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1 May 2002 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 58, Issue 3

Using the Yield Curve to Time the Stock Market

  1. Bruce G. Resnick
  2. Gary L. Shoesmith

In the study reported here, we extended the probit model for forecasting an economic recession by using the yield-curve spread as the explanatory variable to forecast a bear stock market and tested market-timing strategies based on the model. We found that the value of the yield spread between the composite 10-year+ U.S. T-bond yield and the three-month T-bill yield holds important information about the probability of a bear stock market. We discuss our out-of-sample market-timing tests at various probability screens of a forthcoming bear market in one month. At a 50 percent probability screen, our simulations show that, for the period studied, a market timer switching out of stocks (T-bills) into T-bills (stocks) one month before a bear (bull) stock market could have realized a compound annual return of 16.46 percent versus 14.17 percent from a stock-only buy-and-hold strategy. This result is economically significant.

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