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A Reality Check on Technical Trading Rule Profits in US Futures Markets

  • Park, Cheol-Ho
  • Irwin, Scott H.

This paper investigates the profitability of technical trading rules in US futures markets over the 1985-2004 period. To account for data snooping biases, we evaluate statistical significance of performance across technical trading rules using White's Bootstrap Reality Check test and Hansen's Superior Predictive Ability test. These methods directly quantify the effect of data snooping by testing the performance of the best rule in the context of the full universe of technical trading rules. Results show that the best rules generate statistically significant economic profits only for two of 17 futures contracts traded in the US. This evidence indicates that technical trading rules generally have not been profitable in US futures markets after correcting for data snooping biases.

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Paper provided by NCR-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management in its series 2005 Conference, April 18-19, 2005, St. Louis, Missouri with number 19039.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ags:ncrfiv:19039
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  1. 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 1731-64, December.
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  4. Sullivan, Ryan & Timmermann, Allan & White, Halbert, 2003. "Forecast evaluation with shared data sets," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 217-227.
  5. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Positive Feedback Investment Strategies and Destabilizing Rational Speculation," Scholarly Articles 27693805, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  7. 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.
  8. Yin-Wong Cheung & Menzie D. Chinn, 2000. "Currency Traders and Exchange Rate Dynamics: A Survey of the U.S. Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 251, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Lovell, Michael C, 1983. "Data Mining," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-12, February.
  10. Peter Hansen, 2003. "Asymptotic Tests of Composite Hypotheses," Working Papers 2003-09, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  11. Lukac, Louis P & Brorsen, B Wade, 1990. "A Comprehensive Test of Futures Market Disequilibrium," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 25(4), pages 593-622, November.
  12. Kidd, Willis V. & Brorsen, B. Wade, 2004. "Why have the returns to technical analysis decreased?," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 159-176.
  13. Dale, Charles & Workman, Rosemarie, 1981. "Measuring patterns of price movements in the Treasury bill futures market," MPRA Paper 48639, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Park, Cheol-Ho & Irwin, Scott H., 2004. "The Profitability of Technical Analysis: A Review," AgMAS Project Research Reports 37487, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
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