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Cyclical markets

Everything is a circle, Everything is a Cycle

No matter what market you are referring to, all go through the same phases and are cyclical. They rise, peak, dip, and then bottom out. When one market cycle is finished, the next one begins. The problem is that most investors and traders either fail to recognize that markets are cyclical or forget to expect the end of the current market phase.
  1.  Read what Lars von Thomas has to say

▶️ It’s a fair question!

I am often approached with questions like “What’s your performance?” or “Show me your track record.” Now that 2022 is almost closed, let’s get back to desk and do the review.

This article presents a summary of all published cycle forecasts from 2022. All posts I did in 2022 have been published in an honest, straightforward and transparent manner. Time-stamped – with no strings attached. Publicly available to everyone.

I made 15 publications1 in 2022, of which

  • 5 original cycle forecasts with predictions for 2022 on daily charts,

  • 6 follow-up posts to those earlier articles with additional technical analysis,

  • 3 articles with long-term cycles beyond 2022,

  • 1 post referencing external cycle work of Chris Carolan (“Dark Days”).

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▶️ Before we start, a short wrap up of what I am doing:

We analyze data series with digital signal processing to identify time cycles. From these time cycles, time windows in the future can be projected for possible turning points. Our models are thus dynamic, dominant time cycle predictions. They are not forecasting price targets. Nor are they full-scale trading systems.

On a regular basis, I do publish interesting cycle studies in this blog. However, I don’t want to publish just for the sake of publishing. The mad trumpeting along the lines of publishing something every day in order to be visible on the social channels just isn’t my mission. If cycles dont tell me something, there is no need to publish empty phrases.

Let’s start …

January 2022
» The Calm Before the next Wave

We started our cycle forecast with a bold projection: Our long term dominant cycles model showed an important change in trend from the previous bullish market into a longer-period of bearishness. We started to publish this long-term cycle analysis model first in October 2021 (link) and reiterated in the article published here in January 2022:

“Long-term dominant cycles rolled to the bearish camp.”
18. Jan. 2022

Importantly, the trend changes from uptrend to downtrend around October 2021, which has been expected to continue throughout 2022 and into 2023.

The extract from the long-term analysis is shown below.

Long-term-cycles projected change in trend to bearish phase into 2023: Original weekly cycles model, published first on 16. Oct. 2021 – re-published18. Jan. 2022

While we published the forecast, the mainstream media was still telling “Stocks Are Still the Place to Be.”2 in October 2021. This media theme still continued, while just after a small correction of the stock market, the news frenzy continued in January 2022 with headlines like “It’s Time to Bargain Hunt” 3

We repeated our analysis with the January article as our long term cycles model signaled a different story. And we titled it “The calm before the next wave”.

Our long-term projection proved to be spot on. Just only 6 month later the market dropped into 2022 like not seen for years before. CNBC and CNN titled in a story after the fact:

“This was the worst first half for the market in 50 years”

Source: CNBC, 30. June 20224

“The S&P is having its worst start to a year since 1939”

Source: CNN Business, 2. May 2022 5

We just called it “The Calm before the next Wave” even before it hit.

The S&P lost -20% and the famous ARK Innovation ETF crashed -60% from 97 to 36 just in the first half of 2022.

Stock market performance, first half 2022, left: S&P500, right ARK Innovation ETF

Isn’t it remarkable that the major financial institutions are now, with the benefit of hindsight, proclaiming in December 2022, “That all began to change at the end of 2021 […]”, while as recently as January 2022 they were writing in real time for their 2022 outlook, “The balance of corporate fundamentals could create modest equity returns”6

Remind you, we did write here in January 2022 that the change is coming.

Long-term SPX projection result 2022: +20%

The SPX lost around -20% during the course of the year 2022. Nasdaq is down ~30% for the year.

▶️ 2022 was the worst annual performance of global equities since 2008.

Cycles told us. We told you.

Beyond Stock Market Cycles
The Calm Before the next Wave
Read more

May 2022
» Netflix – cycles turn positive

 

We discovered a really interesting cycle alignment in May 2022. After the market went down and the media joined the negative camp. At that point in time. we were looking for cycles that could show a short-term alignment. And we did find a dataset: Netflix.

“All cycles are pointing upwards.
All cycles have now entered their positive swing.”
13. May 2022

The important reason for publishing the May 2022 cycle analysis was the fact that not only one or two cycles predicted an upward movement. All the cycles we discovered turned positive at that time. Indeed, all of the cycles in the spectrum! Now that’s a very rare situation and so we went out and published that bullish analysis in May.

Netflix’s share price fell from about 540 to 174 at that time. No one believed in Netflix in such a negative market environment. We were told a different story by the cycles. Again, the reason was not one dominant cycle, but all the cycles in this stock price data set turned positive. The near-term model looked like the following in the original May 2022 forecast:

Original forecast for Netflix, posted May 2022:

 

Info: A green highlighted bubble in the table on the left indicates a “bullish” phase of the indicated cycle length.

Original cycle analysis result for Netflix back in May 2022. Important to note: All detected cycles rolled over to their bullish cycle phase (left). Short-term projection based on two cycles (right)

You know what? We not only showed the expected turn from negative to positive cycle momentum ahead of time. Cycles caught the bottom almost to the day. Netflix never looked back and started an incredible recovery all the way up to the end of the year. Even in a very challenging market environment heading into the second half of 2022, Netflix knew only one direction: Up!

Remember, we stated in our analysis that “all cycles point up”. This is the strong result of this kind of cycle alignment. Netflix just proved it. Cycles showed it to us.

Netflix projection result: +75%

 

All cycles up? Here comes the result. A fabulous climb of the stock price from 177 back to 319 resulting in a 75% profit only based in this cycle projection. And spotting the yearly low right on time.

NFLX cycles forecasted a major low on 13. May 2022 – grey/green highlighted area shows result after projection was published (source).

Cycles told us. We told you.

Beyond Stock Market Cycles
Netflix – cycles turn positive
Read more

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July 2022
» What’s up with the yellow shining metal?

 

“Interesting situation for this summer:
Cycles are expected to bottoming.”
23. July 2022

In the summer of 2022, the identified cycles in gold predicted an interesting situation: an upcoming near-term bottom should be reached soon.

Original Forecast

 

Gold (USD) was trading at 1725 at the time of projection. The forecasted time frame for the next expected bottom was evident for about the end of August.

Original cycle projection done in July 2022 which forecasted a possible low in Gold around August/September period

Gold forecast result: +5 / +10%

 

Gold 211 trading days cycle with projected bottom area highlighted in green, published July 2022, grey price is after the fact, datasource: TradingView

The first low came in on 1st September followed by the all-time-low in 2022 on 26. September. This was the bottom period for the yearly low in 2022. We projected it 3 weeks to early as the final low came in 3 weeks later. But it is now – after the fact – are clear visible bottoming area on the chart. Which cycles predicted at the end of July.

It would not even matter if you have been long at the time of the publication, or during late August. Both resulting trade entries would have been profitable by the end of 2022. The bottom-forming area was spot on – it was the low for 2022.

Cycles told us. We told you.

Beyond Stock Market Cycles
Whats up with the yellow shining metal?
Read more

September 2022
» Dominant cycles speak one message

 

“Cycle model projects the next important downswing
in [AAPL] into the end of 2022.”
8. Sept. 2022

The period between September and October was a difficult period for cycle analysis. It looked more like market participants were engaged in short-term, artificial technical re-balancing shifts. Such as possible bets on an impending recession (yes or no?), lip-reading of FED members’ speeches in the news about possible rate hikes, and countries strengthening their currencies against the strong dollar.

In these times it is very important to use data series that are

  1. in the interest of a very wide public,

  2. secondly bundles a very high volume and

  3. thirdly can be seen as a “proxy” for a whole market.

For this reason, we have focused our cycle analysis on the Apple share price data during this period.

Apple is the most valuable company in the world by market capitalization. Not only that, the weighting of Apple now exceeds that of those of all other top companies in the S&P 500 over the past four decades.7

Thus, instead of analyzing the broader S&P500 or Nasdaq index, it made more sense to analyze specific stocks that met the above criteria to avoid “too much noise” in our analysis. Apple was picked as proxy for two reasons: It is included in the S&P500 and still represents the tech companies. We have published a cycle analysis for the Apple share price more than once during this period.

Here is the original and first analysis of AAPL from beginning of September.

Original Apple Forecast

 

AAPL stock composite cycle forecast done 8. Sept. 2022. – projecting a downswing into the end of 2022. With a “pause” October to November.

Original Apple Forecast – Zoom-In:

Apple was trading at 163 and just completed a fabulous upswing from June into late August. So the question was: Whats next for Apple? And as we used Apple as proxy to get a better view on the overall equity markets: Whats next for the broader stock market until the end of the year?

The composite cycle forecast at that time projected a continued downswing into year end. With a little ambiguity and/or a sideways movement during October.

AAPL forecast result: +19%

 

Apple composite cycle model projection and outcome after 8. Sept. 2022

It looks like Apple went along with this forecast and the share price fell consistently until the end of the year. With some wild swings up and down in October. Price dropped from the time of publishing this forecast from 160 down to 131. A drop of about -19%.

Cycles told us. We told you.

Beyond Stock Market Cycles
Dominant cycles speak one message: major trouble ahead for global stock markets (+ audio)
Read more

October/November 2022
» The end of a bear market rally is close

 

The period during October was a tough one for the equity markets in terms of “reading the market”. During that time, equity markets have been largely driven by interest rate expectations. The “hope” that the FED would reduce their pace of raising interest rates. The rules flipped around at that time. What would normally be “good news” suddenly looks bad. Good news from the economy was treated as “bad news” for the stock market. If the economic outlook was too bright, the fear that the FED would continue rising the interest rate drove markets down. And vice versa. Heavy swings. Good news for the economy was bad news for stocks and. While bad economic news was good stock market news? Very crazy time. Cycle analysis was also very difficult.

It seemed strange as if the markets acted in the spirit of a German children’s novel featuring Pippi Longstocking: “2 times 3 make 4. I see the world the way I want to.”

A bear market rally formed and the media and investors took a positive view of the future. In some cases, the bear market was already declared to be over. Investors cheered what some market watchers described as a coordinated shift in messaging from the Fed.

However, the cycles continued to urge extreme caution against this bear market rally:

“The current rally could last another 1-2 weeks
until early to mid November. ”
29. Oct. 2022

Even though the cycles could not predict this strength. Thus, the cycles very clearly predicted the timing of the expected end.

“The second half of November is the timing window where
short-term cycles are rolling over [to bearish phase].”
16. Nov. 2022

We showed numerous cycle and technical analyses during this period that pointed to the end of the rally in the second half of November. The following chart shows an excerpt and the subsequent drop after the projection of the S&P500 into the end of the year.

October/November prediction, blue price data in-sample, grey/green-highlighted area: out of sample after the fact

Cycles told us. We told you.

Beyond Stock Market Cycles
The end of a bear market rally is closer than the beginning of a bull market
Read more

What did not work in 2022?

 

There were some lessons learned about what didn’t work in terms of cycle analysis:

  1. “Dark Days” is the original work of Christopher Carolan. He received the Charles H. Dow Award in 1998 for his paper entitled “Autumn Panics: A Calendar Phenomenon.” It relates to the lunar calendar. I am still a big fan of Chris Carolan’s work. However, the dark days were not of any use this year. Anyway, this is a well-respected work by another – and I wanted to bring it to your attention in case it might be valid.

  2. Timing a start of bear market rallies based purely on time-based cycles did not work. However, in identifying the possible end of an ongoing bear market rally, the cycles served well. This reinforces the slogan of looking for “cycles within cycles” to find the interesting turning points when the shorter cycles (re)align with the longer cycle phase.

  3. Another finding from 2022 was that the cycle analysis for the VIX index often did not produce valid cycle forecasts. I really loved validating the S&P500 cycle projection using the VIX index as a secondary instrument to see if the cycles could be confirmed or not. That method did not work either and needs to be refined for 2023.

2022 Summary: Show me the facts & figures

 

Finally, let’s look at the facts and figures. We have written 5 editorial articles with a purely cycle-based forecast on the timing of the stock market.

Almost all of these predictions were able to show profitable results after just 15 trading days. Depending on the holding period, the average profit was between +7% to +23%. No key article showed a negative performance.

Summary: returns for each stock market cycle projection after: 15 trading days, 90 trading days and at 2022 year-end (year end data as of 23.12.2022).

It must be pointed out that these time cycles do not represent a complete trading system, the performance achieved purely on the basis of the time cycles is impressive. Additional technical analysis, positions sizing, risk management and exit strategies not taken into account.

Cycles in 2022 outperformed even one of the largest and most prominent hedge fonds, managed by Ray Dalio. His Bridgewater hedge fund achieved a performance of about +6%.8 While just the average cycles projection resulted even better with +7% after 15 trading days, +19% after 90 trading days and 22% profit at the end of 2022.

Every year I am fascinated by the analysis and forecast of the financial markets with the help of the cycle analysis.

See you in 2023 ?

🆓 I hope so! I will be at my desk again and will continue sending you important cycle updates at no cost.

▶️ As you may know, I do almost no marketing. And I don’t take any external advertising from third parties. My work is supported entirely by my subscribers. That gives me the time and independence to focus on the cycle analysis research that mean something to analysts, investors, and finance market experts like you.

If you’ve thought about joining the paid newsletter version, you will support my work. I will provide free access to my cycle education and training seminars, the full article archive and supplementary technical charts with special, cyclic-tuned technical indicators:

Get 20% off for 1 year

And if you’re happy with the free cycle research I send you, that’s fine too. You’ll keep receiving it for as long as you like at no cost.

As board member of the Foundation for the Study of Cycles (“FSC”), I would also invite you to become a member of the FSC. A community of like-minded cycle experts sharing knowledge in our non-profit organization.

All the best for 2023!

Regards,
Lars

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Disclaimer

We are not financial advisors. Please do your own research before investing.
The publisher does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided on this site. All statements and statements contained herein are the sole opinion of the author.
Lars von Thienen / this blog website is a publisher of scientific cycle analysis results for global markets and is not an investment advisor. We do not provide personalized or individualized investment advice or information tailored to the needs of any particular recipient.
No statement or expression of opinion, or any other matter herein, directly or indirectly, is an offer or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell the securities or financial instruments mentioned.  
Any projections, market outlooks or estimates herein are forward looking statements and are inherently unreliable.  They are based upon certain assumptions and should not be construed to be indicative of the actual events that will occur.
Neither the publisher, the author nor any of its affiliates accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss howsoever arising, directly or indirectly, from any use of the information contained herein.

References

1

Detailed breakdown of our 15 publications in 2022:

  • 5 original cycle forecasts with predictions for 2022 on daily charts,
    (“The calm before…”, “Netflix…”, “What’s up with ….”, “Dominant cycles…”,
    “The end of a bear market rally…”)

  • 6 follow-up posts to earlier articles with additional technical analysis,
    (“Surfin’ the wave”, “Quick situation briefing”, “Bonds sink”, “Arms index”,
    “Cycles Update Oct 29”, “Chart update SPX”)

  • 3 articles with long-term cycles beyond 2022,
    (“Treasury yield curve”, “Slow down in housing market”,
    “Looking at long-term cycle patterns”)

  • 1 post referencing external cycle work of Chris Carolan.
    (“Dark Days”)

3

Barrons Magazine (21. Jan. 2022): “It’s Time to Bargain Hunt”
Source: https://www.barrons.com/articles/roundtable-2022-stock-market-investing-picks-51642816831

4

CNBC (30. June 2022): “This was the worst first half for the market in 50 years”. Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/30/the-markets-worst-first-half-in-50-years-has-all-come-down-to-one-thing.html

5

CNN Business (02. May 2022): “The S&P is having its worst start to a year since 1939” Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/02/investing/stocks-sell-may-go-away/index.html

6

Morgan Stanley sources at the start of 2022 vs. their review after the fact:
a) Before the fact – forecast for 2022: “Modest equity returns in 2022…”, Source: https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/stock-market-outlook-2022

b) After the fact – review of 2022: “All began to change in 2021….”, Source: https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/stock-market-cycles-whats-next-2023

7

“Apple Rules the S&P 500 With Highest Weighting for Any Company Since 1980“ (12. Aug. 2022) , Source: https://www.barrons.com/articles/apple-stock-price-sp500-weighting-51660238751

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