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To determine the optimal number of states in a HMM is indeed an intricate one. Please have a look at the following paper: The Number of Regimes Across Asset Returns: Identification and Economic Value by M. Gatumel and F. Ielpo (2011) From the abstract: A shared belief in the financial industry is that markets are driven by two types of regimes. Bull ...


I don't understand how technical indicators are at all relevant to the question. State probabilities can be generated directly from the returns if the model is known. There is no need to guess at heuristic trading rules based on technical indicators. Let $r_t$ be the return at time $t$. Your model is $E\{r_t | s_t=i\} \sim N(\mu_i,\sigma^2_i), i=0,1$ ...

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