Traders Expo

Posted by downtowntrader | 6/11/2006 10:37:00 PM | 4 comments »

I had a good time this last week at Traders Expo getting to listen to the likes of Martin Pring, Oliver Velez, and John Person. I also got a chance to speak with vendors about trading products that I use and have been looking at.

I have been looking at possibilities for mechanical systems lately and I was interested in looking at products that would help me back test and possibly implement trading systems. On my list were Tradestation, Wealth Lab's Pro, ESignal, and speaking to the team at my current platform, Cybertrader.

I have been a little disappointed with Cybertrader for a few reasons. I think their back testing of strategies is pretty pathetic. They don't let you modify many of the entry and exit methods and the indicators available are slim. I asked them about any future enhancements and they were pretty vague about their plans. I hope to get a better response soon, as I have been pretty happy with several aspects of their platform such as execution speed, slippage, and commisions.

I visited Tradestation with great hopes and left a little disappointed. While their backtesting looked good, they don't let you implement pieces of it as an exit strategy and they left much to be desired as a trading platform. The following are drawbacks that led me to quickly take them off my list.

No Server side alerts: Cyber let's you setup trading alerts and keep them on their servers. This is pretty cool because if you have a communications problem or PC issues, your alerts are still active.

No Mobile Platform: I use my Treo 650 to keep tabs on my positions and can enter orders at any time. Tradestation has no mobile support.

Commisions: At least for equities, Tradestation does not come close to Cybertrader for commisions. Tradestation charges 1 penny per share up to 500 shares, and then .005 per share after that. Cyber charges .006 per share. This doesn't seem like much, but for active traders it can be a drastic difference. This works out to a $2 difference on 1000 shares, so if you trade 100K shares a month you are paying up $200 bucks for Tradestation, and I typically trade well over that.

Unfortunately ESignal did not have a booth at the show so I didn't get a chance to look at it. I did get the software though and plan on testing it out. If anyone has experience with ESignal and especially with the strategy testing piece, please feel free to drop me a note on it.

As I mentioned before, I enjoyed some of the presentations at Traders Expo and I was able to find web articles that were pretty much what was presented at a few of the sessions.

This link is to the actual slides Martin Pring used for a session on Short Term Bar Patterns. This was a pretty good session, although fairly basic. I did realize though, how few traders in general truly understand bars/candles and the underlying psychology behind them. I highly recommend reading a Pring or Nison book for all traders.
This link is an article detailing how market makers hide their actions on level II (fairly obvious but worth looking at)
This is a good article by John Person showing how he uses Pivot points (which I use on my intraday charts)

No charts tonight.

Good Luck,



  1. Dave // 12:24 AM  

    For what its worth, when I recently switched to Tradestation, I asked them about wireless support and I was told they were working on it. I don't know what that means in terms of delivery time, but it is in the plans.

  2. downtowntrader // 9:22 AM  

    Thanks Dave. Are you currently happy with them?

  3. Dave // 9:30 PM  

    From what I've tried so far, yes.

    I really like their order routing capabilities. I like how you can at any time close out all your positions with 1-2 clicks. I like how their platform is always up to date (by the tick) on your day trading buying power. I like how you can setup many workspaces per desktop and multiple desktops/monitors.

    The slippage on market orders is usually pretty good, and it seems like they have alot of other powerful tools (That once I incorporate) will only make my trading all the better.

    The one thing I wasn't all that happy about, was when my computer went down last week on wednesday around midday, when I called up the trading desk to get a quote, all they could do was give me just that. I wasn't able to get a recent high, a direction of the recent trend, a summary of the last few ticks. Maybe I'm just being picky, but I think that was something they should have been able to do for me, regardless to if they had 1 or 2 people behind me.

    The trade costs are fairly good, I believe its .01 per share for the first 500 and .006 for every share there after and I think you can trade up to 25k shares at once (not that I'm in the position to do so).

    I also like how you can cancel market orders as long as they haven't been filled. Alot of the times it'll flat out cancel and rarely I'll end up with a very small portion of the trade.

    The other broker I was thinking about before deciding on Tradestation was ThinkorSwim.

    Also, all I trade at the moment are stocks. I don't trade options or futures yet, but I'm looking forward to integrating those into my trading at some point.

    I hope that helps.

  4. downtowntrader // 9:50 PM  

    Thanks again Dave. Most of the advantages you mention are inherent to Direct Access trading platforms. I would imagine that Tradestations charting capabilities are superior to Cyber's, but Cyber has saved my a$$ a couple of times by having it's mobile and Internet (java) platforms to back up the regular platform. I'll check out thinkorswim as well, as I didn't have them on the list.