TRADER’S WORLD ARTICLE FALL 2017

 Mr. Gann’s 90-Year Cycle

by Gordon Roberts

 

I’m writing parts of this as a solar eclipse passes overhead. Kinda wild to go dark and hear the night critters come to life and shut back up. Whether you fancy looking to planetary objects for trading advice or not, I pretty firmly believe that Mr. Gann studied moon-related events like eclipses as events that had some sort of impact on the markets. Maybe eclipses mean nothing but they are a “Sol o Mon” type of thing that may hold some wisdom. But I’m not here to discuss eclipses. I’m here to talk about a potential trade setup.

In my book, Market Vibrations, I argued that we really don't have to catch many big long-term trades over the course of time for us to build a trading business. We just need to be patient and go about our lives while we wait for nice opportunities. Over the course of time, we should accumulate some wins and let the compounding nature of the business plan do its work.

It is my opinion that most people do not have the proper attitude about such a trading business and want to trade all the time. That’s cool too if they do it well. To each their own! I’m actually testing some short-term options trading strategies to pull money from the markets too.

However, I don’t think that is the way for most people to make money in the trading business. I think patience for big opportunities is generally a better way to go. If you want to trade more often, maybe you try a more “mechanical method” from Mr. Gann. There are even good arguments for combining the two approaches. I’ve opted to take the simpler road for my book so I’ll generally hunt the bigger opportunities and spend more time not trading.

Before we get started, let me proclaim that I am not making predictions here. I'm making observations. Using my observations, I try to have a business that takes reasonable risks and potentially reaps comparatively large rewards. And… by doing a lot of the things Mr. Gann tells me to do, my odds of success tend to increase. According to Mr. Gann, that is “How to Make Profits in Commodities”. After the fact, the past will hopefully become littered with observations that morphed into “prescient predictions”. Those “predictions” are not the goal of the business. They are a by-product of successful work. The real goal is to amass profits while taking reasonable risks and having sensible expectations.

All the standard disclaimers apply. This isn’t trading advice. You make your own trading decisions. Etc… Etc… Etc… These types of “plans” don’t all work out well, but some of them certainly do. Let’s do some analytical work…

 

It appears that Mr. Gann likes playing with the Grains and 90-year counts. Here are some of Mr. Gann’s words from his Commodities Course:

90-Year Cycle:When we start from Sunrise or the Horizon and measure to Noon, we get an arc of 90 degrees, which is straight up and down starting from the bottom. 90 months or 90 years is a very important time period. The 90-Year Time Cycle is one of the very important ones because it is two times 45. This time period must always be watched at the end of long time periods. For example:

1932 was 90 years from 1842. Study the Wheat prices around this time. 1850-1851 – add 90 years and we get 1940-41. Note low prices of Wheat around that time.
1855, June, high for Wheat 170. 90 years from this period gives 1945. Wheat reached high in June, selling at 170, some contracts at 168 and 169.
1850-51, extreme lows for Wheat. Add 45 years and we get 1895 when extreme low was reached. From 1895 we again add 45 years and get 1940.

From reading that, it seems pretty straight forward that 90 years and 45 years “must always be watched at the end of long time periods”. There also appear to be multiple potential cyclical starting points. That’s interesting.

Beyond that, my recollection is that Mr. Gann also shared the 90-year cycle for Soybeans but I don’t remember the quote’s source. I think I mentioned that briefly in Market Vibrations as well, so I’ve been waiting for this for several years already. Mr. Gann had mentioned the cycle in relation to a 1929 top and then a brutal bear into a final 1932 bottom. We see that 1932 reference above for Wheat as well. I’ll think about the 1929 cycle date more for this article.

Per the type of reasoning presented in my book, we should be alert if we see high prices in 2019. We are equally on alert for big grain lows in 2022. We happen to be living in the timeframe to see if Mr. Gann’s teachings matter this time! These could be one or more of those “once in a generation” kind of trades a fellow like Gordon wishes to target.

Given the stock market happenings of 1929, we have to be on alert for a major stock market high and crash for those markets in 2019 too. We’re not about gloom and doom here. I’m just trying to find a nice juicy trade (or two or three or more). We’ll stick to grains for this discussion.

You may be thinking that it’s 2017, Gordy! What good are 2019 or 2022 trade thoughts? Well, if we have potential for a big cyclical high, it stands to reason that there could be great bull trades long moving into such a high. We might find more than one big trading opportunity. Let’s ponder all of that with some additional research…

Past the 1929 top Mr. Gann used as his Bean example, the next instance 90 years back would have us looking look for a major high in 1839. Beans weren’t trading then. Instead of Beans, I’ll share a picture of one of Mr. Gann’s charts for Wheat below. It shows Mr. Gann marking a potential “cause” of this 90-year cycle back at the 1839 major high and crash. I'm not making this stuff up.

Mr. Gann’s own writing makes note of Saturn and Uranus. I might should look to see when this kind of Saturn/Uranus aspect hits for timing a top but I still have many months to do that if I wish. I’m sure there is plenty of planetary wonderment to be found but I usually avoid most of that for simpler things.

Here’s the picture of Mr. Gann’s Wheat Yearly chart for my 1839 reference. I purchased the chart for my library of goodies years ago from a nice guy named Cody at Lambert Gann Publishing (wdgann.com). They provide access to uncommon resources for any student of Mr. Gann’s work. They call this the Huge Wheat Chart which goes back to 1500’s.


I mentioned that any big market top probably has a bull market move into it. It’s happened back in the 1830’s. If a big high is to potentially come in 2019, maybe we are getting into a window in time (2 years) where a bull has to start? Along with that thought, I know that the grain markets have recently been beaten down miserably and they approach interesting price levels after multi-year bear markets.

After nice trading opportunities from the all-time highs and more recently the 2016 lows, price has crashed back down near those lows. The scenario gets my attention. We’ll see that all-time-high and the 2016 low again in the discussion that follows.

If the 90-year cycle is important, divisions of the cycle should also be interesting to see if they have been chiming in the past. That might provide more confidence in these long-term thoughts. Further, Mr. Gann’s words quoted above pretty well instruct us to do this. If I look back from 2019, 45 years (half of 90), I see a multi-year bean high in October of 1974. That’s lovely.

If I look back 30 years (1/3 of 90) to 1989 we see a smaller but still tradable low made in October. Going back 15 years finds a multi-year high and crash from April 2004. Toward the end of 2004 beans had crashed from over $10 to $5 where a multi-year low was made late in the year. Overall, I remain very intrigued with Mr. Gann’s thoughts about this 90-year cycle. Everything is still looking pretty good.

 

Here and now it is August of 2017 and we are around the anniversary of that 2016 Bean low. From a “Form Reading” perspective, we could be in a third segment down in a big bear market. I show that “read” as swings that exceeded 25% on the way down.


Conversely, I can also count the “waves” as if the “the bottom” came in 2016. In that scenario, we had four “segments” down from the big high and could be in the “first segment” up or maybe even about to start the "second segment" up of a three or four segment bull market. I show that on the next chart with swings of greater than 15%.


Either case argues that a bull market could be approaching relatively soon on the monthly chart scale. Accordingly, let’s think about the potential for a long trade in 2017 a little bit.

What if I look back from August 2017 and see what the past did? For example, 30 years back (1/3 of 90) for Beans, August of 1987 found a multi-month low to start a large bull market running from around $5 to $11 in under a year. For another, August of 1972 was 45 years (half of 90) back and beans found a low to start a historic bull move from $3.20 to $13 in under a year. WOW!!! If traded well, that could have changed your life. Those kinds of trades will almost certainly happen again at some future time.

Of course, we should check out five years back, 10 years back, and 20 years back etc. For example, beans made their all-time high 60 months (five years) ago in August of 2012. For another, 1977 was a big low in August (that’s 40 years back and 2x20). I like 40-year cycles and commodities of foodstuffs, FWIW. In 1997, or 20 years back, there was a low in August but the market only ran up 23% into November. August has timed several interesting past highs and lows that support my thoughts. For another quick example, four years back August timed a big low in beans for 2013. We already mentioned the August 2016 lows.

Here’s an example where a range is timing the current time frame. The time taken up by the range marked in red is repeated forward into the current timeframe. If you take my suggestion and study Mr. Gann’s “How to Make Profits” book, you’d see him doing this kind of thing… many wheat examples.


Here’s another big range where the half-way point in price was interesting. Half the range hit the 2016 low. That’s was a pretty easy low to target for a variety of reasons.


 

The signs keep piling up that within four to six months from now (if not more immediately), a decent grain low seems pretty likely. As more time passes, a low gets increasingly likely in order to have a 2019, 90-year cycle high. Maybe that is a bad assumption and it is doomed to fail. Only time will tell!

While I’m arguing for a long trade near now, I should also state that there are some wonderful looking prices that are considerably lower for grains too. I surely don’t know what will happen in advance. However, I do think that there are reasonably likely opportunities for a series of big trades over the course of the next five to seven years. The first (long) may be upon us pretty soon.

I don’t get to dictate what the grain prices will do. If the market breaks through to new lower lows in the monthly and yearly chart views, I could still have a great opportunity at lower prices. Knowing that I can and will be wrong at times is why risk and money management rules are keys to success. My business plan can take a loss and see it as maybe leading to an even bigger opportunity!

I’ve run out of space for this article. Until next time… I hope you reap happy trading harvests!


 

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