Reuters Forecaster: Equity Bull Run in the Cards Sunday December 1, 9:10 pm ET By Nick Edwards HONG KONG (Reuters) - Former Wall Street executive John Michel doesn't look like your typical fortune teller -- he doesn't wear flowing robes and there's no crystal ball in his briefcase -- but his business is built on forecasting the future. Michel, president and chief executive of Bullrun Financial, says the sophisticated market modeling system his firm has developed can help make fortunes for clients. "This is a tactical product. It tries to give clients an opportunity to see what's happening in markets before the markets really see it. The value of tactical allocation is in its timeliness," New Jersey-based Michel, an ex-U.S. Army Captain and Merrill Lynch banker, said during a recent visit to Hong Kong. Bullrun generally gives clients a three-month future-cast of where markets are headed based on a complex time series analysis of macroeconomic and company specific data that goes back to 1980 and generates buy and sell signals for some 10,000 stocks in 30 countries. It's more sophisticated than technical analysis based on stock charts and supports a full range of equity investment strategies and portfolio allocations. And it says that stocks are at a turning point. "Our data is saying that global markets are turning positive and that they are coming off the bottom," Michel told Reuters, pointing to a series of leading indicators on a projection screen during a demonstration at the firm's Hong Kong office. RIGHT OR WRONG? Most of the world's leading stock benchmarks have posted double digit gains since the end of the third quarter on September 30, the worst quarter for equities in 15 years. Throw up the technical charts for these key indices -- the S&P 500 (CBOE:^SPX - News), the FTSE 100 (London:^FTSE - News), the MSCI World (.CIWL=USD) -- and the indicators say they are close to overbought. But Michel stands by his data. "We're not always right in our predictions -- we're probably more often wrong than we're right -- but we're right strongly enough to be adding alpha (profit) to our client's portfolios," he said. More than 50 fund firms around the world are testing or using the US$50,000 a shot system, including Alliance Capital, the U.S.-based asset manager that has some US$369 billion under management and was one of the firms that helped get Bullrun Financial out of the blocks in 2000. That was just in time for the biggest bear market in decades, but Michel is confident that the system's powerful graphical analysis and signaling capability is what both institutional asset managers and retail financial advisers need. "We've done a lot of work on how people absorb information and analyze information," he said, highlighting a series of style monitoring icons that give graphical labels to stock performance in the appropriate market vernacular. The icons range from "Bomb," "Stumbler" and "Sinker" to "Rocket," "Climber" and "Jumper" with a "Valley" and a "Mountain" also in the mix. "You might have thought the names were humorous, but they are the terms that people really use. You find out a lot about people with a project like this," Michel said.