Forecasting Ability but No Profitability: an Empirical Evaluation of Genetic Algorithm-Optimized Technical Trading Rules
This paper evaluates the performance of several popular technical trading rules applied to the Australian share market. The optimal trading rule parameter values over the in-sample period of 4/1/82 to 31/12/89 are found using a genetic algorithm. These optimal rules are then evaluated in terms of their forecasting ability and economic profitability during the out-of-sample period from 2/1/90 to the 31/12/97. The results indicate that the optimal rules outperform the benchmark given by a risk-adjusted buy and hold strategy. The rules display some evidence of forecasting ability and profitability over the entire test period. But an examination of the results for the sub-periods indicates that the excess returns decline over time and are negative during the last couple of years. Also, once an adjustment for non-synchronous trading bias is made, the rules display very little, if any, evidence of profitability.
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