

  • Furthermore, there appears to be weak, if any, evidence of predictive ability.

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Break-Even Transaction Costs evidence that the rules have significant better forecasting power and profitability in the original series than in the bootstrap series which the return series are generated by a random walk process.

  • The break-even transaction costs have been reduced to approximately 0.25 percent per trade.

  • This probably lower than the costs faced by most financial institutions.

  • Thus, there does not appear to be sufficient evidence to conclude that the trading rules are economically profitable.

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Stamp Duty Costs and Taxes evidence that the rules have significant better forecasting power and profitability in the original series than in the bootstrap series which the return series are generated by a random walk process.

  • Since stamp duty and taxes are also incurred on all trades, which have been ignored in this evaluation of trading rule performance.

  • Stamp duty costs per trade in Australia are currently 0.15 percent.

  • Taxation costs vary across institutions and different individuals.

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Liquidity Costs evidence that the rules have significant better forecasting power and profitability in the original series than in the bootstrap series which the return series are generated by a random walk process.

  • Also during volatile periods liquidity costs, as reflected by the bid-ask spread, could increase substantially.

  • Even for large shares this increase could be in the order of 0.5 to 1 percent.