A major research study has shown the decided advantage of even the simplest of market timing models over the highly touted buy-and-hold approach to investing in major indexes.
An investor guided by a simple 200 day moving average of the S&P 500 index would have outperformed a buy-and-hold investor in 33 out of 35 forty-year time windows since 1942.
Another major research study, published in Barron's Magazine, showed that an investor in the S&P 500 index who missed the best 5 market days of every year since 1966 would have seen an investment of $1,000 dwindle to just $100. However, that same investor who was able to avoid the 5 WORST days of the year would have seen that initial $1,000 in 1966 grow to over $987,129!
Avoiding the worst trading days of the year is exactly what market timing is designed to do. In fact even the most basic of market timing models will probably keep the investor in more of those good days as well while filtering out most of the bad days every year. Again, these return examples are for the S&P 500 index (or the TSP C Fund). Keep in mind that the S (small cap) and I (international) TSP stock funds respond FAR better to timing models than does the C (S&P 500) Fund, although the history for those newer funds is shorter.
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