Category Archives for "Research"

November 6, 2016

Nine days down. How bad is that?

As anyone who pays attention to the market, the S&P500 is down nine days in a row. I had several people write me about this. I was talking to a trading friend over the weekend about this. Nine days down seems bad. Let us put this in a broader context. How far have we come down in those nine days? Only 3.07%. Now that got me thinking is 3.07% in nine days that bad?

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October 26, 2016

VXX & XIV Strategies

My recent research has been on the volatility Exchange Traded Products. My focus has been on long trades using VXX and XIV. Although VXX has a very strong downtrend, I am not a fan of developing short strategies on it due to the huge upside risk.  I wrote about XIV here and expressed some of the dangers of trading these ETFs.

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September 28, 2016

Taming High Return and High Risk

I was at a recent talk of the Northwest Traders and Technical Analysts group where they presented a VXX strategy with some huge return and drawdown numbers. Trading this would be very difficult. This got me thinking. If I had a strategy like this, how could I tame the numbers? Through the years, I have seen various ideas about how to do this but never looked into it. Searching the web one can find various volatility ETF strategies with very high returns and high drawdowns. I found one that looked interesting and had lots of potential for optimization and improvement. Then, I optimized the hell out of it searching for a variation with over 100% CAGR. I found one but I would never trade it because I over fit the data. I needed to something to work with.

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September 7, 2016

Strategy Up/Down Capture

A reader sent this interesting link about Up/Down Capture. The great part about this article it is something I have intuitively known about my trading strategies but never tried to quantify. This was the bump I needed to investigate this concept. When the SPY moves up on average how much does my strategy profit? When the SPY moves down how much does my strategy lose? I had fun creating an interactive spreadsheet where you can change the numbers and see the results for your own strategy. This is one of the best spreadsheets I have done for the site.

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Mean Reversion and the Broken Rubber Band

A common way to describe a mean reversion trade is a rubber band that stretches away and then snaps back. Something that Steve, my trading buddy, and I discuss when a trade keeps going against us is that the rubber band has broken. I have never tested that concept. Meaning after N day sell-off, are we now more likely to continue to sell off than bounce? Doing research is not always about trying to develop a new strategy but sometimes it is testing a concept. The concept may lead to a new trading idea.

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ConnorsRSI Analysis

A couple posts ago, I did the RSI Analysis. This post will focus on ConnorsRSI which I created while working for Larry Connors. When  creating the indicator, the focus was on short-term mean-reversion results. We will look at that here but also how does it handle longer-term holds. Since I did not test this when I originally did the work, I was looking forward to seeing the results.


ConnorsRSI is an indicator made up of three components. The first being a 3 period RSI on the closes. The second being a 2 period RSI applied to the current up/down streak. The last being a rank of how big today’s move is. Then a simple weighted aveage is used to combine them. For more details on the calculation and how to use it see this link.

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January 20, 2016

Revisiting Strategies

Two years ago, I wrote an article, The issues with back testing a short stock strategy, about my short strategy and the issues I had with short backtests and shorting. Soon after publishing that article, I stopped trading my short strategy. I like to retest strategies 2 to 3 years after I stop trading them. I will admit that I do not do this with all my strategies because I forget to do so. I am looking to see how the strategy has performed since then and if the reasons I stopped have changed. Maybe it is time to start trading it again. The current market conditions and the fact that I wrote about this strategy gave me the push to remember to do it. So how has my short strategy held up since I stopped?

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Using Stops: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I recently gave a presentation on Better System Trader about using stops on a breakout strategy. The research produced results I was not expecting and may be surprising to you. The stops tested are

  • No stops
  • Maximum Loss using ATR (Intraday and End of Day)
  • Maximum Loss using percentage (Intraday)
  • Trailing ATR (Intraday and End of Day)
  • Profit target using ATR (Intraday and End of Day)

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