Posted on Jul 10, 2018 by Kris Longmore
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One of the ongoing research projects inside the Robot Wealth community involves an FX strategy with some multi-week hold periods. Such a strategy can be significantly impacted by the swap, or the cost of financing the position. These costs change over time, and we decided that for the sake of more accurate simulations, we would incorporate these changes into our backtests. This post shows you how to simulate variable FX swaps in both Python and the Zorro trading automation software platform. What is Swap? The swap (also called the roll) is the cost of financing an FX position. It is typically derived from the central bank interest rate differential of the two currencies in the exchange rate being traded, plus some additional fee for your broker. Most brokers apply it on a daily basis, and typically apply three times the regular amount on a Wednesday to account for the weekend. Swap can be both credited to and debited from a trader's account, depending on the actual position taken. Why is it Important? Swap can have a big impact on strategies...

Posted on Jan 23, 2018 by Kris Longmore

This is the third in a multi-part series in which we explore and compare various deep learning tools and techniques for market forecasting using Keras and TensorFlow. In Part 1, we introduced Keras and discussed some of the major obstacles to using deep learning techniques in trading systems, including a warning about attempting to extract meaningful signals from historical market data. If you haven’t read that article, it is highly recommended that you do so before proceeding, as the context it provides is important. Read Part 1 here. Part 2 provides a walk-through of setting up Keras and Tensorflow for R using either the default CPU-based configuration, or the more complex and involved (but well worth it) GPU-based configuration under the Windows environment. Read Part 2 here. Part 3 is an introduction to the model building, training and evaluation process in Keras. We train a simple feed forward network to predict the direction of a foreign exchange market over a time horizon of hour and assess its performance. [thrive_leads id='4507'] . Now that you can train your deep learning models on a GPU, the fun can really start....

Posted on Aug 09, 2016 by Kris Longmore

It would be great if machine learning were as simple as just feeding data to an out-of-the box implementation of some learning algorithm, then standing back and admiring the predictive utility of the output. As anyone who has dabbled in this area will confirm, it is never that simple. We have features to engineer and transform (no trivial task - see here and here for an exploration with applications for finance), not to mention the vagaries of dealing with data that is non-Independent and Identically Distributed (non-IID). In my experience, landing on a model that fits the data acceptably at the outset of a modelling exercise is unlikely; a little (or a lot!) of effort is usually required to be expended on tuning and debugging the algorithm to achieve acceptable performance. In the case of non-IID time series data, we also have the dilemma of the amount of data to use in the training of a predictive model. Given the non-stationarity of asset prices, if we use too much data, we run the risk of training our  model on data that...

Posted on Feb 04, 2016 by Kris Longmore

[latexpage] Recently, I wrote about fitting mean-reversion time series models to financial data and using the models' predictions as the basis of a trading strategy. Continuing my exploration of time series modelling, I decided to research the autoregressive and conditionally heteroskedastic family of time series models. In particular, I wanted to understand the autogressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) and generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (GARCH) models, since they are referenced frequently in the quantitative finance literature, and its about time I got up to speed. What follows is a summary of what I learned about these models, a general fitting procedure and a simple trading strategy based on the forecasts of a fitted model. Several definitions are necessary to set the scene. I don't want to reproduce the theory I've been wading through; rather here is my very high level summary of what I've learned about time series modelling, in particular the ARIMA and GARCH models and how they are related to their component models: At its most basic level, fitting ARIMA and GARCH models is an exercise in uncovering the way in...

Posted on Jan 02, 2016 by Kris Longmore

In the first post in this series, I explored mean reversion of individual financial time series using techniques such as the Augmented Dickey-Fuller test, the Hurst exponent and the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck equation for a mean reverting stochastic process. I also presented a simple linear mean reversion strategy as a proof of concept. In this post, I’ll explore artificial stationary time series and will present a more practical trading strategy for exploiting mean reversion. Again this work is based on Ernie Chan's Algorithmic Trading, which I highly recommend and have used as inspiration for a great deal of my own research. In presenting my results, I have purposefully shown equity curves from mean reversion strategies that go through periods of stellar performance as well as periods so bad that they would send most traders broke. Rather than cherry pick the good performance, I want to demonstrate what I think is of utmost importance in this type of trading, namely that the nature of mean reversion for any financial time series is constantly changing. At times this dynamism can be accounted for by updating the hedge...

Posted on Nov 24, 2015 by Kris Longmore

Important preface: This post is in no way intended to showcase a particular trading strategy. It is purely to share and demonstrate the use of the framework I've put together to speed the research and development process for a particular type of trading strategy. Comments and critiques regarding the framework and the methodology used are most welcome. Backtest results presented are for illustrating the methodology and describing the outputs only. That done, on to the interesting stuff My last two posts (Part 1 here and Part 2 here) explored applying the k-means clustering algorithm for unsupervised discovery of candlestick patterns. The results were interesting enough (to me at least) to justify further research in this domain, but nothing presented thus far would be of much use in a standalone trading system. There are many possible directions in which this research could go. Some ideas that could be worth pursuing include: Providing the clustering algorithm with other data, such as trend or volatility information; Extending the search to include two- and three-day patterns; Varying the number of clusters; Searching across markets and asset...

Posted on Nov 15, 2015 by Kris Longmore

In the last article, I described an application of the k-means clustering algorithm for classifying candlesticks based on the relative position of their open, high, low and close. This was a simple enough exercise, but now I tackle something more challenging: isolating information that is both useful and practical to real trading. I'll initially try two approaches: Investigate whether there are any statistically significant patterns in certain clusters following others Investigate the distribution of next day returns following the appearance of a candle from each cluster The insights gained from this analysis will hopefully inform the next direction of this research. Data preliminaries In the last article, I classified twelve months of daily candles (June 2014 - July 2015) into eight clusters. To simplify the analysis and ensure that enough instances of each cluster are observed, I'll reduce the number of clusters to four and extend the history to cover 2008-2015. I'll exclude my 2015 data for now in case I need a final, unseen test set at some point in the future. Here's a subset of the candles over the entire price history (2008-2014, 2015...

Posted on Oct 30, 2015 by Kris Longmore

This post builds on work done by jcl over at his blog, The Financial Hacker. He proposes the Cold Blood Index as a means of objectively deciding whether to continue trading a system through a drawdown. I was recently looking for a solution like this and actually settled on a modification of jcl's second example, where an allowance is made for the drawdown to grow with time. The modification I made was to use the confidence intervals for the maximum drawdown calculated by Zorro’s Monte Carlo engine rather than the maximum drawdown of the backtest. The limitation is that the confidence intervals for the maximum drawdown length are unknown – only those for the maximum drawdown depth are known. I used the maximum drawdown length calculated for the backtest and considered where the backtest drawdown depth lay in relation to the confidence intervals calculated via Monte Carlo to get a feel for whether it was a reasonable value. Below is a chart of the minimum profit for a strategy I recently took live plotted out to the end of 2015, created using the method...

Posted on Oct 27, 2015 by Kris Longmore

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...