The profitability of technical analysis and stock returns from a traditional and bootstrap perspective : evidence from Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Accounting, Finance & Economics


Business and Law

First Advisor

Professor David Allen


This research questions whether technical trading rules can help predict stock price movements for a sample of stocks selected from four equity markets from the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand for the period 1989-2008. The research is split into two stages. Stage-1 of the research tests the predictability of technical trading rules against a buyand- hold strategy. The variable moving average (VMA), fixed moving average (FMA) and the trading range break (TRB) trading rules are applied to this research. Economic predictability of these rules is examined by comparing returns conditional on a trading rule buy (sell) signal against an unconditional buy-and-hold return. Any existence of excess returns can thus be established. This follows with a statistical analysis of returns using a traditional t-test methodology. Traditional statistical tests assume normally distributed returns with independent observations and a non-changing distribution across time. In Stage-2 of this research a bootstrap checks whether features such as non-normality, time-varying moments and serial correlation bias test statistics. The bootstrap involves assumptions regarding the underlying returns generating process (RGP) and allows returns conditional on a trading rule buy (sell) signal from the original stock price series to be compared with conditional returns simulated from four common null models: RW, AR (1), GARCH-M and E-GARCH models. Simulated p-values are calculated in conjunction with simulated distributions and are applied in lieu of the theoretical normal distribution. Given this process it is possible to infer as to whether non-linear dependencies in returns can be captured by any of the three trading rules. Given the null model output standard t-test outcomes of predictability of technical trading rules may be diminished and/or eliminated. Conclusions are drawn as to the predictability and profitability of the VMA, FMA and TRB trading rules when applied to the chosen stock samples. Findings of this research indicate returns conditional on technical trading rules exceed unconditional buy-and-hold returns for all stocks. Thai sample output indicates strong support in favour of the predictability of standard test results supporting the use of technical trading rules. Output for Australia, Hong Kong and Malaysia indicates that previous standard t-test outcomes of predictability may be diminished and/or eliminated. This implies that the underlying RGP may be characterised by underlying features of some/all of the stochastic models.

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