Beyond the world of the fundamental analysts at brokerages and the technical analysts at boutique research shops lies the strange and largely unexplored world of cycle analysts. While the first two groups are well-represented in major investment media, the latter are generally relegated to obscure newsletters. Yet they are far more influential on the opinions of leading investors than many people realize. And a few have posted decent forecasting records. In contrast to the fundies and technicians, whose large body of work has generated a list of widely accepted methods, there are few established norms among cycle researchers. This leaves them each to ply their trade in separate but parallel universes. When pressed on their methodologies, most either descend into jargon about harmonics, planets, 20-year loops or waves, or just clam up -- practices that satisfy their faithful but leave newcomers adrift. As you might expect, after three down weeks to start the year, some cycle watchers are flashing buy signals while others laugh off the recent softness as a mere taste of horrors to come. The current level of confusion among veteran investors who consider January a reliable month for making money makes this a most interesting time to ponder the topic of market-timing from a different perspective. In a moment, you'll briefly meet three cycle-thought leaders -- Tom McClellan, Phil Erlanger and a European astrologer I'll call ZM. But first, a few notes about their world.