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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bob Brinker's Marketimer Not in Hulbert's Top Five Performers

Posted April 16, 2009

According to the April issue, Bob Brinker's Marketimer model portfolios are no longer in Hulbert's Financial Digest "Top-5 Performers" for any time-frame, in any of Mark Hulbert's categories.

This is in spite of the fact that since October 2000, Hulbert has used a footnote to justify not including Brinker's QQQQ-trades when he ranks his performance. Hulbert is aware that Brinker repeatedly instructed subscribers to use model portfolio cash reserves, while he "chose" to keep the trades (yes, there were THREE of them) off-the-books. Hulbert added the footnote to justify this deception. Indeed, it's a circular deception because Brinker has used HFD to advertise Marketimer, but he has never mentioned Hulbert's footnote.

I know from personal experience that Hulbert won't listen to the facts about that this matter, and continues to claim that Brinker made the decision to keep the trade off the books when he first made the trade. That is false! I wrote to Mark Hulbert and told him that I could prove his footnote was false. He refused to pay any attention. So in my opinion, he's either deliberately ignorant of the facts or he knows he's lying.

In the footnote, Hulbert says Brinker's "HFD record has not suffered...." That's right -- it also has not been accurate because Hulbert is basically giving Brinker's portfolios a years-long mulligan on a huge, disastrous trade that lost over 70%!

In the April issue of HFD, Hulbert did a review and commentary of Brinker's Marketimer. Hulbert makes the claim that "Brinker's letter primarily is intended to help fund investors time the domestic and international stock and bond markets as well as select individual funds. His approach involves a combination of both technical and fundamental analysis." Since when has Brinker used technical analysis? [In EDIT: DanG, long-time Brinker connoisseur, has shed some light on Brinker's use of TA. See Dan's comments here [LINK]. Hulbert seems to make it up as he goes when he is writing about Bob Brinker.

Not surprisingly, Hulbert said that Brinker is a long-term timer and mentioned the only two times over the past 22-years that Brinker has "deviated from being fully invested" -- AFTER the 1987 crash and between January 2000 and March 2003. On the other hand, Hulbert didn't say a word about Brinker remaining fully invested during the 2008/2009 worst bear market in several decades.

As of January 2009, Brinker stopped posting his model portfolio one-year numbers on his website, so here are the year-2008 returns:

Model Portfolio I = Down 39.7%

Model Portfolio II = Down 37.4%

Model III (balanced) = Down 23.9%

Jeffchristie tracks the YTD returns based on the portfolio values that are posted at the end of each month on Brinker's website. Jeff wrote:

The March 2009 month end numbers are in over at Bob Brinker's website.

Portfolio 1 $157,235 -8.1% YTD

Portfolio 2 $129,878 -9.3% YTD

Portfolio 3 $154,875 -4.7% YTD

From the Oct 2007 high, P1 is down 48%; P2 is down 46%; and P3 is down 29%.

I took these pictures as I walked around a nearby neighborhood where they more or less line the streets. The trees grow quite large and are stunningly beautiful in bloom. I'm not sure of the name -- maybe some type of blossoming cherry tree?

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