Analytical tools: Use Time cycles

We are going to add the important dimension of time to our growing list of analytical tools. Instead of just asking ourselves which way and how far a market will go, we’ll start asking when it will arrive there or even when the move will begin.

When we study chart patterns, we’re aware that there is a relationship between the amount of time it takes for those patterns to form and the potential for subsequent market moves. All phases of technical analysis depend to some extent on time considerations.

Cyclic analysts hold that time cycles are the determining factor in bull and bear market. Not only is time the dominant factor, but all other technical tools can be improved by incorporating cycles.

Basic Cyclic Concepts

First, let’s see what a cycle looks like and discuss its three main characteristic. The cycle bottom are called troughs and the tops referred to as crests. Cyclic analysts prefer to measure cycle lengths from low to low.

The three qualities of a cycle are amplitude, period, and phase. Amplitude measures the height of the wave. The period of a wave is the time between troughs. And the phase is a measure of the time location of wave trough. Because there are several different cycles occuring at the same time, phasing allows the cyclic analyst to study the relationships between the different cycle lengths.Phasing is also used to indentify the date of the last cycle low. Once the amplitude, period, and phase of a cycle are known, the cycle can theoretically be extrapolated into the future. Assuming the cycle remains fairly constant, it can then be used to estimate future peaks and troughs. That is the basis of the cyclic apporach in its simplest form.

Cyclic Principles

There are six most important principles of cycles: Summation, Harmonicity, Synchronicity, proportionality, variation and nominality.

The priciple of summation holds that all price movement is the simple addition of all active cycles. Cycle theory holds that all price patterns are formed by the interaction of two or more different cycles. The principle of summation gives us an important insight into the rationale of cyclic forecasting.

The principle of Harmonicity simply means that neighboring waves are usually related by a small, whole number. That number is usually two.

The principle of synchronicity refers to the strong tendency for waves of differing lengths to bottom at about the same time. It is also means that similar cycle lengths of different markets will tend to turn together.

The priciple of proportionality describes the relationship between cycle period and amplitude. Cycles with longer periods (lengths) sould have proportionally wider amplitudes.

The principle of variation is a recoginition of the fact that all of the other cyclic principles already mentioned-summation, harmonicity, synchronicity, and proportionality- are just strong tendencies and not hare and fast rules. some “variation” can and usually does occur in the real world.

The principle of Nominality is based on the premise that, despite the differences that exist in the various markets and allowing for some variation in the implementing of cyclic principles, there seems to be a nominal set of harmonically related cycles that affect all markets. An that nominal model of cycle lengths can be used as a starting point in the analysis of any market.

Dominant Cycles

There are many different cycles affecting the finanical markets. The only ones of real value for forecasting purposes are the dominant cycles. Dominant cycles are those that consistantly affect prices and that can be clearly identified. All technical analysis should begin with the long term picture, gradually working toward the shorter term. That principles holds true in the study of cycles. The proper procedure is to begin the analysis with a study of long term dominant cycles, which can span several years; then work toward the intermediate, which can be several weeks to several months; finally, the very short term cycles, from several hours to several days, can be used for timing of entry and exit points and to help confirm the turning points of the longer cycles. As a general rule, long term and seasonal cycles determine the major trend of a market. For trading purposes, the weekly primary cycle is the most useful.The trend of each cycle is determined by the direction of its next longer cycle. Once the trend of a longer cycle is established, the trend of the next shorter cycle is known.

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