"There is no pleasure in this." "No Joy Without Sorrow" - This is supposed to be the wise motto of George Gisze, who was Primary Trader and Director Merchant of the "Steelyard", a merchant-trading operation, set up by German merchants in London, in the early 1500's This is a portrait that George Gisze commissioned the artist Hans Holbein to create for him, in 1532, which some suspect was a gift for his future wife, whom he married in Danzig in 1535. Under the shelf, on the top left side of the painting, his motto is written using white ink on his office wall, in Latin, which looks to me like: "Nulla hiir nerore voluptas". Now, this translates as: "There is no pleasure in this.", which I think is what he really has written. If you read the academic material on this, many believe that he has written: "Nulla sine maerore voluptas", which translates as: "No joy without sorrow". But when I expand the image, the letters that start the second and third word, look like "h" and "n", not "s" and "m". You can see the long-s in the third character of his last name. There is a big bottom serif, which is not evident in the first letter of the second word. If we have "Nulla hiir nerore voluptas", we get an expression that is much more consistant with the Herr Gisze's facial expression. He is at work - in a very risk-laden business, in a foreign land, while his wife-to-be, waits for him in Danzig. He is making money, but he is not joyful. George Gisze was a senior administrator at the "Steelyard", and he was wealthy. But look at his face. He is working. This is his office. He is taking on risk. Look at the glass vase, holding the flowers. It is right at the very edge of the table - this beautiful item is placed in a weirdly dangerous location - and it calls to mind the Latin expression: "Ocassio praeceps" - "Opportunity is swift" or "Opportunity is fleeting (ie. it runs away quickly). The Latin word "praeceps" is a term that means "precipice" or cliff-edge. It comes from "prae" plus "caput", meaning head. It can mean: "headlong => rushing fast" and it can also mean "on the brink of disaster". This is a brilliant, exceptionally fine work of art. It is a picture of a man at work, in a dangerous world. It screams at us, with that delicate glass vase, in the most fragile location possible. Risk is real. It is as real as the morning sun, and as certain as the grave. " has-arrows="False">

A Merchant-Trader - circa 1532, the London "Steelyard"... He has the same look on his face, that I recall from someone who has a large position open... "Nulla hiir nerore voluptus" => "There is no pleasure in this."

"No Joy Without Sorrow" - This is supposed to be the wise motto of George Gisze, who was Primary Trader and Director Merchant of the "Steelyard", a merchant-trading operation, set up by German merchants in London, in the early 1500's This is a portrait that George Gisze commissioned the artist Hans Holbein to create for him, in 1532, which some suspect was a gift for his future wife, whom he married in Danzig in 1535. Under the shelf, on the top left side of the painting, his motto is written using white ink on his office wall, in Latin, which looks to me like: "Nulla hiir nerore voluptas". Now, this translates as: "There is no pleasure in this.", which I think is what he really has written.

If you read the academic material on this, many believe that he has written: "Nulla sine maerore voluptas", which translates as: "No joy without sorrow". But when I expand the image, the letters that start the second and third word, look like "h" and "n", not "s" and "m". You can see the long-s in the third character of his last name. There is a big bottom serif, which is not evident in the first letter of the second word. If we have "Nulla hiir nerore voluptas", we get an expression that is much more consistant with the Herr Gisze's facial expression. He is at work - in a very risk-laden business, in a foreign land, while his wife-to-be, waits for him in Danzig. He is making money, but he is not joyful.

George Gisze was a senior administrator at the "Steelyard", and he was wealthy. But look at his face. He is working. This is his office. He is taking on risk. Look at the glass vase, holding the flowers. It is right at the very edge of the table - this beautiful item is placed in a weirdly dangerous location - and it calls to mind the Latin expression: "Ocassio praeceps" - "Opportunity is swift" or "Opportunity is fleeting (ie. it runs away quickly). The Latin word "praeceps" is a term that means "precipice" or cliff-edge. It comes from "prae" plus "caput", meaning head. It can mean: "headlong => rushing fast" and it can also mean "on the brink of disaster".

This is a brilliant, exceptionally fine work of art. It is a picture of a man at work, in a dangerous world. It screams at us, with that delicate glass vase, in the most fragile location possible.

Risk is real. It is as real as the morning sun, and as certain as the grave.

[Update; Nov. 28, 2022 ] - This forecast has proved to be accurate. The AI is an amazing little device. The security in question is trading at 71 and 1/2 level. Earnings reported soon...
Here is the AI forecast, for our Target_Security, using data up to Nov. 9, 2022. This is our best model. The model is stupid, and does not take into account CPI forecasts or results. CPI in USA came in at 7.7%, when over 8% was expected. This released buy pressure, which has been building in a crazy-over-sold market. Our Target_Security (a financial) which we use for trading and testing of ideas, is up roughly 5%, tracking the up-curve in the AI's forecast. This screenshot shows results on 64-bit Linux box, with high-res screen. Click on image, to expand it. We remain long, and expect this recovery in price, to continue. What we didn't do, was put on an extra margined position, like we had done earlier. But probably we should have. We tend to err on the side of extreme caution, and this often stops us from taking trades we should probably take. The blue-line is a moving average, and the green line is the AI's forecast.

Crazy Orange "Flame" Maple tree, imaged on Oct. 11, 2022. In over 20 years here, this is the brightest orange I have ever seen the green leaves of this tree become. The colours this year, have been extreme in their beauty and intensity. Perhaps we had a "Long Golden Summer", like they had in Edwardian times, just before the "Great War" that killed so many of the Victorian English (and Canadian and Australian) young men.

We envision the weaponization of Beauty itself. The future of "generative AI" is not going to be pretty. The future itself is not likely to be very pretty. Deception becomes the future currency, in this forecast.

Forecasting - With the Latest AI - May-June 2022

Is this the forecast for the Future we face? We don't think so, but it sells records - and keeps Analysts employed, writing Analyst Reports... :)

Results below show a mid-May turning-point forecast, followed by 4 screens, which show the result of the Federal Reserve tightening, and the reversal.  Interesting experiment, but shows the difficulty of the job.   Forecasting accurately, enough to make money, remains difficult.  :)

[ May 19, 2022] We (well, our AI, actually...) are calling a bottom to the current brutal stock-market correction. It has been harsh. But we (and the AI) are taking the Buffet Approach to this. We have had the worst start to this year (by the S&P 500 in USA-land, down 17% roughly) since back to the 1940's. Seems to be a tad overdone. The inflation is being driven by *real scarcity*, not by knee-jerk price increases. This is actually a market postive - ie. the price-system doing it's job. We went hard long, all-in yesterday, and for the first time in a while, used some margin. (We typically avoid margin, like we avoid (mostly) options trading. Note: If someone can show us a good and sane way to go long the VIX, I would love to see the scheme. We have not figured out how to do that sensibly, yet.)

We post this screenshot (of our testbed equity which is not named) as public service. The AI says a turn is possible. We cannot yet put proper probabilities on this (but yes, we should determine a proper way to do that), but historically (and heuristically), this particular model seems to work the best.

And note: If Putin can be arrested, (or removed by some other means), and the illegal and horrifically stupid war in Ukraine can be ended, the market can be expected to have a serious bounce, as peace (and food surplus!) can become available again. Seriously, we think a reward of several billion US dollars (a fraction of the cost of his ugly, illegal war), should be offered to any person or group of persons that can remove that murderous criminal from his position of power. Seriously. The Osama Bin Laden reward was $20 million, IIRC, and a nice $20-billion (US dollars), for Putin's removal, might motivate a few folks with the ability, to get the job done. And the job *needs* to be done, as the World agrees it must, even if that tragic failure, the United Nations, is unable to do anything.
(Click on image to enlarge it, if you want.)

[ May 20, 2022 ] Update: Looks like another leg down in the making. We lightened up yesterday, driven by rules-of-thumb that mandate staged closure of offside positions. Oh my. Our concern, of course, is the curious lack of wisdom that we seem to see everywhere. Never in my own personal life, have I seen so much unwise action, being both proposed and implemented, by so many people and organizations, in so many places, simultaneously. It is very curious. China's "Zero Covid" policy is idiotic. Covid-19 is an airborne virus, and the Omicron variant is more contagious than a common cold. Trying to do "Zero Covid" with lockdowns, is like trying to put a fart in jail for smelling bad. It is simply moronic. China should import 3 billion doses of a proper mRNA vaccine, and give everyone three shots. We have had our three vaccines, and we are not even wearing masks anymore. Our Homeland has re-opened. If you don't want to take a vaccine, no problem. Go home and fucking die. We don't mind. Your choice, guy. This is the only sane model.

Control-Freak Governments, which disrespect Science and Human Reality, are toxic, stupid, and the obvious product of insane, mal-adjusted ignorant thugs. They are also very, very dangerous entities, which will likely bring about global war and associated economic and social destruction. Such destruction is un-necessary, and tragic, yet history shows that it seems to be baked-in, (or "hard-wired", as we techie types might say), to the human condition. Curiouser and curiouser. Maybe Bill Ackman is right - World War Three (the "Zombie War"?), looks like it has already started. The Russians are even selling T-shirts with the letter "Z" on them. Of course they are.

I suppose all I can do now, is go out and buy some more food and ammo. (I am only half-joking. We seem to have enough food, I suspect. ) I have this concern that as major down-shifts are made in the global money-supply, we might risk triggering a credit-collapse phenomenon. The result of such an event, if synchronized across several economies, could create an accellerating collapse in financial assets - like a global "run on the bank". This is, of course, an absurd and foolish outcome, which can be prevented by simply stopping doing the astonishingly stupid things that every major government seems to be doing. Just:

1) End the war in Ukraine, either by giving the Ukrainians every single weapons system we have, and/or by removing Putin. Easy.

2) Change leaders in China, and end Covid-Zero madness, and the Chinese import several billion proper Covid-19 vaccines, and immunize all their citizens with working mRNA vaccines, either Moderna or Pfizer/Biontech. ("Sinovac" does not work).

3) Engineer a return to "Free Trade" across the globe. TPP, NAFTA, whatever. Free Trade worked well. Tarrifs are abusive, economy-damaging taxes that encourage bad behaviour by junk companies and corrupt government henchmen.

4) Remove all stupid "sanctions" on every nation, everywhere. Sanctions to damage economic action, only create angry, poor, war-focused political entities. They are extremely stupid beyond belief, and should not be used. They only hurt small business, the poor, and the weak. The Cruel and the Evil governments benefit from sanctions. Remove *all* economic sanctions everywhere.

5) Engineer enlightened democracy models. Make people pay to vote. Don't want to vote? No problem. Go away. Voting should be a paid choice. You should *earn* the right to vote. Citizenship should be a high-privilege, not a right. Democracy is a good political model, but having every know-nothing doofus drive the democratic process, is insane. This engineers the expanding and dangerous "race-to-the-bottom" that we are seeing everywhere now.

6) Fix the Schools and get them back into the business of teaching *knowledge*, and not politics. End the curious "war on boys" that is encouraging boys to take on non-male (female) characteristics, allow the girls to just be girls if they want to be, and do not try to program sexual action on the young kids, as corrupt companies like Disney are trying to do. Disney should just be avoided. End all the public LGBQTxyz nonsense, and require the weirdly gruesome stuff to be a private matter, between consenting adults. Allow full sexual freedom, but end the relentless public promotion of deeply un-natural human behaviour. This is damaging the world, and creating obvious concern among the "Normies". The world should not be degraded into being a Hieronymus Bosch hell-scene. Sex and religion should be personal things that are not publically promoted as political models for kids to follow. You can be free to be as gay/dyke/trans crazy as you want to be - but we should not promote it as a lifestyle-choice to public-school children. That is just a really bad idea.

(But the promotion and proselytizing of rank weirdness and hyper-stupid behaviour - which has been going on since the 1980's - explains a great deal of the over-the-top madness and butt-faced ignorance we are seeing today, in our modern world, we suspect. No one can say this sort of thing publically, and that probably makes it all the more certain to be a key truth behind the failures and foolishness we are seeing everywhere. )

[ May 26, 2022 ] We still have all our original position in this stock, which was up $2.38 yesterday, and is up another $0.78 as I key this at 10:41 AM here on Thursday. The turn that the AI indicated last Friday, induced us to hold the main position (even if we got stopped-out of the margined part). The company (a financial major), reported very good results, and also raised it's dividend three precent, so we are, as they say in the old song: "standing pat.." Curious times. The demand for new-construction houses in our small Homeland city, is so great, that buyers for new-construction houses must enter a pool, and as houses are built, buyers are selected at random and given the chance to buy the house that is under construction. This prevents idiotic bidding wars, ensures the builders get a good and fair profit on each build, and gives every buyer a chance at a somewhat reasonable price. (Still typically in the $700,000 plus range) Just learned from a friend we met at Costco yesterday, that the pool had 38,000 folks wanting to buy a "new construction" house, a while back. The population inflow to our small, lovely urban+country region, is big and getting bigger. There are high-salary jobs available. There is pretty much zero chance of anyone in Canada defaulting on their mortgage, unless they are insane, retarded or maybe bankrupted by very bad personal decisions. The OSFI mandates big Canadian Banks to maintain ongoing AIRB risk-analysis, and the Basel III capital requirements are carefully managed and monitored, so that American-style 2008 "Financial Crisis" fraud-stupidity is unlikely to occur here. We were a poor agricultural-economy country, for most of our history. These days we are learning to be more like Switzerland, and less like Argentina. It is still difficult to teach this critical strategy to our political people, but we continue to try.

[ May 25, 2022 ] This company reported good earnings results this morning, and so the stock price is up almost 2 dollars Cdn per share. Hilarious - Yesterday, we unloaded our margined trade (but kept the main position). I feel like that guy who turns on his windshield wipers on a sunny day in his new car, and can't figure out how to turn them off: They say to the world: "Dumb Guy! ... here is a Dumb Guy!..." over and over and over. What is interesting, is that the AI seemed to catch the turn, before it happened, even if the turn was trigger by the earnings beat. Buy stock. Make money... (or maybe not, eh?) That's ok, but I hate like hell to miss a turn, especially when it was handed to me by the technology, the technical factors, and the improving fundamentals, here in "Fortress North America." Dumb guy indeed.

[ May 24, 2022 ] - It will be a choppy time, we fear. It appears that bad results have leaked out, we suspect. Difficult times for everyone. We note that Credit-Swiss has now picked up coverage on Canadian Banks - their Analyst has put market-positive ratings on the Big Six - which probably in part accounts for their ugly weakness today. The professional Analysts are always wrong, for some curious reason, we find. God help the poor bastards who are holding "funds" and such - and losing 2% fees as well as the +20% losses that the sector (and the world) is now taking. All around this broken World, we are seeing Government henchmen try to hijack the profits of successful enterprises, since the finances of most Governments are so truly awful. The dangers that confront us now are manifest, from a global synchronized collapse in asset values, to the Third World War, (which we have better get moving on, unless we are keen to *lose* it!). We are certain now, that all-out war with Russia is inevitable. The idea in warfare, is to win, not to lose. We seem to have leaders that are seeking to have a minor, loss-making war, while Russia is showing a dangerous willingness to go "all in". We need stronger, more effective leaders, who are able to see the extreme danger this madness represents, and respond accordingly. (Note: I have been impressed with our Mr. Trudeau. He has shown courage and resolve, and has offered some serious weaponry to Ukraine. Good for him. He is maturing as a Leader. We may be OK. But we might also need to put the entire Dominion under arms, which is going to be interesting - and difficult.) The real problem is the USA. The Americans are in turmoil, and need to send out clear, focused messages. It is a time for unity, strength, and resolve. So far, this has not really been evident. We re-iterate, that *sanctions* will have counter-productive effects, and will *strengthen* not weaken, the propensity for Russia to behave in an outrageous and beligerent manner. Russia needs to remove Putin - but they have no way of doing so, short of using a Tokarev 7.62x25mm vote of non-confidence. They face difficult and uncertain times - as do we all.

[ May 23, 2022 ] Looks like the forecast might be working.

Here is quicky screen-shot of the actual May26th price series of close-values, for our testbed security. We remained fully-invested, but got stopped out of a small 1000 share margined position. See below for May19th predictive forecast, from our AI model. The security in question (for our investment & research purposes) is a Canadian Bank. Curious times call for non-traditional strategies - but the old guys from back in the 1970's would have felt quite comfortable with what we are doing. The market always gives a hint of what is to come. Not sure why, but it just does.
June 1, 2022 Update: Seems to be tracking true. The AI is better than me, and most of the Analyst folks. Curious and curiouser.

This is June 7, 2022 forecast, prepared using the data up to June 6, 2022, for our PRIMARY-position equity investment. The AI successfully called the turn, which as any quant researcher (or market hacker), will tell you is not an easy thing to do. We have a non-trivial amount of this stock, in a couple of different portfolios. It's a position that has been ticking along well, despite the ups and downs. - M.

[June 15, 2022 update: Volatile times. Federal Reserve 75 basis point uplift, rocks the mkt. We actually expect rising rate-of-return on capital (nominal) across the board, and expect equity positions to show uplift. (Contrary to the usual IS-LM models which assume demand destruction.) But so far, we are getting no joy. Harsh times. Life during wartime? ... perhaps... We will let you know how it plays out. We remain long.]

Here is the June 10, 2022 forecast. This is the "Acid Test" - we see if this approach can help us navigate the coming "Dimon Hurricane", which looks to be on our doorstep now. The World will endure some complex phenomenon over the next couple of months. FD (Full Disclosure): We are holding our positions in our "Testbed" position here, since on balance, it seems to be indicated. Bonds offer nothing anywhere near inflation levels, and well-run Financials (banks) should be able to profit by the operational characteristics of the evident inflation. In early times (1960s and 1970s), bonds were often termed: "Certificates of Capital Confiscation", as their prices fell as inflation took hold, and interest-rates (both market-set and bank-rates) were dialed up in response. And the AI-model still says re-trace is expected in equity price here. The actual price closed below 82 on Friday, with the AI forecasting 86. This is the machine-generated forecast using data up to an including June 10, 2022. Of course, it might be far-off wrong. We are happy if it just gets the sign right. And we already have the "Rancho." :) [Click on image to expand it.]

June 18, 2022. Our experiment with the AI has been a bit grim - after 4 falling datapoints, even the AI has to throw in the towel, and the forecast curve has turned down. We have one model which still shows an upward turning "green curve" forecast, but this has been the best model, and although it is forecasting prices above the June 17th close price, the curve is now pointing downward, which is a significant swing. We remain long, and feel the reactive response to the USA Federal Reserve rate increase has resulted in an "oversold" market. There are very few attractive investments out there now, but we feel this Canadian bank remains one of them. We even took on a little wee bit of margin, to add to our position, since this stock is coming up on an ex-dividend date, and we believe the current price represents an attractive opportunity. But it is not without risk.

Forecasting is Difficult - Previous Efforts

This forecast did not work so good. It was basically, just wrong.

But shortly after this one, the AI model turned up. We traded, but remained long, and have done ok. The model seems to work, even in times of madness.

Mar. 17, 2022 - With the exception of some sale-and-repurchase actions, the AI model has kept us all-in "long" in this diffcult and somewhat insane market.   This has worked well, for us.  We truly grasp the value of computer-assisted methods, as they can demonstrate what appear to be very unwise & counter-intuitive action, which has consistantly been useful and has offered actionable, postive-outcome advice.

The Putin terror-and-murder-campaign in Ukraine is cruel, tragic, illegal and we believe now (seriously) to be the actions of an evil man who is insane and suffering from multiple levels of dementia.   We hope the Russians can disable this abusive lunatic, before the World has to.

What is astonishing, is that we have made money (using the AI, and acting on it's picture-of-the-world-to-be) throughout this episode of tragic insanity.

But it causes us real pain, to see this tragedy unfold.  It is as profoundly stupid, cruel and driven by dishonesty, as it was unnecessary.   Putin must be arrested, and handed over to the World Court in the Hague, for prosecution.   The reward for doing this, has become substantial.

Jan. 13, 2022 -  The AI just keeps point up.  Going into monetary tightening, we can not be certain that banks will make more money.  The valuation of financial stocks is based on their asset values - and if mortgage rates move up, the price of houses will move down.  And the old models based on fundamentals, suggest bank stocks plateau & then turn down.   The market does not seem to be discounting this at all, quite yet.  It's trading on technical momentum now.  It's looking insane - but the AI says the trend is hard positive.   AI is right, and I am wrong.  Fack.

Here is My Chemical Romance, doing a fine cover of Dylan's "Desolation Row"... 


Dec. 15, 2021 -  Forecasting is difficult - especially about the future. 

It turns out to be almost (but not quite) impossible.    The future remains a terra-incognita, until we arrive there, in our small, wet time machines.

Much about the future can be guessed by looking at how the past played out.   This is obvious.  And there are physical, cyclic processes, which help - such as the orbit of the tilted-Earth, around the sun.  It is not too difficult to forecast cold, snowy days in winter, and warm, sunny days in summer.  The trick, of course, is to forecast spring and fall - ie. when to plant, and when to harvest.   Those who could do that well, became the rulers and/or priests, in ancient-world societies.

Investment efforts are aided by successful attempts to forecast - but only if one bets money on the outcome.  Investments or speculations that require accurate forecasts to be successful, are fraught with real risk. 

If speculating, one must accept the usefulness of forecasts, only lightly, and be willing to jettison the forecast, if it turns out to be wrong - and even if it is just beginning to look like it might be wrong. 

The future is basically unknowable - except when specific physical properties are evident, that can be carefully assessed, documented, and the underlying mathematics crafted to define and then solve, the relevant equations of motion.  And even then, you might still be wrong just a little bit, and that might be enough to ruin the usefulness of your forecasting efforts.  Your guided missile or your rocket-ship misses the target, fails to achieve correct orbital insertion, and either crashes, or zooms off into deep space, for a million-year voyage before impacting a neutron-star.

So, beware of forecasts.   Even a good, very accurate one, can destroy you.


Predicting Freak-Out!!

Bad Results are Always Possible. But are they really programmed in?

Sept. 29, 2021 - Forecasting is a bit of a Fool's Project.  It falls into that class of tasks that really cannot be done successfully & consistantly, if humans are involved in determining the future results.

But we try anyway, since the rewards for a successful forecast can be very substantial, if initial decisions are taken on the basis of the forecast, and events play out as expected.

I've been reviewing the MIT note about "Panic Selling", and the use of a neural-network model to forecast - based on client demographic and ethonographic characteristics - the likelihood that a particular client would "freak out" and dump his/her entire portfolio, during times of rapid decay of price level in the market.

The whole effort is difficult, and the study does not indicate if they are dis-aggregating the portfolio data sufficiently, to make their market assumptions.   You really need to look at individual holdings, on a client by client basis - not just overall aggregate market performance.  Most academic studies of the stock market are actually quite worthless - unless the analyst-researchers take the time and effort (and considerable effort is required, to do this sort of thing correctly) to examine - and price track - the price-and-quantity held valuation evolution of the portfolio over time.   This is complex and difficult to do.

But this study is interesting, in that the researchers had monthly portfolio details on roughly 600,000 clients, over a period from 2003 to 2015 (inclusive) so 13 years of monthly data,  by portfolio holdings.  One is looking at an almost 94 million record dataset, where each data-element is a table of price and quantity holdings.

The study indicates a cross-entropy training objective and a gradient-descent training approach, which is pretty much the same as what we use for our Xerion model.  Their neural net models used 5 hidden layer and 15 hidden layer nets of 60 neurons in each layer.  They draw their market data from Yahoo-Finance as we do also.   Their objective is to attempt to predict what they term "panic selling" events, where the client liquidates his/her portfolio, due to adverse market conditions.  They used 6 month lags, and their demographic profile made use of age, gender, marital status, number of dependents, self-declared investment knowledge, and occupational group.

The 5-layer network converged 3150th step. The 15-layer net converged after the 2650th step.  The logistic classifier was manually terminated at the 8000th step.

The study determined that those who are most likely to "freak out" and panic-sell all or most of their stock holdings tend to be over 45, male, and business owners with good or excellent self-declared investment knowledge.

To us, these results are not surprising, and are interesting, in that they incorporate the use of a simple (yet effective) neural-network.  The 5 layer network and the 15 layer network both had slightly better predictive ability than the Logistic Regression approach (also tried.)  (We like logistic regression.)

Market factors, such as the lagged series of the 20-day S&P 500 volatility, the 60-day S&P 500 volatility, and the volatility of the S&P trading volume, are the best predictors of panic selling.

The study concludes, indicating that the data suggests that panic selling in normal market conditions is harmful to the median retail investor, but is not harmful, and marginally beneficial, in environments of sustained market decline as it is shown to prevent further losses and protect the client's capital. 

Copy of this study available at:  https://ssrn.com/abstract=3898940

Forecasting & Prediction => Hacking the Future, for Fun and Profit! Can we forecast the future price of stocks? Sometimes. We can't know exactly - but we can make projections based on existing current and historical knowledge. There is always uncertainty, as the future of human activities cannot be known for certain.

But I can forecast a high probability of the sun rising tomorrow, based on the expectation of the continued revolving of the Earth. And I can forecast when Spring planting should occur, if I can know the current position of the tilted Earth, as it orbits the Sun, and can count days, and make use of a calendar created by careful past observations.

A circle of stones, and a line of stones that indicates sun-position on the horizon, at the various northern and southern limits of the sunrise or sunset positions, and some sort of counting/recording tool (perhaps lines scratched on a large rock) is a sufficient astronomical observatory for the purposes of calendar-creation. Once I have the range of sunrise positions on the horizon, I can successfully and with accuracy predict the seasons - and the seasonal changes in temperature and weather.

The obvious cycles and rotations in nature, allow meaningful, accurate and actionable predictions to be made about what future events will occur, and when they will occur, and what should be done to exploit them (ie. plant crops in Spring, time your night-time attack on your enemies with the rising of the bright moon, etc.)

Prediction of astronomical events is profoundly possible - and can be actionably useful - even with very simple tools available to everyone. One need only observe carefully, and see what is actually taking place - over and over, again and again.

Effective Forecasting

Fortuna Turns Her Great Wheel. What Shall We Gain? How Shall We Feel?

We Cannot Really Forecast  - The Future is Uncertain.  (But We Still Try...)

We cannot really forecast the future.  We can make projections, and we can forecast the locations of the planets and stars, if we know the physics of their motion (mass, velocity, gravitational constants, etc.) but once human decisions are involved, or complex non-linear phenomenon are evident, forecasting is not really possible.

But we still can get benefit, by at least getting a sense of in which direction things will move.  And if you can assess the movement of prices of quality securities, you can at least determine when they are cheap and when they are dear, and with basic economic modelling, one can determine that the purchase of good quality securities, at times of attractive market conditions, at attractive (ie. cheap!) prices, can be a viable investment strategy.

And market dynamics will let you determine, some "rules of thumb" (heuristics) about the movement of asset prices in a competitive marketplace, where information flows determine price directions.

Jessie Livermore did some very similar work with his "Pivotal Point" charting, using two prices of related securities, creating a third synthetic "Key Price" (just  a linear combo of his two tracked stocks), and then using red and blue ink, and pencils to document the price movements of all three price series over time, depending on how they tracked.    This model is detailed in his little monograph "How to Trade in Stocks", original published in 1940, shortly before he shot and killed himself in the washroom of his favourite restaurant, November 28th, 1940.  

His "Pivotal Point" approach is actually a fine little algorithm.  And using two related price-series, combined with a synthetic third series - and tracking how they evolve thru time, is a clever and insightful methodology for several reasons.  

Also, one should know that Livingstone had millions in cash in his apartment when he died.   His second wife - Harriet - was an interesting person - she had been married 4 times before, and each time, each one of her previous husbands had committed suicide. (!!?)  Jessie's suicide was number 5 in a sequence.  It is profoundly curious and interesting that this clever fellow, who had great facility with numbers, and had successfully developed techniques which let him understand and see how price-series-data evolved thru time - could be so blind to this lethal dataset sequence that lay behind this woman he married. 

I was curious, did some reading - and found out that this woman insisted that Jessie call her every hour on the hour each day, "just to let her know he was safe".   That provided some insight.

Livingstone didn't kill himself over money.  I suspect he was just number 5 in a sequence.  Once a person gets an algorithm that works really well, it is unrealistic to expect them not to apply it, if it is still working.  The evidence suggests Harriet had an algorithm.  According to one of the Livingstone biographies, when Harriet was informed of her husband's death, she removed several large shopping bags full of cash (well over $1 million, is the estimate) from their New York apartment, and took it away in a cab, along with her jewelry, to an undisclosed address.   We have no explicit knowledge of what drove Livingstone to suicide, and although he left a long note in his notebook, it does not seem to have been preserved or published anywhere.  Information in one of his biographies indicates it dwelt on the theme of failure over and over.

A Simple Rule for Market-Price Forecasting: 


If you are forecasting and then using this information for trading, recognize that you are swimming in dangerous seas of randomness, and you must nuture and protect your own emotional stability and peace-of-mind at all costs.  You will have losses.  You will have bad times and reversals.  How you handle these will determine - to a large degree - how successful your outcomes will ultimately be.  Bet carefully, hedge if you need to, and keep your life and your actions, and your mind itself, under gentle, yet firm control.   Remove and/or restrict anything that threatens to damage or degrade your emotional balance and mental well-being.   This is the most important rule of all.


The Great "Wheel of Fortune" will turn.  And even when you see and forecast successfully how it will turn and what will occur - you may still make errors, have technical problems, be misled or cheated, and fail to profit.  You may be shredded by an exogenous variable that cannot be foreseen.  It may be a virus, a war, a bandit gang, a military coup, an earthquake, or a jealous lover. 

But guys (and gals), at the very least - apply the same discipline to your emotional life as you apply in your work, just for your own safety.    I would forecast that it might be unwise to hook-up with a mate who had a string of suicides in their previous marriages.   One or two is bad, three is pretty clearly a pattern, and OMG, 4 is right out!  Run the other way! 

Do whatever you have to do, to maintain your own emotional balance, and mental stability.  You will need it in your trading.   It is a critical and necessary part of what will let you be successful.  

Reserve part of your day, for things that are relaxing, and keep your mind calm and on an even keel.  Stay cool, and try to take some enjoyment in watching the cycles turn, and the wild storms of randomness lash rain against your windows.   Make sure you live somewhere you like, and are with someone who understands you and is good for you.   In your inner heart, you know whether or not this is the case.  I often made changes or took decisions that seemed very un-economic (eg. leaving the City, buying a farm, and settling on it to live).  I did this because I just wanted to.   I suspect it has probably saved my life, perhaps several times over.  

I like where I am, and what I am doing - and I realize this is something many people cannot say.  I find this curious.  But the rational economist in me says:  "No, you are fine and rational.  You simply, wisely, factored in psychic costs and benefits.  This was not an irrational choice, despite the lower level of financial gain it implied - as the psychic benefits are profoundly valuable."

Your own peace-of-mind is the most valuable asset you possess.  Guard it carefully, and value it correctly.   😀

And recognize that the Future is beset by uncertainty, and that the key forecast you can make, is simply:  All men are mortal.  These means we will die, within the span of a typical human lifetime.  So, long-range forecasts and long-term investments are questionable things.

Move in the direction of that which looks good, attractive, and that shows quality.  And move away from that which is unattractive, bad, and shows lack of quality.   This simply algorithm will help you a lot, if you can put it into daily practice!

[ Sept. 23, 2021] - Market Swings very positive, up over 544 points on the DJIA as I key this. US Fed has said it will soon begin to taper bond purchases, and Evergrande has said it will pay interest on its bonds. It seems any forecast gets hit now, just wait a few days... :) But this AI generated forecast was not very useful.

[ Update: Sept. 21, 2021: This played badly. Market collapsed in response (most say) to expected default of a major Chinese property development company - Evergrande. We expect this latest fiasco will not be serious.

[ Sept. 20, 2021] The forecast was not right. Mkt tracked opposite of this expectation indicated here. A nice try, but it was simply wrong. Mkt moved down, instead. :/

[ Sept. 15, 2021] Actually, fcst is showing slight upward bias.

[ Sept. 14, 2021] Tracking flat to down. Not a nice month or time of year. The massive Biden tax increases, coupled with the unwise expansion of more extreme leftist entitlement costs in USA, has to weigh on the American world. The spectacular debacle of the Afghan collapse and surrender to the Taliban has also badly tarnished the image of "American Power". The world has been shown - clearly, without ambiguous messaging being possible - that American power and influence is on the decline. These two factors, combined with rising commodity prices, material shortages and still-lethal Covid infections mutating rapidly, suggests it will be difficult to maintain an upward-trending market in US shares. Defensive postions in dividend-paying stocks seems to be indicated now, more than ever.

Bonds are again perhaps poised to become "certificates of capital confiscation" as they were known back in the 1970's, in the times of high-inflation and rising rates. The model still has a tiny upward bias, but it likely will not tonite, when after we run it, with today's numbers. FD: We remain full invested a mixed basket of telecoms and financials. Why? For the money, of course. We are getting yields of 5 to 6 percent, and we expect these to continue for the foreseeable future.

One key point: Today, as the markets experienced across-the-board weakness, we note Bitcoin is currently quoted up $1,894 per coin, to $46,570, a 4.24% upmove. This makes Bitcoin curiously attractive, due to it's *negative* correlation with the movement in share prices (down 308 on Dow-Jones 30, -0.88%). If you are running a big portfolio, Bitcoin, just because of its inverse price correlation, is basically what you are looking for, since share prices now all seem to move together. Bitcoin reminds me a bit of the old idea of "God" - a rather silly idea, with serious implementation issues, but so useful that it's very non-existence mandated it's invention. :)

[ Sept. 1, 2021 ] - updated forecast for our testbed security. We tweaked the parameters, more restrictive assumptions, slight changes, updated program, re-ran forecast, and we still get the up-pointing vector.

Does the AI know something we don't? Not possible. But we have man vs. machine thing happening here, it appears. I consider this a rather dangerous time, and have trepidation and concern. The traditional technical patterns looks negative - head-and-shoulders formations, failure to break thru obvious resistance levels, an unattractive time of year (September is often an ugly month) and monetary conditions - which while still attractive, suggest that the future holds less-attractive conditions, 6 to 12 to 18 months out (the time-frame locus that the market generally trades upon), so all in all, caution and a possible shift in market-position structure seems indicated - and the market price weakness we see each day, that seems to confirm this somewhat negative thesis. And add to this witches-brew of concern, the ugly and dishonest actions of the Americans in Afghanistan, and one gets a strong feeling to pull out of the market for a while.

And yet, this AI model says, yes, all that is priced-in. This stuff represents ownership of a wildly-profitable, low-risk business, that is still growing, has global opportunities, and is throwing out almost 5% in reasonably hard-currency cash. Even if it fluctuates 5 or 10%, it is a
fine holding. And it has built a base from which new buyers will have to bid the price up, if they want to take positions. (This is not the AI - just the counter-argument I would make, if I was attempting to make that thesis.) The AI just looks a prices and patterns.

FD: (Full Disclosure): We remain significantly long here, as the dividend stream is attractive, and the local economy seems to be ticking along at a good, stable crusing speed, and we run our portfolios typically with very little, or no, debt or "gearing". This allows us to sleep at night, and also to take advantages of opportunities, if and when they appear. We find - even with the technology - it is difficult to forecast the future with significant accuracy.

Who would have expected a buffoon like Joe Biden, to execute such a fool-stupid strategy in Afghanistan? It is one of the most stupid, tragic and awful things I have ever seen play out - far worse and with more far-reaching consequences than the Vietnam defeat. But it teaches us clearly, so many things. You simply CANNOT TRUST what American authorities say. Their entire world changes every election-cycle. Their political-people will say and do anything to win the elections, and their legal systems and administrative processes are hostage to this reality.

We must ALWAYS remain aware of this. This reality allows American markets to be dynamic and flexible in operation, as both opportunity and danger dance together in a never-ending demonic waltz. Dance with this process, and both wealth and disaster are possible. But don't expect any sort of long or even medium-term stability.

Everyone has to understand this now. The only real integrity that is possible, seems to come from private companies and their agents, who have a deep and real desire to operate with honesty, and with the necessary long-term planning horizon to allow real results to be accomplished. The business of America is business. It is what they do honestly, and well (mostly). It's the politics (like here in Canada also), that is so badly broken. We all have this problem now, sadly.

But our model - and our medium and long-term picture of the world, advocates remaining long, all-in. And so we are.

Stay tuned... We will see how the plays...

[ Update: Sept. 21, 2021: It played badly. Market collapsed in response (most say) to expected default of a major Chinese property development company - Evergrande. We expect this latest fiasco will not be serious.

Ram-headed god Khnemu: "Well, thank-you Ptolemy. The Gold Balls are very nice. But I was rather hoping for some Bitcoin and an equity position."

Ptolemy-V: "Well, Khnemu, we think the markets are really stretched now, and the Seers - and the old grey Analysts - seem to think it's all about to break down in a rather ugly fashion. We thought you might be happier with the gold, since - you know - you live forever, right?"

This is where I live. Many years ago, I sold my downtown Condo in the City, and bought a farm. Most of what you see, in this picture, is my land. It is good land. This has turned out to be a very good decision. I could not forecast "Covid-19" and the 2008 "Financial Crisis', but I could determine that urban-life was not healthy, was not nice, and I was not happy in the City. Rule 7 was applied, and it worked well.

Below, I describe the results of a real-time experiment, where we tried to forecast the track of an equity price, during September, 2021. It did not work very well, as the market swung with significant volatility. But it did encourage us to remain fully invested, long financial stocks. This has been a trade that has been working well for almost two decades now. And as of late September 2021, it is still working.

C_Machine AI forecast for testbed equity position, Sept. 16, 2021. Still slight positive upward bias. FD: We remain fully invested, all in. (Hurts a bit. My "inner trader" wants to trade technical...)

[ Sept. 20, 2021] - My cynical "inner trader" beats the AI, hands down. The inner-voice demanding I trade on technical patterns, is growing more insistant. It is an interesting real-time experiment. The chart above shows a disturbing, classic "head-and-shoulders", a negative pattern, which suggests decay in future price prospects. Today, market opens down 550 points on the DJIA, and no news stories - just Fed chatter and more disaster stories of the failing Biden White House. Some pundit-poltroons assert the market is getting contagion from the Evergrande implosion (a bogus China real-estate investment company - We've always said it's bogus, since all land in China is owned by the Reds. "Real-estate" in China is pure bogus, a big house built on the sand of Communist deception. But that had to be priced in already. The meltdown today is a North-Am thing, more based on season than Sezchuan. We have such serious "idiots-in-charge" problem in both Canada and USA. We cannot blame China for our failures here. Really, it's just that America seems dangerously off the rails, and the political collapse is now being mirrored in the market.

The AI's mechanical focus is missing the decaying "spirit-of-the-times". Perhaps I need to include a "zeitgeist" parameter?? :/

Stock certificates and Bonds that are worthless - except as economic history artifacts.

To forecast economic valuation levels: Forecast a future value of zero. Your forecast will eventually be correct.

(I found these among my dead father's legacy material...)

Namazu - the mythical giant catfish that was thought to cause terrible earthquakes and tsunami waves - approaches Edo Japan, and the Builders, Construction workers, and Brothel owners and their women, celebrate because of the fountain of gold koban coins that will shower down upon them. Destruction meant death and poverty to many, but wealth & good fortune to others, who could profit from the disaster and the necessary rebuilding work. The future is uncertain, but people do not really change much at all. That is how we can often forecast what will happen, once we know what actually IS happening.

One can safely and accurately forecast that the sun will rise next morning. But *YOU* may not. Remember this.