Trading Bear Volatile Regime

bear markets market regime strategy vbo Feb 15, 2021

What a day huh? Today's market action is characteristic of the transition between Bear Volatile and Bear Quiet regimes. It gets tricky in here as optimism starts to kick in as we rally from the depths of hell back to where we are now.   

Bears are nervous and are covering their shorts or waiting to cover their shorts, bulls who got punched in the throat last month and sold at the first bounce are starting to wonder if they did the right thing and start buying. This is what fuels bear market rallies, the most violent of all rallies.   

As you know we aren't here to call bottoms or tops, we let the market regimes guid us. What works in a Bull Quiet regime doesn't work in a lot of other regimes and what worked in Bear Volatile doesn't work as well in a Bear Quiet and vice versa.   

As part of the mentorship program I am running currently, AKA the Trading Thunderdome, we are doing extensive work on finding characteristics of the different market regimes and corresponding strategies to perform in the different regimes.   

In order to get accepted into the Trading Thunderdome program you need to have completed the Systems Building Course to ensure that you have the proper tools and skills to benefit from the course.

We will be running these programs throughout the year, so if you are interested in doing the intense work to become a successful trader, get that course. It's 1/2 off right now!  

Grant, who is currently in the program did some great work on finding a system that performs quite well in a Bear volatile regime.   He settled on the ES (S&P 500 Emini) using the Vol Breakout Short only strategy on 60 minute charts, however lower time frames are equally as good.  

And here's Grant to show you what he discovered...  

Hi Traders,

Grant again, one of these days we will do a more formal introduction. However, right now we are going to discuss the how the Volatility Breakout performed on an hourly chart during the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-2009. We will be working through the process of improving this system so that all of you out there will understand how to test systems or ideas.  

So, let’s get started.  

What is a Volatility Breakout or VBO for short? This is a setup where the Bollinger Bands are within the Keltner Channel signaling a low volatility regime. One of our beliefs is that volatility moves in cycles from low to high volatility and back again. Therefore, we want to see a price breakout above or below both the Bollinger Bands and Keltner Channels. When that bar closes, we place a buy or sell stop above or below the breakout bar. This is a trend-following strategy so we would expect a lower win rate to the FVBO system. However, in certain regime we see the VBO strategy shine. Specifically, the bear volatile regime.  

Backtest Notes

1) 12/13/2007 – 3/6/2009

2) We only took Short VBO Trades

3) All stops were based on the bar close

4) 20-Day EMA Trailing Stop

5) All trades were entered between 7am and 4pm EST  

Now that you get the gist of the strategy, lets look at the raw numbers:  

Backtest of 2007-2009 Short Only Bear Volatile VBO here  

The first thing to note is that this strategy provides a fair number of opportunities. This is important because we want the law of large numbers to work in our favor. The more opportunities we see the greater chance we meet the expectancy of the backtested data.  

The next thing I want to draw attention to is the win rate; 61.5%!!! For trend-following systems this is unheard of. Good trend-following systems win just about 40% of the time. This should ring massive church bells in everyone’s head... market regimes matter to strategy selection.  


Finally, this system has positive skew. That just means we make more money on winning trades than we lose on losing trades. This provides robustness to the VBO strategy and is important factor in its profitability.   


Thanks Grant!  

He is doing great work.   

And finally now that we had Grants backtest of our "training data set" 2007-2009 Bear Volatile regime, I went and used "test data" of March 2020 Bear Volatile regime and did a 'hasty backtest' live on YouTube this morning  

The results were very similar for me, though it was just a few weeks of trading.   

That's it for today, best of luck all.     

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