There are many different approaches to timing the market. The most common approach is to study the charts of the indexes and consider things such as support and resistance levels, overbought and oversold indicators, sentiment, and so on.
Basically, it is a process of considering the big picture and then trying to come up with some predictions as to what may happen next.
When stocks are all moving in tandem with each other, this approach works quite well. Exchange-traded funds and computer programs tend to drive the action, and individual stock picking doesn't much matter. A focus on macro matters is likely to help provide an edge.
I use a more micro approach to timing the market. What I want to see is that valuation, fundamentals, and stock picking is working. In my view, the essence of a bull market is that stocks with good fundamentals and charts are rewarded with sustained positive action. That is all that really matters.
In the current market, this micro approach is even more relevant because there is such a wide disparity in various areas of the market. I expect to see stock picking to start to improve in some of the worst groups like biotechnology, growth, and small caps while the indices continue to send unclear signals.
Right now, we have very elevated volatility, because the entire focus is on macro matters like inflation, the Fed, and the economy. No one cares very much if a stock has good news because it isn't the primary thing that is causing movement.
When stock picking works for more than a few days, and there is some sustained upside, that will be the signal that the market is bottoming.