Monday, 29 December 2008
- My trading setup for the NASDAQ 100 remains in cash for the second week. Interestingly, the small traders in NASDAQ 100 futures and options have suddenly gone ballistic in their bullish positioning. They've never been so optimistic, in fact, since the beginning of the data in 1996. Their net position is now a record 3.02 standard deviations above the moving average I use for this setup, as a percentage of the total open interest. This, of course, is a bad sign. The small traders in this market tend to be wrongly positioned at market turns. Oh-oh.
- Gold, my other fully tested trading setup (see more here), has also gone to cash for this week after a five-week bullish run. This is based on the large speculator total open interest (long plus short positioning) growing to excessive extremes that in my past testing have tended to signal falls in the gold price.
- My trading setup for silver is also bearish. In fact, silver commercial traders are now 2.1 standard deviations below their moving average in their net positioning as a percentage of the total open interest.
Hope you had a good holiday week. Good luck this week and best wishes for a Happy New Year!
TAGS: S&P 500, SPX, NASDAQ 100, NDX, gold, silver, COT, Commitments of Traders, derivatives, Black Swans, market timing, trading system development, CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, COTs Timer, out-of-sample testing, walk-around testing
Portfolio update: Also, just updated my portfolio page with data from my current positioning based on my COTs Timer system.
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
My gold setup uses two groups of traders to come up with long, short or cash calls. It's been in the market only 44 percent of the time since 1995, yet beat gold handily. If the two traders don't agree, the setup goes to cash. The first signal fades (trades opposite to) the large speculators when their net percentage-of-open-interest position hits extremes of positioning. It has no trade delay. This setup remains bullish this week. The second signal fades the large specs when their total open interest hits positioning extremes. This setup gave a bearish signal the week of Nov. 4 and stayed bearish three weeks before going back to bullish. So with the trade delay of seven weeks it will put the overall setup either in cash or bearish next week, depending on what the first setup does. See all the details in the notes to that table. I'll upload a sample spreadsheet for this setup at some point soon.
Portfolio Update: Also, just updated my portfolio page with current positioning based on my COTs Timer trading system and a recently closed trade for my Nikkei trading setup. Hope you have a great holiday and good luck in the New Year.
TAGS: gold, S&P 500, SPX, Nikkei, COT, Commitments of Traders, derivatives, Black Swans, market timing, trading system development, CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, COTs Timer, out-of-sample testing, Monte Carlo, walk-around testing
Friday, 19 December 2008
My first setup that's come out of that process - for the S&P 500 - gave a bearish signal for the start of this week. Seemed a little crazy when the Fed opened the floodgates Tuesday by slashing its target rate to zero, but the index ended up closing about even for the week. Not bad. So what about the much-anticipated Santa Clause rally? Sorry to be a Grinch! The setup is still bearish for two more weeks. It finally goes to cash on the open of Monday, Jan. 5. Bah, humbug! See my spreadsheet for this new setup on my DYI page.
This afternoon's Commitments of Traders data has given my other setups a few new signals this week: cash for the NASDAQ 100, BKX U.S. Bank Index and platinum; and bullish for natural gas and the Nikkei. See my latest signals table for more details on these and my existing signals.
Please keep in mind: I haven't yet subjected these other setups to testing with detrended data and a Monte Carlo test. I have no idea how many I'll keep and which I'll need to replace. These tests are a key way to gauge the risk that the setups came from chance or if they represent an actual market effect. For this reason, I'm temporarily combining those signals with technical indicators for trading as explained in this post.
Have a good weekend and wonderful holidays. See you back here next Friday with the next COT update, or maybe sooner if I finish testing setups in gold, the next market I'm updating.
TAGS: SPX, S&P 500, NASDAQ 100, gold, natural gas, platinum, Nikkei, BKX, Bank Index, crude oil, COT, Commitments of Traders, derivatives, Black Swans, market timing, trading system development, CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, COTs Timer, out-of-sample testing, walk-around testing
Friday, 12 December 2008
That table also has the backtesting results of my new S&P 500 setup. The specs are also all posted in the notes to the table. It's the product of a bunch of new testing I've been doing using detrended market data (data that has the long-term bullish or bearish bias of the market stripped out) and comparing it to randomly generated price data using something called a Monte Carlo test (invented during development of the atomic bomb). I plan to stick with this new setup until my next round of updating all the setups in mid-2009. I will also now resume trading this particular setup with no added technical indicators for backup. Sorry for switching this one around so much in the past few weeks, but I think the effort and your patience have paid off. You'll also see on that table I've added some new metrics that I'm using to evaluate the best setups. I've just published a spreadsheet for the setup on my DYI page. Have a good weekend!
TAGS: S&P 500, SPX, Nikkei, natural gas, platinum, COT, Commitments of Traders, derivatives, Black Swans, market timing, trading system development, CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, COTs Timer, out-of-sample testing, walk-around testing
Monday, 8 December 2008
Friday, 5 December 2008
- After being on a bearish signal since late July, my setup for the Dow Jones industrials has turned bullish. This, after the wrong-way large speculators - that's the bright lights at the big investment firms and hedge funds who have wrecked Freedom 55 for the boomers - finally caved in and hit an extreme net short position as a percentage of the total open interest. They were massively bullish in late July, just as the market topped. Now, they have finally thrown in the towel and sit about 1.1 standard deviation below the average of their net position. The trade execution is for Monday's open. My Highly Correlated Markets Rule (see more on it here) says I can take this position because at least one of the two correlated markets - the BKX Bank Index - is also bullish. But I won't execute it without some kind of confirmation on the charts next week because of my temporary decision to trade in combination with technical price action while I finish up some extra testing (see more in this post).
- Meanwhile, my setup for the S&P 500 is still bearish. In fact, the "dumb money" small traders last week were more bullish in comparison to past data than any time in a year for one setup I use and at a two-year extreme for the other one (hitting 2.5 standard deviations above the average on the latter). This week, they are still 1.6 and 2.1 standard deviations above their averages on those two setups. If that's not odd enough, the S&P 500 is highly correlated with the Dow industrials. So if I was getting this bearish signal this week, I wouldn't take it due to my correlated markets rule.
- Oddly enough, on the Nikkei, where the small traders are actually the "smart money" believe it or not - accurately calling tops and bottoms for years - these folks are super-bullish, too. More so than at any time in two and a half years. actually small traders haven't been this bullish in two and a half years. Silver commercial traders are 1.4 standard deviations below the average. So quite the mixed picture overall. I should note, however, the Nikkei isn't strongly correlated with any other of my markets.
- In the commodities, quite a huge turnaround since last week. Keen-eyed readers will recall that last week all five commodities were in the rare position of being bullish. This week, silver has gone bearish because of a sudden rampup in the commercial trader net short position (now -1.4 standard deviations below the average), while platinum and crude have gone to cash. Can't take the silver signal if I wanted to; it's the only bearish one of the bunch at this point. Copper and gold are still bullish.
Hope you have a relaxing weekend, and good luck next week.
TAGS: gold, silver, platinum, crude, copper, Nikkei, BKX, Bank Index, crude oil, S&P 500, SPX, COT, Commitments of Traders, derivatives, Black Swans, market timing, trading system development, CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, COTs Timer, out-of-sample testing, walk-around testing
Thursday, 4 December 2008
I've got just one more step I want to do before I choose my best setup: a new test I just thought of combining the Monte Carlo test with my walk-around test. The idea of the walk-around test is to vary all the parameter values and see how this impacts the results. The worse those results, the greater the risk of data-mining bias (i.e., a setup that won't work well in actual trading). I check 16 variations of each setup's parameter values and come up with a "walk-around efficiency" score to see how much the results are impacted. You can see this in Column Y on my latest signals table. Curtis Faith talks about a somewhat similar technique in his book Way of the Turtle. He calls it "parameter scrambling." What I still want to do is take all these "walked-around" setups and do Monte Carlo tests on them, too. That would produce a "walk-around Monte Carlo efficiency" score. I'd add this to the measures I use to discard useless setups and choose the best ones. Should have something to announce in a few days. Incidentally, I've been thinking of creating a new webpage that talks about all these testing steps - kind of an amateur's primer on trading system development. Hope it can help someone else out there.
Monday, 1 December 2008
Please note, however, my post of last Friday, where I talk about my decision to temporarily combine my COT signals with technical analysis for trading. (The reason is I want to test my setups on detrended price data and apply Monte Carlo testing or some other randomization test to reduce the risk of having found my setups by pure luck.) I didn't enter any trades today owing to the breakdowns on the charts. (There were very bearish pullbacks from resistance on the 60-minute charts as defined by an interesting system developed by Tom DeMark, about which you can read more in this interview with DeMark here and in this excellent primer from a trader who uses it to great profit, Stephen Vita.) One promising result of my testing so far is that I came up with the same trading setup for the S&P 500 using raw price data as I did using detrended price data. (Detrending the data is a way to remove a market's net bullish or bearish bias. This is vital in order to ensure a trading strategy isn't just benefitting from parameters that are slanted to take advantage of this bias. Such a setup might not work as well in other market conditions.)
Speaking of the S&P 500, I've chosen a new setup I'll be following for this market. I've put up those results on my latest signals page. I chose it based on a slight re-weighting of the measures I use to score my best setups, with a little more weight given to my walk-around tests and use of what I think are more robust out-of-sample measures. As I said, I thought it was a good sign that it scored the best out of the setups I looked at on both raw and detrended price data. Still need to do a Monte Carlo test, but I'm working on developing that. You can see all the specs for the setup in the "notes" on my latest signals table. Or if you want to really get your hands dirty, check out my DIY page and download it for yourself. I welcome your thoughts.
Note (added Dec. 4): I should clarify that this setup is temporary until I've finished my Monte Carlo testing.
TAGS: gold, BKX, Bank Index, crude oil, S&P 500, SPX, COT, Commitments of Traders, derivatives, Black Swans, market timing, trading system development, CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, COTs Timer, out-of-sample testing, walk-around testing
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Friday, 28 November 2008
The second major step Aronson talks about is a bootstrap or Monte Carlo test in order to verify if the setup was obtained by luck. Aronson offers code for a variation of the Monte Carlo test on his website here. I think he makes an excellent argument for the importance of this kind of testing, and I plan to do that too.
The question is where does all this leave my existing setups. Until I've done all this testing, I don't think I have much choice but to include a bit of discretionary technical analysis in the picture when I'm trading these signals. I might, for example, consider trading some signals with a tight stop - for example, a two-percent drawdown stop. Trading the system until now the way I've done has been an important education on the value and challenges of mechanical trading - more so than any paper trading could have been. And I think the signals still have great value in guiding trading decisions. But until I go through the important processes above, I feel like I'm taking on too much risk. On the other hand, the tests above will hopefully lead me to a super-robust trading system. Until then, I will still post the signals weekly and give my take on what the data is saying, as well as give updates on my system development progress. See you later today or sometime this weekend with an update on this afternoon's COT data.
Friday, 21 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
Friday, 14 November 2008
TAGS: Nikkei, gold, BKX, Bank Index, copper, S&P 500, SPX, COT, Commitments of Traders, derivatives, Black Swans, market timing, trading system development, CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, COTs Timer, out-of-sample testing, walk-around testing
Monday, 10 November 2008
Hope you had a good weekend. Just noticed this morning that natural gas jumped right up to resistance at the earlier highs of Oct. 20, Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 and at the Tom DeMark sell line on the 15-minute chart. Now it's selling off again. Wow - nice patch of resistance around $31.25. If it breaks out, I'll consider a short-term trade.
Friday, 7 November 2008
TAGS: natural gas, COT, Commitments of Traders, derivatives, Black Swans, market timing, trading system development, CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, COTs Timer, out-of-sample testing, walk-around testing