backtesting

Posted on Oct 27, 2015 by Kris Longmore
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In the first part of this article, I described a procedure for empirically testing whether a trading strategy has predictive power by comparing its performance to the distribution of the performance of a large number of random strategies with similar trade distributions. In this post, I will present the results of the simple example described by the code in the previous post in order to illustrate how susceptible trading strategies are to the vagaries of randomness. I will also illustrate by way of example my thought process when it comes to deciding whether to include a particular component in my live portfolio or discard it. I tested one particular trading system on a number of markets separately in both directions. I picked out three instances where the out of sample performance was good as candidates for live trading. The markets, trade directions and profit factors obtained from the out of sample backtest are as follows: USD/CAD - Short - Profit Factor = 1.79 GBP/USD - Long - Profit Factor = 1.20 GBP/JPY - Long - Profit Factor = 1.31 Next, I estimated the performance of...

Posted on Oct 18, 2015 by Kris Longmore
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Picture this: A developer has coded up a brilliant strategy, taking great care not to over-optimize. There is no look-ahead bias and the developer has accounted for data-mining bias. The out of sample backtest looks great. Is it time to go live?    I would've said yes, until I read Ernie Chan's Algorithmic Trading and realised that I hadn't adequately accounted for randomness. Whenever we compute a performance metric from a backtest, we face the problem of a finite sample size. We can't know the true value of the performance metric, and the value we computed may or may not be representative of this true value. We may have been simply fooled by randomness into thinking we had a profitable strategy. Put another way, was the strategy's performance simply due to being in the market at the right time? There are a number of empirical methods that can be used to address this issue. Chan describes three in his book mentioned above, and there are probably others. I am going to implement the approach described by Lo, Mamaysky and Wang (2000), who simulated...