Raymond A. Merriman is a market analyst and editor of the MMA Cycles Report, an advisory market letter used by financial institutions, investors, and traders throughout the world since 1981. He also edits the SOS Special Stock Market Report, which is issued 8 times per year and continually updates the status of long-term cycles in the U.S. stock market, and individual stocks. Mr. Merriman has worked as an Investment Advisor for Prudential Securities and Shearson Lehman Hutton, as well as Accounts Vice-President of Retail Commodity Futures for Pain Webber Inc., between 1986-1994. He is the author of "Merriman on Market Cycles: The Basics," (1994) "The Ultimate Book on Stock Market Timing Volume 1: Cycles and Patterns in the Indexes," (1997) "The Ultimate Book on Stock Market Timing Volume 3: Geocosmic Correlation to Trading Cycles," (2001), and "The Sun, The Moon, and the Silver Market: Secrets of a Silver Trader" (1992).

The trade in commodities takes place in either spot markets or futures markets. In spot markets, the commodity trade happens immediately, in exchange for cash or other commodities. In futures markets, buyers and sellers trade a commodity based on a standardised contract. You do not have to compulsorily make or accept deliveries of physical goods here. Trade in futures contracts happens electronically and the contracts can be settled in cash.


This measure has since become known as the “Buffett Ratio” (most charts use GDP instead of GNP, hence the different percentages from Buffett’s quote). One obvious issue with this ratio is that it compares companies with increasing international exposure to domestic economic activity. Another potential issue revolves around higher corporate profit margins. While profit margins fluctuate with the economic cycle, changes in industry composition and industry concentration could be elevating margins long-term.
China demand, the China and India “love trade”, cyclical inflation driving up the prices of commodities and resources and the classic… economic growth in the US will create cost-push inflation through wage increases with the smart money seeking inflation protection in gold. All of those and a veritable Turducken of mishmashed ingredients were served to gold bugs as a decidedly not delectable appetizer before the main course.
Some investors are primarily concerned with identifying large market cycles that endure for years at a time. Yet other traders try to isolate very narrow windows to make quick trades based on mini-market pops and drops which may last only weeks. One system uses a complex set of rules based on price and volume indicators developed by Marc Chaikin. The 10-year total return from this system is 1,388.9% or 30.3% annualized. While this may seem like the world’s greatest investing system ever, I took a closer look at how this system might work for an average investor.
During the three year period from January 2008 to January 2011, the S&P 500 lost 12.11%. If you owned stock in multiple large American companies, it’s likely you would’ve experienced a similar amount of loss during this time. Now imagine you sold your shares before the January ’08 crash and bought at the beginning of the bull cycle in March 2009. In less than 2 years, you would’ve been up 88%.
The consumer price index climbed 0.3 percent last month, after rising 0.1 percent in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the biggest rise since January, and it was mainly caused by an impressive surge in the fuel oil (+3.7 percent) and gasoline indices (+3 percent). However, the core CPI, which excludes food and energy, also rose, advancing 0.2 percent in October, following a 0.1-percent increase in September.
Being Janette is impossible. Even trying to be Janette runs the risk of becoming Jebediah – or worse. Fancy timing increases the likelihood of errors.People want to buy after stocks rise, not after they drop. Were you eagerly buying this March, when the early-year correction avalanched? Or in February 2016 as headlines hyped election risks at the bottom of an eight-month slide? Or in March 2009 at the depths of the financial crisis? As I said last week, the best time to buy is surely when people least want to.

WTI hit a low point at $56 per barrel on Wednesday and Brent hit a low just below $65 per barrel. Both crude benchmarks regained some ground at the end of the week, despite the huge increase in U.S. crude oil inventories. In fact, rising prices in the face of the 10-million-barrel increase in crude stocks suggests that oil may have already hit a bottom. “[Y]esterday’s price reaction to the US inventory data shows that negative news is now largely priced in,” Commerzbank said in a note. “This is the only way to explain why an increase in US crude oil stocks of a good 10 million barrels failed to put further pressure on prices.”

So how would this market timing system have fared over the past five years? According to fundamental back-testing, these two simple rules would have generated an 18.9% annualized return with a 17.4% max drawdown, and the 5-year total return would have been 137.26%. (Drawdown refers to the amount of portfolio loss from peak to trough.) In comparison, the market had an annualized 0.65% return and a 5-year gain of 3.3% with a 56% max drawdown.
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