iMarketSignals – improve investment performance

We provide unbiased guidance to market direction. Our models can be classed into following  groups:

  • Leading recession indicators:
    • BCI is a Business Cycle Indicator optimised to identify a looming recession constructed from economic data series.
    • COMP is a recession indicator model constructed by combining third party leading indicators.
  • Buy and Hold investing. These models are macro by nature; trading signals from the models occur infrequently and are un-hedged – one does not have to trade constantly in and out of the markets.
    • IBH is a stock market model based on economic indicators.
    • MAC-US is a moving average crossover model for the S&P500.
    • MAC-AU is a moving average crossover model for the Australia All Ordinaries Index.
    • BVR is a bond market model based on mathematics alone.
    • Yield-Curve is a trend-following model.
    • GOLD is a rate-of-change trend-following model.
    • SILVER is a rate-of-change trend-following model.
  • Active weekly trading models based on a proprietary ranking system updated each week to generate un-biased and un-hedged buy- and sell-signals.
    • iM-BestX are weekly trading models based on the S&P 500, S&P1500 and Russell 1000 stock index series.
    • iM-Best(SPY-SH) is a market timing model, updated weekly on Sundays for the coming week.
    • iM-Best1(Sector SPDR) is a rotation system for the Select Sector SPDR® ETFs that divide the S&P500 into 9 sectors.
    • iM-Best(SSO-TLT) is a ETF switching system based on market timing.
    • iM-Best Combo3 is a combination model of Best(SPY-SH) + Best1(Sector SPDR) + Best(SSO-TLT), updated weekly on Sundays for the coming week.

The models are updated weekly and the charts depict the state of the various markets. They can be seen by registered/logged-in members.

The models have all been published. Before the models were available on the internet, weekly updates for the IBH, MAC, BVR and Yield-Curve were sent by email to subscribers for about two years – here are some of their comments:


This model and your fine work has been quite remarkable (and profitable). I have been enjoying your observations for quite some time. Job well done.
Edward Chrusciel

Your system looks pretty good. In fact, I was amazed by the high percentage winning trades and the very low drawdowns. I’ve never seen anything like that in a MA system.
Tom Swiatek

Regardless of which version one uses, it’s a powerful system. And it answers one of the most troubling worries that investors have. It efficiently gets them out of harm’s way when the market crashes.
Erik Conley

Thank you for your unique and excellent work. We will appreciate receiving your Modelling updates. Thanks!
Chuck Szkalak

The average investor reads the financial news and thinks that gives him an edge. That only tells him what everyone else knows and is worried about. We follow the excellent work of Georg Vrba, who has a top-rated coincident recession indicator as well as a successful stock/bond asset allocation model. Here is his most recent comment:  “My own composite short leading economic indicator, which has the  highest score of all indicators so far tested, does not support the notion of a recession anytime soon.” I listen to Georg, and you should too.
Jeffrey A. Miller, PhD, President NewArc Investments, Inc.

I took that S&P buy signal of yours with a little $50K futures contract and am very happy thank you.
Dwaine van Vuuren – CEO of PowerStocks

I have read and studied all your articles with interest. I have learned much from your perspectives and will continue to follow your work.
David Hamilton

Thank you for all your outstanding analysis. Let me say that I couldn’t agree more that data beats opinion.
Dave Lincoln

Georg Vrba asks whether the ECRI is still relevant. Great analysis and charts.
Jeffrey A. Miller, PhD, President NewArc Investments, Inc.

I have enjoyed your collaborations, and loved that you cracked the WLI growth rate formula!
Rush Zarrabian, CFA

I very much liked the write up on your models, and if I may add these have a particular appeal and interest having been developed by a fellow engineer.
Paul Willis

Have seen so many manipulate data to fit their predetermined biases and love the way you methodically deconstructed the moving averages to debunk this one. It shows the difference between intellectual laziness and intellectual rigor which you fit to a tee.
Kuosen Fung, CFP®

Your work is really interesting and I’d love to receive your updates or any other information you publish. I honestly think your results indicate there is a way to time stock and bond market exposure. Most likely people will remain human and many will follow their “gut feel” or let fear or greed override any mathematical analysis. This is why your methods will most likely continue to work.
James Schwartz, CFP®

Georg Vrba, whose excellent work on recession forecasting has helped our readers, has two different market-timing methods. His most recent article explains that the next great bull market might already be here.
Jeffrey A. Miller, PhD, President NewArc Investments, Inc.

… as always love your analysis! Always eager for Friday’s just to receive your reports!
Jose R Barcelo

I agree with your viewpoint that mathematical models provide better guidance to market directions than financial experts. Thanks so much!
C.T. Wu, PhD in EECS

I just read your article on identifying recessions. Great work!
Richard G Greenwald, AAMS, CRPC

I appreciate using math to model financial behaviour and appreciate your good work.
Richard E. Hamrick, CFA®

This time it is perma-bear Albert Edwards warning investors about the “Ultimate Death Cross” taking the S&P 500 back to 666. Georg Vrba takes the analysis even further. He shows that Edwards’ prediction is almost impossible to accomplish if you actually do the math on the moving averages involved. In addition, he demonstrates that the current indicator conditions are actually bullish based on historical data.
Jeffrey A. Miller, PhD, President NewArc Investments, Inc.

I have great respect for your work and am grateful to be included on your list.
Marvin Snyder

I have your historical charts going back and it is great material. I appreciate your insights. Steve Wenstrup

……but more importantly I am getting your updates now which will be extremely helpful (especially on the bond side).
Rush Zarrabian, CFA

I have been following your work for some time and have been very impressed.
Steve McCarthy, CPA, CFP®

Yes, the results are very impressive and your model is one of the metrics I actually look at in determining our overall posture and whether to put new client cash into the market. I like that you have been willing to adjust it as well to try and find the best sell dates while still sticking to the basic sprit of the model.
Rush Zarrabian, CFA

I have incorporated your timing signal as part of our overall process since your first article back in 2010. I agree with your sentiment that quantitative models work better over time because they are free from the biases that can corrupt even the best of us.
Rush Zarrabian, CFA

I’m impressed that you provide this much analysis each week. Thank you for your insights. Your charts are beautiful & clear.
Brett Bowman

I am really impressed by your work and liked very much your last research on gold and silver. It’s good to see that you are expanding the scope of possible investments.
Nicolas Tabourdeau

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Friday's Weekly Update


Minimum Volatility Stocks: Out-Of-Sample Performance of iM’s Best12(USMV) Buy&Hold Models

The backtest reported in this article showed that ranking the holdings of USMV, the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility ETF, and selecting a portfolio of the 12 top ranked stocks, provided higher returns for the buy&hold portfolio than for the underlying ETF. To test these findings out-of-sample we launched the Best12(USMV)-July-2014on Jun-30-2014 and the first sister model Best12(USMV)-Oct-2014 on Sep-29-2014. Holdings and performance have been published weekly on our website since then. So far to Dec-15-2014 these portfolios have gained 19.2% (6.8%) and 10.5% (5.3%), respectively. (USMV gains are in brackets.) The test will be expanded by the launch on Jan-5-2015 of the second of the three sister models quarterly displaced, the Best12(USMV)-Jan-2015, which again will consist of the 12 highest ranked stocks of the then point-in-time holdings of USMV.
Read more >

Revisiting “Backtesting the MAC-System – How Long is Long Enough?”

We have shown that higher retirement savings are possible with our iM(MAC-Vang) and iM(MAC-CREF) models that dynamically adjust bond/stock asset allocation using Vanguard or TIAA-CREF Funds respectively. We make use of the MAC-system to determine the allocation switch points depending on market trends. The backtest of the MAC-system stretches back almost 65 years. We are also proponents that market models should have a minimum number of variables to avoid over-optimization and possible future model breakdown. The MAC-system is such a minimized system and its robustness has been confirmed by an independent party.
Read more >

Trading the Dividend Growth Stocks of the Vanguard Dividend Growth Fund: Simulated Performance of iM’s Best10(VDIGX)

Ranking the holdings of the Vanguard Dividend Growth Fund VDIGX and selecting a portfolio of the highest ten ranked stocks provided much higher returns for the portfolio than for the underlying fund. A simulation over the time period (6/30/14 to 12/8/14) which selects periodically the 10 highest ranked stocks shows a 15.3% return while VDIGX gained 7.0%.

Getting the Most from TIAA-CREF’s Variable Annuity Accounts

A previous study found that a dynamic asset allocation strategy with Vanguard index funds produced better returns than models with static asset allocations. Changing asset allocation according to stock-market climate produced much higher returns with less risk. TIAA-CREF’s variable annuity accounts can similarly be used to improve returns for participants. Results for three models with dynamic asset allocation are provided whose performance and risk measurements are all better than those of the variable annuity accounts alone, or static combinations of those accounts.
Read more >

The Unemployment Rate: A Coincident Recession Indicator

For what is considered to be a lagging indicator of the economy, the unemployment rate provides surprisingly good signals for the beginnings and ends of recessions. We have developed a model that uses unemployment figures to produce these signals and to determine the probability of when a recession may start. We conclude, based on the historic evidence of our unemployment-derived indicators, that there will be no recession in the near future.

With reference to Section 202(a)(11)(D) of the Investment Advisers Act: We are Engineers and not Investment Advisers, read more ...
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