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Posts Tagged ‘Jupiter’

Testing the Jupiter cycle in stocks

Posted by Danny on November 17, 2013

A reader mailed me, criticizing my recent post Questioning Financial Astrology , in which I pointed out the problems with using longer term cycles. He is convinced that Jupiter cycle does work in the market and pointed to a post by Raymond Merriman, in which the Jupiter cycle gets mentioned.

Quoting the relevant part:

Historically, bull markets in stocks have topped out when Jupiter transited between 23° Aries and 7° Taurus (May-July 2011, and then October 2011-March 2012), followed by at least 20% declines. In cases where Uranus and Pluto have been in hard aspects, the rallies continued until Jupiter reached the sector of 14-24° Gemini (August-October 2012, and then April-May 2013). If you look at the chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, you will see that the largest declines of the past three years did occur from peaks in those time bands. But none reached 20%, or even the 48% that would normally be expected, because of “… the largest financial markets intervention by any government in world history.”

I have nothing against Merriman, like most astrologers he is probably trying hard to make it work, but basically he is blaming QE for his Jupiter cycle not working as expected. I think it would be more useful to consider the possibility that this Jupiter cycle doesn’t work. After all, even the best of methods only work 60% of the time, and even the best market “gurus” have it right about 60% of the time, as you can see here.
So, Jupiter should be allowed some mishits as well, that’s OK. Trying to put blame on QE for some astrological cycle not working makes financial astrology look worse rather than better.

But let’s have a look at the mentioned Jupiter cycle. Is it true that bull markets have a historic tendency of topping out when Jupiter transits between 23° Aries and 7° Taurus, followed by at least 20% declines? (and “normally” 48% according to this article)?

Well, that’s fairly easy to test. I used Dow Jones data and looked for all the tops after at least 20% advances from a major low, and for bottoms after declines of 20% or more from previous peak. That’s the standard definition for bull and bear markets. This can be done easily with the so-called “zig-zag indicator”. Here is the list of all bull market tops with the corresponding geocentric longitude (0 – 360) of Jupiter next to them:

Peak Date | Jupiter longitude
—————————–
* Jun 1901: 280
* Jan 1906: 56
* Nov 1909: 188
* Sep 1912: 247
* Nov 1916: 27 *
* Sep 1929: 75 *
* Sep 1932: 159
* Mar 1937: 290
* Nov 1938: 324
* May 1946: 198
* Nov 1961: 302
* Feb 1966: 81 *
* Dec 1968: 184
* Jan 1973: 293
* Sep 1976: 60
* Aug 1987: 29 *
* Jan 2000: 25 *
* Oct 2007: 257

We see a few tops falling within the sectors mentioned in the article (marked with a *), but 5 out of 18 is not statistically significant as that can easily be the result of normal random variation. These sectors appear to be just hand picked with the benefit of hindsight.

I also looked at the main bull market peaks in the 19th century, based on reconstructed monthly Dow Jones data, which is accurate enough for this test:

* Apr 1795: 303
* Oct 1800: 123
* Aug 1806: 268
* Feb 1810: 20
* Aug 1835: 99
* Dec 1852: 250
* Feb 1874: 181
* Jun 1881: 47
* May 1890: 311

None of the peaks fell in the mentioned sectors. A few are in the neighborhood, but that falls within normal expectation as well.
All we can conclude is that there is no evidence for a Jupiter cycle at work as far as these bull market peaks go.

If you randomly distribute 20 or 30 points on a circle then you will naturally get a few clusters where several points are close together. Here that’s the case in the sector 23 – 37 (23° Aries to 7° Taurus), but also at 180 – 190 (0° Libra to 10° Libra) and 300 – 324 (0° Aquarius to 24° Aquarius). That is no reason to expect a bull market peak whenever Jupiter transits these parts of the sky again.

Out of 20 observed Jupiter cycles since 1790, the market has peaked (and subsequently declined 20% or more) 3 times when Jupiter passed between 23° Aries and 7° Taurus, and another 2 times the market peaked when Jupiter crossed the sector of 14-24° Gemini. But that also means the market did not peak and decline on the other 15 occasions when Jupiter crossed that part of the sky.
That means QE is not to blame for this. The described Jupiter cycle has failed to produce expected bull market peaks on 15 earlier occasions, when there was no QE at all. It actually has only “worked” 5 times in 200 years.

It is what it is. I think financial astrologers would do well to start discarding the cycles that clearly do not work in the market, and then perhaps they will be left with a few things that do work. Finding an edge in cycles is never easy.

Good luck,
Danny

 

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Questioning financial astrology – part 2

Posted by Danny on October 31, 2013

To understand this article, please read Part 1, where it was explained how longer term astronomical cycles are very hard to test because we have only about 200 years of stock market history. Not only that, there are so many astronomical or astrological cycles to chose from that it is almost inevitable that there will be a few of them that seem to match historic stock market movements quite well. Correlation is not causation, so we cannot be confident that these observed long term patterns will recur.

But that doesn’t mean we have to give up on trying to find and use long term cycles. When different cycles/rhythms are at work simultaneously, then combined cycles may emerge. A well known example is the ocean tides. Both the moon and the sun have a significant gravitational pull on our planet and that results in tides. The tidal cycle is in harmony with both the solar and lunar cycle, but differs in length from both of them. We can also consider the example of a musician who strikes a chord on his guitar. He is hitting two or three different strings/tones at the same time, but what we hear is the combined tone. In the same way, if planets have an effect on stock prices they are likely to do so through some combined cycle.
And then all we need to do is find that combined cycle. Just like the captain of a ship only needs to know the tidal cycle to know when he can enter or leave the harbor. He doesn’t need to know the cycles of the constituent parts: the sun and the moon. In the same way, if we can find a combined cycle of planets that rhymes with the stock market then we don’t need to consider any individual planetary cycles of Mars, Jupiter, and so on..
This is the ancient idea of harmony of the spheres as proposed by Pythagoras.

All nice and good, but can we find such a combined cycle that may work in the stock market?
This is a matter of resonance, so we need to find a cycle that pulls in all or most of the planets at a harmonic multiple of their individual cycle lengths. Planets do indeed tend to resonate at harmonic frequencies, see: Orbital resonance
.

So let’s start with our nearest neighbors, Venus and Mars. Venus needs 224.7 days to orbit the Sun, while Mars has a cycle of 686.97 days. They conjunct each other every 333 days (heliocentric), but the more interesting period is 666 days, because then they return to the same part of the sky with only a small drift every 666 days. This is the combined cycle of Mars and Venus, and you may want to watch it. Look what happened 11 months ago and 22 months ago, and see if things repeat.
But it gets more interesting when we can include even more planets.

For example, if we consider 7 of these 666 day cycles, thus 666 weeks or 4666 days then we get this movement:
4666 / 224.7 = 20.765 cycles of Venus
4666 / 686.97 = 6.79 cycles of Mars
4666 / 365.256 = 12.775 cycles of Earth

Notice how we have very close to three quarters of a cycle in each of these cases. This means that now 3 planets, Venus, Earth and Mars return to the same relative constellation in the sky, but with a 90 degree drift every 666 weeks.

The 666 day frequency also has an interesting connection with the planet Jupiter. Jupiter orbits the Sun in 4332.59 days (11.86 years).
Dividing 4332.59 / 666 = 6.505
So two Jupiter orbits, 8666 days = 13 * 666 days

The implication is that by considering the 666 day and 666 week cycles you are basically using a combined cycle of Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter. That’s why some cultures considered the number 666 so significant.

In the same way we can also look at Saturn and beyond.
Saturn has an orbital period of 10759.22 days (29.46 years).
We get a resonance with the Jupiter cycle when we consider 3 cycles of Saturn:
3 * 10759.22 days = 32277.66 days
32277.66 / 4332.59 = 7.45 cycles of Jupiter.
So for every 3 cycles of Saturn we get very close to 7.5 cycles of Jupiter.
This is a 88.37 years period and it is also interesting for other reasons. It is almost exactly 8 sunspot cycles ( 11 years), and it also resonates quite closely with Uranus ( 84.3 years cycle) and the half cycle of Neptune ( 164.8 years). This could well be the longest combined cycle that has use in the stock market.

Is there is any evidence that these cycles are at work?
Well, I have looked into long term correlation on stock data going back to 1790, and for the 666 day cycle the result was negative. For the 666 week and 88.4 year cycles a positive but weak correlation is found. So, at best, these planetary cycles have weak effects that are easily overthrown by other factors.

In the case of the 88.4 year triple-Saturn cycle we also have some visual confirmation on a long term chart. This is the Dow Jones index since 1790 (click for larger image):

88 year triple Saturn

On a 200 year monthly chart we see two similar periods standing out: 1830-1840s and 1920-1930s. In both cases the market surged to a significant peak that would not be surpassed for more than 20 years, only to drop towards a 30 year low within years. If this has anything to do with the 88.4 year cycle, then look for a major peak within the next few years, followed by a massive crash that takes the market to 30 year lows. Based on the earlier major peaks in 1835 and 1929, we would expect this blow-off peak to occur between 2012 and 2017, followed by a major low in 2020-2022.
As we have only two observed cycles it remains to be seen whether this pattern will show up. But if it does we would get some nice confirmation for this 88 year cycle.

If 88.4 years is indeed a major wavelength in the stock market, then we would also expect so-called overtones or harmonics. Overtones occur for a number of reasons, and most typically they are integer multiples of the main frequency. For example if we divide 88.4 years by 5 we get 17.68 years. This could be the 17.6 year cycle that Kerry Balenthiran has proposed in his recent book. It is exactly 3/5th of the Saturn orbital period.

Another long term cycle that has been getting attention is Martin Armstrong‘s cycle of pi, 3140 days (8.6 years). This is a supercycle of Venus:
3140 / 224.7 = 13.974 cycles of Venus.
It is also quite close to 2/3rd of the 4666 day cycle.

Actually, if 3140 = 1000 * π (pi) , then 4666 = 1000 * δ , the first Feigenbaum constant, which is as important for chaos theory as pi is for geometry.

With that I will finish this exploration.

Here are the weak correlations found for the mentioned cycles, ranked best to worst (based on 200 years of monthly changes):

4666 day :   + 0.034
88.4 year: + 0.0339
17.6 year: + 0.0128
6280 day: + 0.0128
333 day: + 0.0067
666 day: – 0.008
3140 day: – 0.0307

 

Be well,

Danny

 

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