Most people like talking about a good outlier story: Can you believe bitcoin is up over 1,000% since the start of 2019? Did you see WTI crude oil futures went negative last year? How crazy was that rally in GameStop from below $20 to above $400 in a matter of weeks?
But trading an outlier isn’t as easy. Increased volatility means you could be either really right or really wrong in a flash. Large swings mean a move against you could cause you to tap out before a move in your favor. And few people feel good about buying into an all-time high, or vice versa.
The Case for Mean Reversion
You know what’s not as fun to talk about, but occurs much more often? A market that approaches an outlier but ends up reverting to what’s deemed “normal.” Last week was ripe with mean reversion trades including a bounce back in metals, the convergence between technology and industrial stocks, and a pull back for both US dollars and interest rates.
Last Week’s Forecast via Realized Volatility (Small 10YR Yield \ S10Y)
How to Trade Mean Reversion
For example, Small 10YR Yield futures rose above 17.50 by the second day of last week before falling back to well within their projected five-day range (as shown above) by the week’s close. Getting on the other side of a slightly abnormal move (relative to historical prices and volatility) in a market can present opportunity more often than the large outlier alternative.
Small 10YR Yield \ S10Y
Near-outliers aren’t going to make you more interesting at your next dinner party, but they could present you with a simpler, more straightforward opportunity the next time you open your platform.
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