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Trade Like a Hedge Fund, by James Altucher

November 28th, 2008

Page 83 – The Slow Turtle Trade

The Turtle trading system was originally developed by Richard Dennis and William Eckhardt.  These two gentlemen made a bet regarding the teachability of trading.  They then selected with a very minimal criteria a group of students to teach.  These students became known as the original ‘turtles’ (named after the Turtle system that they were taught.  The chart of using this strategy will look like a rounded hump with the 22 week moving average moving over the 50 week moving average.  Thus, the name ‘turtle’.

The Turtle trade is a momentum system that instructs us to buy a stock or a commodity if it is breaking into new highs, with the idea that the momentum should continue and you should ‘ride’ the asset’s gains until it stalls out.  By trading a basket of uncorrelated assets, you can take advantage of the fact that at any given point, somewhere in the financial universe, something is in a bull market.  Altucher is careful to not that this strategy does not work well for shorting.  He regards it as a ‘long only’ strategy.

  1. Buy an asset at its 22 week closing simple moving average crosses over its 55 week closing simple moving average.  Buy at the market open the next day.
  2. Sell when the asset’s 22 week closing simple moving average crosses under its 55 week closing simple moving average.  Sell at the market open the next Monday.
Turtle Trade

Turtle Trade

View the S&P 500 from the spring of 1958 till the summer of 1961.  The 22 week moving average for the S&P 500 crossed its 55 week moving average in the Spring of 1958 and the trend held until the moving averages crossed each other again in the summer of 1961.  The method is a very simple momentum / trend strategy.  Note, it is important to employ this strategy using several uncorrelated assets to smooth out returns, particularly in bearish periods in the markets.


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