Ciaran Ryan
5 minute read
20 May 2020
7:34 am

Yes, it is possible to predict the market

Ciaran Ryan

Students of William Gann say the investing legend predicted a market top in 2019.

Image: iStock

In 2017 Moneyweb interviewed trader Greek-Cypriot trader Alex Antoniou after he turned $50 000 into nearly $500 000 in a week.

We asked to see evidence, which was supplied. Pretty amazing stuff.

It turns out Antoniou is an avid student of William Gann, the legendary investor who set what may be a world record for growing a trading account.

A legend

In 60 days Gann turned $973 into $30 000, and seemed to have an uncanny knack for predicting market moves based on his study of market cycles.

A year before the 1929 market crash, Gann predicted stocks would peak in September of 1929. He was just a month out in his prediction (the actual crash took place on October 4 of that year).

How was he able to predict with such apparent accuracy the end of a major bull market based on nothing more than a study of charts?

Gann had a fascination with cycles, based on much earlier observations by Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who was able to find relationships between numbers, geometry and music. The 1929 crash was almost 90 years after the previous great crash of 1837. For Gann, 60 and 90 years held special significance, and he predicted that the next great crash would come in 2019 – exactly 90 years after 1929.

This is where Antoniou reenters the picture. Like Gann, he predicted a market top in 2019, and actually told us this back in 2017. In fact, the S&P 500 index topped out in February 2020, when it crashed 34% over the space of the next month, before recovering about 18% off its March lows.

It was much the same story for most of the leading market indices. The German Dax peaked on February 19, 2020 and fell 38% over the next month, before recovering 28% from its March low.

So where does that leave us now?

Antoniou says the market is poised to retest the March lows and will likely spend the rest of the year in the red.

Unlike most traders who believe markets are driven by news, Antoniou says news merely amplifies a cycle already in progress.

Using Pythagorean maths, he plots which direction the market will move on any day and sets up his trades accordingly. He gets it right about 85% of the time, which most traders would concede is an astonishingly successful percentage.

Using principles developed originally by Gann and Pythagoras, he modified this to develop his ‘Theory of Eight’ which is a study in cycles. There are 365 days in the year and 360 degrees in a circle. Overlapping these, he is able to map out cycle peaks and troughs – even to the point of predicting price moves over the course of a single day.

“There is no question that it is possible to predict the market,” he says. “Every investor is trying to do this, only some do it better than others. Some use fundamental analysis to do it. I use cycles. The notion that you cannot predict the market means you are playing a game where you do not know the rules. I have been doing this for 26 years, and I wouldn’t be here now if I did not believe I could predict market moves with high certainty.”

New-found respect

Millions of traders around the world are familiar with William Gann’s Price Squares and Circle theories, and use these to guide their trading decisions. There was a time when most professional fund managers dismissed charting (or technical analysis) as a fool’s escapade, but even they now incorporate this into their analytical toolbox.

Given Gann’s prediction of another market crash in 2019 (90 years earlier), traders appear to have discovered a new-found respect for the man. He is reported to have used his predictive prowess to accurately call every president elected in the US between 1904 and the 1920s, and his 1927 book Tunnel Through the Air, though a work of fiction, foretold of an attack by Japan on the US less than two decades later.

In 1929 he predicted the market would top out in April, fall sharply, then rebound until September, followed by what he called the biggest crash in history. He then forecast that the subsequent depression would last until 1932 – all of which came to pass.

It is little wonder he is venerated among so many traders in the 90 years that have passed. Gann went to India and Egypt to study ancient mathematics and astronomy, and out of this developed his Law of Vibration which reportedly enabled him to predict the exact prices at which stocks or commodities would trade in any given time frame.

Antoniou has followed in Gann’s footsteps, and has run a number of tutorials where traders can follow his trades in real time.

“I agree with Gann, who agreed with Pythagoras, that there is rhythm in the markets and a natural law of vibration which can, in fact, allow you to predict market prices with high certainty.”

The idea of predicting where prices will be at the close of trade tomorrow, or next week, raises eyebrows among veteran fund managers, who prefer to rely on exacting studies of relative value. Buy a good company relatively cheap, and there’s a good chance you can sell it some time later at a profit.

Understanding how Gann and Antoniou manage to predict the market with such apparent exactitude appears to be something of a mystic art. Not so, says Antoniou. “It’s about numbers and cycles. There are enough people in the market who understand this and profit from it.

“Nothing mystic about it at all.”

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