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.
    • 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 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


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

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

Posted in homepage


Robust Recession Forecasting With Our New Long Leading Index For The US Economy

  • The new Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Brave-Butters-Kelley Indexes (BBK) provide useful input for recession forecasting.
  • We combine two BBK indexes with the Conference Board LEI and our Business Cycle Index BCIg to derive iMarketSignals’ new Long Leading Index (iM-LLI) for the US economy.
  • Our analysis shows that the iM-LLI would have provided an average warning signal about eight months before the start of recessions, as observed for the last seven recessions since 1967.
  • We are replacing the iM-Composite Index (COMP) with the new iM-LLI.
  • Currently this Leading Index is not yet warning of an oncoming recession.

Recession Forecasting With the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Newly Released Brave-Butters-Kelley Indexes

  • From November 2019 onward, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is releasing new measures of monthly real GDP growth and its components, the Brave-Butters-Kelley Indexes.
  • The data release is for four indicators constructed from a panel of 500 monthly macroeconomic time series and quarterly real gross domestic product growth.
  • Our analysis shows that apart from the Leading Index, the other three indicators would have been extremely accurate identifying recessions were it not for the publication time-lag.
  • This time-lag makes, on average, these indicators about two month late to signal the start and end of recessions in real-time, as observed for the last seven recessions since 1967.
  • Currently none of the Brave-Butters-Kelley Index models are warning of a recession.

Estimating 10-Year Forward Returns For Stocks With The Shiller CAPE Ratio And The Long-Term Trend – Update January 2020 

  • The average of S&P 500 for Dec-2019 was 3166; that is 852 (i.e. 27% of 3166) above the Jan-2020 level of the long-term trend line.
  • The Shiller Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings Ratio (CAPE) is at a relatively high level of 30.1, and the 35-year moving average (MA35) of the CAPE is at 24.2.
  • The CAPE-MA35 ratio is 1.25, forecasting a 10-year annualized real return of 5.9%.
  • Investing in equities for the long-haul when the CAPE-MA35 ratio is below 1.30 should produce reasonable returns, as this level of the ratio does not indicate an abnormally overvalued market.

The iM Tax-Efficient Seasonal ETF Switching Strategy

  • This strategy exploits the anomaly that Cyclical Sectors and Small Caps perform best from November to April, and Defensive Sectors do better from May to October during most years.
  • Three identical models starting 6 months apart are used. Each model holds only one ETF for 18 months selected by a simple ranking system from the cyclical and defensive groups.
  • The effect of this is that the combination model always has 66% of the portfolio in the “correct” direction, defensive or cyclical, and 33% in the “wrong” direction.
  • The combination model trades only twice a year, switching only one position at the end of April and end of October.
  • For the approximately 18.5 year period from end of Apr-2000 to Sep-2019 the backtest showed an annualized return of 12.3% with a maximum drawdown of -24%.

A Profitable Investment Strategy When The Yield Curve Inverts

  • An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the same credit quality is considered to be a predictor of recessions.
  • Prior to recession it is advisable to exit the stock market and invest in U.S. Treasuries instead; in this strategy using as proxies ETFs (SPY) and (IEF), respectively.
  • This model uses the 2-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury yields as measures of short-term and long-term rates, respectively, and calculates the Forward Rate Ratio (FRR2-10) between the two rates.
  • FRR2-10 is the ratio of the rate at which one can lock in borrowing for the eight year period starting two years from now and the current ten-year rate itself.
  • Currently the FRR2-10 is near 1.0 signifying that US economic activity is near the end of the expansion phase of this business cycle.