Stocks & Commodities V. 28:3 (18-24): Empirical Mode Decomposition by John F. Ehlers and Ric Way

Stocks & Commodities V. 28:3 (18-24): Empirical Mode Decomposition by John F. Ehlers and Ric Way
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Empirical Mode Decomposition by John F. Ehlers and Ric Way

Is the market trending or is it in a cycle mode? Identify the mode of the market and trade accordingly.

Even the most casual chart reader will be able to spot the times when the market is cycling and other times when longer-term trends are in play. Cycling markets are ideal for swing trading. However, attempting to trade the swing in a trending market can be a recipe for disaster. Similarly, applying trend trading techniques during a cycling market can equally wreak havoc in your account. Cycle or trend modes can be identified in hindsight. But it would be useful to have an objective scientific approach to guide you to the current market mode.

A number of tools are already available to differentiate between cycle and trend modes; measuring the trend slope over the cycle period to the amplitude of the cyclic swing is one possibility. However, this article describes a unique approach to determining the market mode.


We begin by thinking of cycle mode in terms of frequency or its inverse, periodicity. The markets are fractal, so daily, weekly, and intraday charts are indistinguishable when time scales are removed. Thus, it is useful to think of the cycle period in terms of its bar count. For example, a 20-bar cycle using daily data corresponds to a cycle period of approximately one month.

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