Celebrating W.D. Gann’s 144th Birthday
Who Was W.D. Gann?
On June 6th 1878, 144 years ago, W.D. Gann was born on a farm outside Lufkin Texas. While starting from humble beginnings selling newspapers and cigars on a train, Gann’s interest in finance began while overhearing his customers regularly engage in conversations about the finance markets. After working for brokerages in New York, and making a name for himself by successfully predicting the 1907 market panic in stocks, Gann began his own firm in 1908. Around this time, Gann made what some believe to be his biggest discovery—the Master Time Factor.
Dedicated to studies and the expansion of his knowledge, Gann invested years reviewing records found in the Astor Library in New York, and in the British Museum of London, some going back as far as 1820. It’s from these observations Gann began working with natural cycles.
Gann combined mathematics, geometry, and cyclical analysis (including his discovery of the importance of the 144-time count) to consistently make a profit during some of the most volatile market environments of the day.
Gann wrote his first book in 1910, “Speculation, a profitable profession”, and began publishing his famous newsletters, which included projections so accurate they were reported on by prominent journalists of the day.
W.D. Gann Makes Headlines
Below are some excerpts from an article published in The Morning Telegraph on Sunday, December 17, 1922, titled ‘Gann Foretold Run of Stocks’ by Mr Arthur Angy, Financial Editor of the North Side News:
Mr Gann predicted a big decline for the month of November. He said in the 1922 forecast – “November 10 – 14 panicky break”.
During this period stocks suffered a severe decline, many falling by 10 points or more in four days…
I found his 1921 forecast so remarkable that I secured a copy of his 1922 stock forecast in order to prove his claims for myself.
Now, at the closing of the current year … I am more than amazed by the results of Mr Gann’s remarkable predictions based on pure science and mathematical calculations.
Mr W.D. Gann says the trouble with most chart makers is that they work with only one factor – space movements or charts that record one to two points up or down – whereas there are three or more factors to be considered: space, volume and time.
The most vital is time.
Click here to read a full version of the article’s text.
One of Gann’s most prominent articles was published in the Ticker and Investment Digest (1909), where the magazine’s staff followed Gann’s entry and exit strategies over the course of a month. Time and time again Gann demonstrated his precise forecasts for turning points.
The end result, after 286 transactions (both long and short), was 264 profitable trades and a doubling of capital 10 times over his starting value.
When Gann was queried about how he achieved results, he spoke of a gravitational centre, a mathematical force each stock or commodity resonated with, something he called the Law of Vibration.
Click here to read a full version of the article’s text.
Gann Shares His Knowledge
In 1929, as the great depression was getting underway, many prominent investors, industrialists, blue-collar workers leveraging bank loans into shares, suffered significant losses on the stocks and commodities markets. Gann’s techniques allowed him to predict one of the largest market crashes seen and profit from it as well.
Over the years Gann published many books. One of the best known is his novel “Tunnel Through the Air” which some believe holds the key to his discoveries hidden within the storyline. Gann also wrote “45 Years in Wall Street” (published 1949) which is still considered by many an essential book for budding traders to read.
“I am now in my 72nd year; fame would do me no good. I have more income than I can spend for my needs, therefore, my only object in writing this new book is to give others the most valuable gift possible KNOWLEDGE! If a few find their way to make safer investments my object will have been accomplished and satisfied readers will be my reward.”
(Gann, W.D., 45 Years in Wall Street, Lambert-Gann Publishing Co., Pomeroy, WA, 1949, Forward, p2.)
Over his life, Gann published more than 16 books in hope that sharing all he learned would assist in the success of others. In recognition of his work, Gann was awarded with an honourable membership in the Mark Twain Society.
Later in his life, Gann became one of the first private owners of an aeroplane in the United States, using it to inspect crops, or on his regular travels to South America. He would also travel across the country hosting seminars, publishing newsletters and courses that went into intricate detail on how he successfully forecast turns in market trend.
In 1941 he became a member of the prestigious Chicago Board of Trade.
At the age of 77, after reportedly accumulating over 50 million dollars in personal wealth, Gann died on June 18, 1955.
Gann’s Continued Legacy
While Gann’s era involved hand charting, stock tickers, and manual analysis of a small bundle of stocks and commodities, today’s investor has access to near-limitless amounts of information. Complex analysis can be accomplished in seconds rather than days, thanks to charting software such as Optuma. Cycles analysis of 144 trading days, calendar days, weeks, months, all done with a few clicks of the mouse.
For Technical Analysts using Gann techniques, the importance of the 144-time count is a foundational principle used in cycles analysis to identify possible turning points in market trend.
For over 25 years, our team at Optuma have seen countless examples of Gann’s various techniques implemented successfully by investors around the world. Whether it’s using cycles such as the 144-time count to forecast market peaks and troughs, to Gann Swing charts cutting out market noise to better determine the market’s overall trend, or referencing target prices via Gann’s famous Square of 9—Gann’s discoveries have stood the test of time.
We believe Gann’s legacy is not something restricted to the past. By using technology Gann could only dream of at the time, his methods are used and adapted as a foundation for new tools and indicators and successfully applied to today’s markets.
We continue to work with Gann Experts to find and implement new tools and indicators based on Gann’s timeless theories, but shaped by new technologies and innovations. With each update we release to Optuma GannTrader there is something new for our clients to explore and benefit from, and we are excited to see what the future will bring.
For now, all of us “Gann Fans” here at Optuma (pun intended) celebrate W.D. Gann’s 144th birthday.
Mathew Verdouw, CMT, CFTe
CEO / Founder Optuma
As a Computer Systems Engineer, Mathew started Market Analyst within 18 months of completing his degree. From that point on, Mathew has made it his mission to build the very best software tools available.
Since 1996 Mathew has been learning about all aspects of financial analysis and in 2014 earned the CMT designation (Chartered Market Technician). In 2015, he was also awarded the CFTe designation. As someone who has dedicated his life to find better ways to analyse financial markets, Mathew is set to drive innovation in this sector for many years to come.