Friday, July 29, 2011

Meta-Trader - Forex4you: Important Notice!

Welcome Meta-Traders.

It was a week to forget in World Markets. Equities took a belly-flop, dragged down by the still unresolved budget impasse in the United States. For those who hate uncertainty, it was the House of Pain with day after day of little progress and the Treasury's August 2 deadline fast approaching.

Equities were a sore subject this week since everything I did was wrong. It was a mirror image of last week and a humbling reminder how the human side of every trader and investor is his worst enemy. In any case, I sold half of my position in AMZN ahead of earnings, just to see it pop 16+ points in the after market on solid revenues.

As for my AAPL long call, I got the move expected up to the $400 level, and I entered an order to sell the position up +10 points limit on Monday. AAPL looked so strong so I cancelled the sell order just before it would have filled. The next day, AAPL open higher once again and traded as high as $405 and I felt vindicated. Unfortunately, AAPL opened down -7 points next day taking the better part of my profits. AAPL continued down later in the week and I ended up closing the position for a small loss. Serves as a reminder how tricky options can be to trade where profits can come and go very quickly.

It was a better week in Forex with most accounts up from last week's drubbing. The screaming winner on the week was Atipaq Full Portfolio which gained about 4% for the week recovering about half of last week's 8% loss.

I got some disappointing news from Forex4 via e-mail on Friday as follows:

Dear Christopher -

We are writing to inform you about the recent changes in the USA legislation according to which we will no longer be able to provide services to our USA customers. Hence, if you are a resident of USA, we kindly ask you to verify your account and withdraw your remaining balance as soon as possible.

As you can see from my performance numbers on the right this account is up +28.19 for the year. So here is a case of the government rescuing me from myself, and to my own detriment! Its a reminder that any business has regulatory risk and none more so than trading.

As for my next move in Forex, here's my plan:

- Close the Forex4You Account, return the $100 investment to my co-workers, along with the 28% profit and declare victory. This will return $25.60 to each of my co-workers on a $20 investment split 5 ways. Not bad for less than one year and certainly beats lottery tickets!

- Start some new demos in FXDD. So far, I am the most pleased with them as a broker and the fact that they handle hedging (long and short same pair at same time) is crucial for my ongoing operations. Plus, I have an ongoing beef with that I will get to in a future post.

- New demos will be be based on a variety of portfolios running the Coatl trading system from

Recall I did a series of reviews on Coatl back in May and can you read them here Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Coatl is a very flexible system that can be used to trade multiple instruments in multiple time frames. Also recall that I am scheduled to increase my total Forex investment by about $10,000 bring me up to $20,000 by the start of 2012. I plan to add the bulk of these fund as new Coatl Portfolios. If I start demo accounts now, I should have a healthy 5-6 months of demo time before I'm ready to go live. I should have my first week's results next week at this time so check back later for that.

Have a great weekend all!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meta-Trader - Deep in the Money

Welcome back Meta-Traders.

It was another wild week in world markets. I have some interesting stories to tell, mostly about equities. Granted, I'm straying from the core mission of this blog which is automated currency trading. I'll return to that mission when the time is right, but for now, let's go to where the action was, which is equities.

Monday started off with the market getting beaten with an ugly stick. Everything was down except for .. Apple Computer. In fact AAPL blew through the old all-time high of 365 and closed the day at 374. The guys on CNBC's Fast Money pointed out that there was heavy call buying activity ahead of earnings due to be released after the close on Tuesday.

Tuesday started on a positive tone and AAPL moved ever higher heading up to 378. Since I'm fully invested and almost out of free cash, the only way to participate was to buy deep in the money calls. So I bought 1 August 350 call in each account for $32 for about $3200 investment per account. If the stock gapped to $400, I would make $1800 per account, or lose it all if the stock gapped down to $350.

I was glued to the TV at 4:30PM EST when earnings came out and the news was good. The high estimate was $6.62 per share and AAPL reported $7.79 blowing away even the most aggressive estimates! The stock gapped up to $400 briefly in after hours trading and I started counting the profits in my head. Let me see $1800 per account times 2 or $3600. What if the stock trades up to $420 in the next day? That would be another $4000 and the spillover to other tech stocks could pull the entire market up. I could easily have a $10,000 dollar day and I can count on one hand the number of times I've been up 10K in a single day.

Wednesday rolled around and I was a bit disappointed to see AAPL open at about 389, quite a way off the $400 level. Earlier in the week, the guys on Fast Money mentioned they saw someone buy 10,000 contracts of the weekly 390-395 call spread for a total of about $1.5 million. If the stock closed above $395, that position would earn $3.5 million. It occurred to me that the weekly options were actually keeping a lid on the stock, and that there was considerable pressure for the stock to close the week under $390 so that call spread would expire worthless.

To make a long story short, APPL shares started to come in and I sold my calls at about $38 and instead of making 2K per contract, I only made about $600 per contract or about $1200 total. Not the 3.6K I had coming, but still not bad for one day's work. The story doesn't end there.

IBM had an incredible day on Tuesday reporting great earnings and gapping up about 8 points on the day and forming what Oliver Velez would call a "bull elephant candle".

Wednesday brought Happy Birthday wishes to our friend and benefactor Daniel Fernandez who turned just 25 years old. Daniel has already accomplished more at age 25 than many people do in a lifetime, so Happy Birthday Daniel and keep up the great work!

Thursday brought a monster breakout in health care technology play SXCI which moved out to a new all-time high on monster volume. Overall corporate earnings have been great with something like 75% of S&P 500 stocks beating analysts estimates.

On Friday, AAPL started to challenge $390 once again and my breakout antenna started twitching once again. So this time, I bought the August 360 calls for about $31.60 or about $1.60 of premium which is nothing for an almost $400 stock. Like magic, the shares rallied and closed the week at about $393 and I'm still long these contracts. I suspect we will see $400 next week and pickup the other $1000 left on the table from the prior trade.

As for Forex, it was another lackluster week with nearly every system giving back a few percentage points. Just to show you how bad that bad can be, take a look at Atinalla No 4 which on Thursday broke a string of 13 consecutive losing trades! This account was down about 7% for the week. Most of the other accounts gave back a percent or 2, getting whipped around on one false breakout after the next.

As for world events, a debt deal for Greece in the Euro Zone gave the Euro a lift. Also, talk of a more coordinated central bank in Europe for debt issuance took some of the pressure off the weaker players in the EU.

The debt ceiling issue in the US remains unresolved. The stock market seems complacent, as though it will all get worked out at the last minute. Nobody really knows what's going to happen, but it always seems to work itself out. As for now we will stay with the market action which seems to indicate higher prices ahead. Besides, fear and pessimism are always a poor investment thesis.

Next week will bring more fireworks with Amazon and Netflix earnings on Monday. Also, I'm on vacation from my regular job, off to enjoy some hard-earned time off. Have a great week!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meta-Trader - Down But Not Out

Welcome back Meta-Traders.

It was a rough week on world markets. Recall from last week's post, I went into Monday loaded up long on stocks. Well we gapped down on Monday and struggled for the rest of the week attempting several times to recover, just to get smacked down once again.

On the positive side some of my technology stocks held up pretty well. Web retailer Amazon (AMZN) came in slightly taking some premium out of my short call position, which is good. We also saw new all-time highs in Netflix (NFLX) this week, and a new all-time closing high in Apple Computer (AAPL) ahead of earnings due out this coming Tuesday. We also had good earnings in my favorite restaurant stock YUM Brands. These positions allowed to to pull slightly ahead of the S&P 500 for the first time since early January.

The beating extended to Forex as well with nearly every account getting whacked this week. Leading the way down was Atipaq Full Portfolio which gave back about 8% on the week. Checking some other accounts on Asirikuy they also took a similar beating.

Nearly every other account was down as well.

World events were not much help. Debt problems nearly all over Europe put pressure on the EUR, while a seeming budget impass in Washington did no favors for the USD. All around, it was an ugly contest with Europe, and the US competing for supremacy in a contest of who is more disfunctional.

My own frustration with the debt situation aside, there's not much we can do about it except to focus on things that are under our control. So with that said, i'm off to get some rest, spend some time with the family and perhaps do some home improvement.

Let's look for some better news next week and have a great day!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Meta-Trader - Loaded Long on Tech

Welcome back Meta-Traders.

It was a great week to be both an Automated Forex Trader, and a technology investor. Let's do the equities first, since that's where the majority of the gains came from.

The screaming winner of the week was Amazon.Com (AMZN). Last week's trade buying the stock and selling the August 110 call turned out well. Stock is now up 12 points since entry, and short call is down only 6. Only problem now is that I have to wait until August expiration for the premium to come out of the short call to make the maximum gain on the trade. Of course I would have made more having not sold the call, but I wouldn't have had the guts to be so heavy on the stock without some protection.

My other favorites AAPL and NFLX had great weeks as well with NFLX having the mother of all breakouts on Tuesday. NFLX is now approaching $300 a share as I said on Facebook, if you missed it when it crossed $100, and you missed it when it crossed $200, then now is your chance to get some before it crosses $300. I missed moves in both stocks, but added small positions Friday on the close. Small positions because I'm nearly out of funds and more fully invested than I have been all year.

I also had some good gains in Chipotle (CMG) and Neogen (NEOG). With all that, I've closed much of the gap with the SP-500 and i'm up just about 7% for the year in equities which is not bad. Check out the way the market reacted off the move to negative territory set a short 3 weeks ago. Also, observe how fast it came back which is a very bullish sign.

On the Forex side, it was a fine week as well with positive results in all accounts except for my own FX-Regression. The only account that hit a new equity high was Forex4You Challenge which is running the Atinalla #4 with Sapaq modifications from

On the subject of, we had nice performances from every system. I'm not going to go through them individually, but here are a few highlights.

Atinalla #3 had a nice reaction off a recent equity low and shot up nearly 5% on the week. It also went out with some nice unrealized gains. Its worth pointing out that I got a comment from Daniel on my post A Greek Tragedy a few weeks back which I didn't see due to Google's Spam blocking feature. It clearly wasn't spam, but anyway, he pointed out that performance if this account does not match the other accounts on Asirikuy and to check the settings. I will do so and report back probably tomorrow.

Another standout was Atinalla #4 which had a nice string of winning trades punctuated by a long EUR/USD that didn't work out on Friday.

Overall, I did the math and i'm up about 25% for the year across all Forex accounts which is well on the way to my 30%-60% goal. I really owe most of the success to Daniel Fernandez at Asirikuy. So Daniel - keep the great work!

Unfortunately, I haven't had much time for robot's development lately, but perhaps that's best left to the professionals.

Have a great week all!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Meta-Trader - Moving Platforms / Disaster Recovery

Welcome back Meta-Traders.

As you know I've had some platform issues this past week. As of now, I have successfully migrated to another laptop computer, so its a good time to recap what I have learned in the process. Most of the process is pretty straightforward, but I haven't seen anyone else cover these topics, so I figured I would do so here.

Even if you are not planning to migrate platforms, its important that you make a backup of your Meta-Trader data so that if you have a system crash, you won't need to re-create your Meta-Trader setup from scratch.

First, Meta-Trader 4 stores all its information under C:\Program Files\FolderName where you get to pick FolderName during MT4 installation. This includes not only the program files themselves, but the expert adviser files, settings, downloaded data etc. In other words, the program files themselves are intermingled with user data.

Most modern Windows programs store their user-specific data in the registry, or in user-specific folder locations such as %userprofile% or %appdata%. These represent environment variables. To see where they point to through Windows Explorer, click Start, and simply type in the variable name surrounded by % such as %userprofile%. You can also see the active environment variables by going to the Windows command prompt (Start, run CMD) and type SET.

Why is this important and why do we care?

We care because Microsoft realized that programs that store user data under c:\Program Files can cause system instability. To respond, they created a new feature starting with Windows Vista called Data Redirection. This feature is also present in Windows 7. This feature is not present in Windows XP, so if you are running Windows XP, this does not apply. The bottom line, is that if program is running in "user context", output to Program Files is re-written as follows:

PlatformOriginal LocationRedirected Location
Windows XPC:\Program FilesC:\Program Files
Windows Vista/7C:\Program Files%appdata%\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files

Using Windows explorer, find the location of your actual Meta-Trader files. Once you have confirmed the actual location of your Meta-Trader data, make a backup as follows:

- Create a folder on your network drive or USB memory stick with the same name as the FolderName you installed Meta-Trader to on the source computer

- Copy the Meta-Trader data folders to the new FolderName on your backup location

As to what folders to copy, here they are along with a brief description of the contents:

ExpertsExpert Advisor files and associated data which is stored in sub-folders such as Data and Presets.
ConfigAccount and server information.
ProfilesOpen charts and settings for your Meta-Trader layout.
TemplatesInformation displaying what is required to gather addition user input for adding indicators. Normally, this folder doesn't get written to, but the statement.htm file needs to be updated for certain Meta-Trader vendors to get data to appear properly when using MyFxBook. If you haven't had this problem, and don't know what i'm talking about, you can skip this folder.

Once you have a backup of your data, install Meta-Trader for the provided Forex Broker on your new target computer. To keep things simple, use the same folder name you used on your source computer. To keep from having to type in the name, right-click on the folder name and click Rename. Now press CTRL-C to copy the folder name to your Windows clipboard. When Meta-Trader prompts for Folder Name during installation, press CTRL-V to paste in the folder name.

It also goes without saying that you need to keep a copy of the installer EXE for your broker-specific installation of Meta-Trader around. Sure you can always re-download it from the broker web-site, but its one less thing to hunt around for when you are in a panic after a system crash.

Once you have completed an installation of Meta-Trader, un-check the option to run Meta-Trader automatically after installation and close the installer.

Next, simply copy the 4 folders above from your backup location to the new Meta-Trader folder on your target computer. Its easy to get confused when copying files. I like to arrange the Windows such that the source folders are on the right and the target folders are on the left. Then its simply a matter of dragging and dropping the folders from right to left.

Once file copy is complete, go ahead and launch Meta-Trader on your target computer. When prompted, entered the password for your Meta-Trader account. That is one piece of data which is not transferred in the process and that you must record manually. You also may be required to enter the server where your Meta-Trader points to if one of the pre-supplied values were not used.

Once you enter the password, accept any prompts to update Meta-Trader. Once all that is done, voila! Your expert advisor is now running on your new target computer. Even the publisher data for MyFxbook is migrated in the process.

Once you are up and running on the new computer, remember to close Meta-Trader on your source computer because you don't want to run 2 instances of Meta-Trader pointed to the same account, or trades could be duplicated.

One final thing (if you haven't done so already) create a MS-Word or other document containing a table with one row for each account:

Account name - Short name for the account
Account number - Provided by your Forex Broker
Account password - Provided by your Forex Broker or your choose during account setup
Server - Server name or IP Address used for your account instance - also provided at account setup time.

Also, separately on the page, include the customer service number for each of the brokers that you use. Now print out the page and keep it in an important place. Should you have a complete power outage for an extended period, it may be required to call the broker to manually close any open trades. Normally, this would not be necessary since each order should have a standing TP and SL, but you never know.

Its important to take these simple precautions ahead of time so that you are prepared in the event of a disaster. If you loose power, and you have to start scrambling to find this information, you could loose valuable time, and you will have no one to blame but yourself for lack of preparation.

Even if you are not planning to migrate platforms, go ahead and make a backup of your Meta-Trader data for safekeeping. That way you will be prepared for disaster when it strikes.

Meta-Trader - Sunny and 78 Degrees

Welcome back Meta-Traders.

It was a spectacular week in world markets, particularly since we started the week with such low expectations. Things took a positive turn in Europe as Greece passed the austerity measures avoiding a default and freeing up funds for a financial rescue. Also the people of France breathed a sign of relief as the rape case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn appeared to collapse.

On this side of the pond, we go some clarity on debit card fees sending credit card companies Visa and Mastercard soaring. Other financial stocks followed as well, but to a lesser extent. Good manufacturing data on Friday lit a fire under the stock market. Add to that a string of beautiful summer days and we're in fine shape for a long holiday weekend.

I closed out last week's trade in NFLX closed out for a 20+ point profit in only 9 days. But the trade of the week had to be (AMZN). As you know I've been hanging in on the long side for some time. I smelled a breakout as the stock recovered from a 24-day pullback by making up all those losses in only 8 days. Its usually the other way around where stocks go up slowly, then sell-off quickly. Anyway, I added another 100 shares in each account at about 204.50 and sold the August 210 calls at 8.6. If called, this would represent an 6.8% gain (or a 4% gain if the stock just went sideways) in under 2 months!

Anyway, the end-of-quarter rally continued into the new month on Friday. Amazon decisively broke out to a new all-time high on Friday with a 5 point gain. What's more, the short call only gained $1.30 as the stock came closer to the money.

We also got breakouts to new all-time highs in CACI, CMG, IBM, NEOR, QCOR and YUM. All these breakouts got my equity portfolio out to a new recovery high which is about the last thing I expected at this time last week!

Forex was a bit of a yawn this past week with most systems flat on the week.

Atipaq Full Portfolio took a nice gain on a one-day trade in NZD/USD.

Megadroid Live took a small profit on a pair of trades on Thursday.

FX-Regression gave back a good part of its recent profits on a string of losing trades. This was not at all unexpected after a recent string of winners.

Finally, my platform problems continues this past week as my laptop continued to blue-screen. By the end of the week, all of my systems were successfully migrated over to a new laptop platform. I learned a few things about how to do Meta-trader platform migration that I will cover in a post, probably tomorrow.

So check back later for that and enjoy your weekend!