“Please Send Me a Trading System!”

“It should produce 150 pips per week. With the best indicators that you know. How much does it cost? Please also send live histories of your top systems.” 
Although we often get such requests, we still don’t know the best indicators and can’t send live histories. We do not invent systems, but program them from clients’ specifications. And we do not trade them, except for testing. But after almost 1000 systems, we can see a pattern emerging. Which strategies do usually work? Which will fall apart already in the backtest? Here’s a ranking of all systems we did so far, with a surprising winner. Continue reading ““Please Send Me a Trading System!””

The Scholz Brake: Fixing Germany’s New 1000% Trader Tax

Would you like to read – from begin to end – a 18 page pounderous law draft titled “Law for introducing a duty to report cross-border tax structuring”? The members of the German Bundestag apparently didn’t. After all, nothing seemed wrong with a duty to report cum-ex schemes. So the new law, proposed by finance minister Olaf Scholz, passed legislation on December 12, 2019 without much discussion. Only afterwards its real content, hidden on page 15, became public. It caused incredulity and turmoil among traders and investors. This article deals with the new bizarre German ‘trader tax’, and with ways to step around it. Continue reading “The Scholz Brake: Fixing Germany’s New 1000% Trader Tax”

The Mechanical Turk

We can see thinking machines taking over more and more human tasks, such as car driving, Go playing, or financial trading. But sometimes it’s the other way around: humans take over jobs supposedly assigned to thinking machines. Such a job is commonly referred to as a Mechanical Turk in reminiscence to Kempelen’s famous chess machine from 1768. In our case, a Mechanical Turk is an automated trading algorithm based on human intelligence. Continue reading “The Mechanical Turk”

Deep Learning Systems for Bitcoin 1

Since December 2017, bitcoins can not only be traded at more or less dubious exchanges, but also as futures at the CME and CBOE. And already several trading systems popped up for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. None of them can claim big success, with one exception. There is a very simple strategy that easily surpasses all other bitcoin systems and probably also all known historical trading systems. Its name: Buy and Hold. In the light of the extreme success of that particular bitcoin strategy, do we really need any other trading system for cryptos? Continue reading “Deep Learning Systems for Bitcoin 1”

Algorithmic Options Trading 3

In this article we’ll look into a real options trading strategy, like the strategies that we code for clients. This one however is based on a system from a trading book. As mentioned before, options trading books often contain systems that really work – which can not be said about day trading or forex trading books. The system examined here is indeed able to produce profits. Which is not surprising, since it apparently never loses. But it is also obvious that its author has never backtested it.  Continue reading “Algorithmic Options Trading 3”

Hacking a HFT system

Compared with machine learning or signal processing algorithms of conventional trading strategies, High Frequency Trading systems can be surprisingly simple. They need not attempt to predict future prices. They know the future prices already. Or rather, they know the prices that lie in the future for other, slower market participants. Recently we got some contracts for simulating HFT systems in order to determine their potential profit and maximum latency. This article is about testing HFT systems the hacker’s way. Continue reading “Hacking a HFT system”

Algorithmic Options Trading 2

In this second part of the Algorithmic Options trading series we’ll look more closely into option returns. Especially into combining different option types for getting user-tailored profit and risk curves. Option traders know combinations with funny names like “Iron Condor” or “Butterfly”, but you’re not limited to them. With some tricks you can create artificial financial instruments of any desired property – for instance “Binary Options” with more than 100% payout factor. Continue reading “Algorithmic Options Trading 2”

Bye Yahoo, and thanks for all the fish

Just a quick post in the light of a very recent event. Users of financial functions of R, MatLab, Python, or Zorro got a bad surprise in the last days. Scripts and programs based on historical price data suddenly didn’t work anymore. And our favorite free historical price data provider, Yahoo, now responds on any access to their API in this way:

Continue reading “Bye Yahoo, and thanks for all the fish”

Algorithmic Options Trading 1

Despite the many interesting features of options, private traders rarely take advantage of them (of course I’m talking here of serious options, not binary options). Maybe options are unpopular due to their reputation of being complex. Or because they are unsupported by most trading software tools. Or due to the price tags of the few tools that support them and of the historical data that you need for algorithmic trading. Whatever – we recently did several programming contracts for options trading systems, and I was surprised that even simple systems seemed to produce relatively consistent profit. Especially selling options appears more lucrative than trading ‘conventional’ instruments. This article is the first one of a mini-series about earning money with algorithmic options trading.   Continue reading “Algorithmic Options Trading 1”

Better Strategies 5: A Short-Term Machine Learning System

It’s time for the 5th and final part of the Build Better Strategies series. In part 3 we’ve discussed the development process of a model-based system, and consequently we’ll conclude the series with developing a data-mining system. The principles of data mining and machine learning have been the topic of part 4. For our short-term trading example we’ll use a deep learning algorithm, a stacked autoencoder, but it will work in the same way with many other machine learning algorithms. With today’s software tools, only about 20 lines of code are needed for a machine learning strategy. I’ll try to explain all steps in detail.  Continue reading “Better Strategies 5: A Short-Term Machine Learning System”