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The Dow Theory: William Peter Hamilton's Track Record Reconsidered

Author

Listed:
  • Stephen J. Brown

    (New York University Stern School of Business,)

  • William N. Goetzmann

    (Yale School of Management)

  • Alok Kumar

    (Yale School of Management)

Abstract

Alfred Cowles' test of the Dow Theory apparently provides strong evidence against the ability of Wall Street's most famous chartist to forecast the stock market. Cowles (1934) analyzes editorials published by the chief exponent of the Dow Theory, William Peter Hamilton. We review Cowles' evidence and find that it supports the contrary conclusion. Hamilton's timing strategies actually yield high Sharpe ratios and positive alphas for the period 1902 to 1929. Neural net modeling to replicate Hamilton's market calls provides interesting insight into the Dow Theory and allows us to examine the properties of the theory itself out of sample. Copyright The American Finance Association 1998.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen J. Brown & William N. Goetzmann & Alok Kumar, 1998. "The Dow Theory: William Peter Hamilton's Track Record Reconsidered," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1311-1333, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:53:y:1998:i:4:p:1311-1333
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Scheinkman, Jose A & LeBaron, Blake, 1989. "Nonlinear Dynamics and Stock Returns," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(3), pages 311-337, July.
    2. Neely, Christopher & Weller, Paul & Dittmar, Rob, 1997. "Is Technical Analysis in the Foreign Exchange Market Profitable? A Genetic Programming Approach," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 405-426, December.
    3. Hsieh, David A, 1991. " Chaos and Nonlinear Dynamics: Application to Financial Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1839-1877, December.
    4. repec:fth:pennfi:70 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Brock, William & Lakonishok, Josef & LeBaron, Blake, 1992. " Simple Technical Trading Rules and the Stochastic Properties of Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1731-1764, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes

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