In this article I describe a long-term stock index trading strategy. I then show how the strategy performed on the S&P 500 index. The strategy was inspired by the Zig-Zag indicator and is based on the closing daily price.
The Zig-Zag Indicator
The Zig-Zag indicator looks great on a chart. In the image here it picks out the highs and lows as the S&P500 advances in 2009-2013. It can be calibrated to make it more or less sensitive. If the indicator is set to 10%, it will only change when the price has moved at least 10% in the opposite direction to the existing trend. However, for most traders the Zig-Zag indicator is not very useful. This is because it can only be calculated by looking at past data. Each turning point can only be shown once the underlying market has retraced by the percentage deviation. The indicator is useful for people looking at market wave theories but it is not possible to trade the moves shown on the image above.
The Stock Index Trading Stratey
I wanted to look at what an actual trading strategy would look like if it used the same principles as the Zig-Zag indicator. This trading strategy should be long-term and it should ignore small moves in the opposite direction.
Trading Strategy Rules
If Long and the closing price retraces more than a variable percentage, then close the Long position and open a Short position.
If Short and the closing price retraces more than a variable percentage, then close the Short position and open a Long position.
The strategy was tested on the S&P 500 index from 2000-2014. The strategy started off with $100,000 of capital and used no leverage. The strategy was tested using 10% deviation.
Gross Winning Trades
Gross Losing Trades
Largest Winning Trade
Largest Losing Trade
The charts below show how the strategy performed relative to the underlying index. It can be seen from the charts that the strategy comfortably outperformed the underlying market. The strategy was more profitable and had smaller drawdowns.
In the video below I provide some more information about the trading strategy and highlight how changing variables can affect the profitability of the strategy.
In this article I show how you can use Excel to test your own stock…
My name is Mark Ursell, and I am an individual trader and investor. I am continually working on developing new trading strategies and improving my existing strategies. I have developed a series of Excel backtest models, and you can learn more about them on this site.