New pro subscription

Dec 04, 2017

We have just introduced a new subscription package for investing professionals.

Based on feedback and requests the we've received from advisors and portfolio managers, the new pro subscription adds the following functionality to the regular subscription.:


  • All Moving Average, Channel, Ratio and Relative Strength portfolio strategies can be backtested from Dec 31, 1999
  • Buy Top limit on all Relative Strength backtests raised to 20
  • Number of favorite backtest settings to Save / Load increased to 20 per backtest
  • Advanced Relative Strength Pro backtest:  test investing the strongest ETFs from up to 4 separate portfolios
  • Annual fee deduction option on Core-Satellite and Adv RS Pro backtests


Subscribers that would like to upgrade to this new package can do so by going to My Account > Subscription Settings > Upgrade to Pro

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Current 10-Month Relative Strength Themes From The Ameritrade List of Zero-Commission ETFs

Nov 10, 2017 in Relative Strength Follow us on Follow etfreplay on Twitter


Short-Sell Backtesting with ETFs

Nov 02, 2017 in Backtest | Short Selling | VIX | Volatility

 If you would like to test Short-Selling on ETFreplay, use the versatile app called Rel Str - Combine Portfolios.

You can test going short the top or bottom ranking securities in a list.


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Chinese ETF Calendar Year Returns & Drawdowns

Oct 17, 2017 in Drawdown


Link to ETFreplay Subscriber Tool: ETF Calendar Year Max Drawdowns


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A Backtest Example For Inspiration: EFA vs QQQ regime

Oct 06, 2017 in Regime Change

This backtest defines a Regime by comparing the performance of EFA and QQQ, two standard ETFs with plenty of market cap. The backtest then decides to allocate to EFA or QQQ depending on which Regime is in place. SPY is held in either case as a core position:


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Gold ETF: GLD in its 74th Month of Drawdown

Oct 03, 2017 in Drawdown | Gold Follow us on Follow etfreplay on Twitter


Tracking A Robo Portfolio For YTD Performance Through the End of Q3 2017

Oct 02, 2017 in Robo

 YTD Performance for a major Robo portfolio that we entered into our Imported Backtests Module which will track any ETF portfolio you would like to track.  

We separately calculated the CONTRIBUTION of each of the major holdings.  While each account at a robo will show slightly different performance, the 13-F filings are a good way to have a non cherry-picked aggregate example.  Note that advisor fees that are on top of fund-level fees are excluded. 

 PDF download:  2017_0929_RoboB_Update_p.pdf (203.15 kb)

[Link to the tool in this blog (members): ETFreplay Imported Backtests Module ]

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Low Drawdowns and High Returns. 2017 thus far has been investment nirvana.

Sep 27, 2017 in Drawdown

[Link to the tool in this blog (members): ETF Max Drawdown ]

Over the past ~15 years, the bond market has generally had positive single-digit returns and also single-digit calendar year drawdowns.  As the gentlemens asset class, bond ETFs generally don't have the anguish associated with the big drawdowns of many equity ETFs.

For a reference point, below is a snapshot of Calendar Year returns and drawdowns for LQD, an investment grade bond ETF:


What is remarkable about this year is the combination of high returns with extremely low drawdown in some traditionally high-vol, high-drawdown segments - such as emerging markets.   2017's max drawdown for emerging markets has actually been less than most BOND market years.



+27% YTD total return near the end of the 3rd quarter of 2017 vs just -3.5% drawdown.   Obviously, strong return and Low volatility leads to high rankings in our Relative Strength models.  Uptrends can have some violent short-lived corrections but investors can manage such volatility by tilting their portfolios away from the weakest segments.


[Link to the tool in this blog (members): ETF Max Drawdown ]

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Does an ETF track its underlying index by its price?

Sep 11, 2017 in Total Return


Does the ETF market price track the ETF's underlying index?

No.    You must calculate the Total Return and use that resulting data series for accurate backtesting signals.


ETFs as you may be aware are designed to track an index.  In order to have the ETF track the index in terms of a backtest, you need to re-vinvest the dividends and distributions paid.   An 'index' of course doesn't make distributions since it is not an actual investment product.  So the 'index price' actively builds the dividends back into the calculation of the index value (price).   But ETFs don't do this, they must pay out distributions by SEC law.   
Thus, only the CALCULATED total return data series can represent the INDEX PRICE (the ETF PRICE does not).   If you just used the ETF price, you will get inaccurate signals.  You can observe the difference between the price return and total return in our Total Return vs Price Return module.

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ETF Market Generated Information Is The Best Information: A look back at 2016 Election

Aug 29, 2017

Let's look back to 2016 and the market environment in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election.   What were the market conditions telling you?

Is the market moving TOWARD higher-beta, risky, higher-return-but-more-volatile assets?   Or is it moving AWAY from those and into lower volatility, lower risk, safer assets?  This is what actually matters.

If you take a snapshot of the market 3 months prior to the election, you can see various risky assets in 'Reverse Up' position.   That is, their 6-month returns were up while the previous 6 months had been down.   We can view this on our  ETF Trend Quadrants module (located on the ETF Tools page):

Here is the position 1 month prior to Election Day.  Note ETFs here are moving to the right.  This represents money flows IN.

And then we align 2 browser windows to show Election Day and 1 month after.

Let's also cross-reference this thesis by looking at the credit markets,  High-yield bonds vs Treasuries in ratio moving average form:

From 2014 into early 2016, high-yield bonds had under-performed treasuries materially.  But a sharp V-spike reversal occurred in this ratio in early 2016.  It was not unreasonable to think a new period of risk-on was possible if not likely given the 2014-16 relative drawdown.

The point of all this is NOT that these ETFs predicted the election.  They didn't.   The point is that the market conditions were bullish and this was visible in looking at the many intra-market relationships via ETFs.  Sometimes the markets will whipsaw around in a tricky trading range -- but often times the markets follow the flows and 2016-17 is a real nice example of this. 

Our Twitter feed on November 9, 2016 made this point as well:


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