Randomly Pushing Buttons

Hold That Elevator!
When you randomly push buttons, you never know what floor you’ll end up on.

Before my current circumstances, and before I was a photographer (see above), I used to make music for a living. Specifically, weird-ass techno/electronic music that many people found difficult or annoying. One of the ways I would find sonic inspiration was to use audio software to generate random sounds. I would record this stream of noisy squawkiness, sift through a lot of garbage, and occasionally find a useful gem. I would take these little bits of useful audio and turn them into gritty, weird dance music.

It’s possible to find dedicated software that dives deeply into finding non-obvious, non-linear connections between “features” of price data. For example, we can ask ourselves if today’s high of the price of oil is above its three-day moving average, and the S&P 500’s closing price is below yesterday’s open, will gold go up the next day? Continue reading Randomly Pushing Buttons

It Told You So.

On February 17th, we got a signal from Matt’s Breadth Indicator (aka “The 30% Up/Down in a Quarter Diffusion Index”…can you see why I just called it after myself?) to get the heck out of the market. Or at least to put on our Danger Spectacles and tighten your Volatility Helmets. You would be excused a week later for asking what the problem was. The problem of course manifested itself shortly thereafter. We are now into a second period of closing below our initial “get out!” period.

See? The indicator told you so. Even when the S&P 500 seemed to be saying otherwise.

Does this mean the markets are going to drop to the ground like some bunker-busting price-bomb? Er…I dunno. It’s just an indicator, not a prognosticator!

Open Up!

This is kind of a weird one.

I was mulling over the question of what happens when the market opens up, i.e. above its previous close. Is the day likely to be an up day? A down day? I got out my data and started poking around. I looked at all “open-up” days with an open at least 0.25% above the previous day’s close. I looked at only days that opened up after a previous close-to-close down day. And the reverse.

The statistics were not significant, although it appeared there was something of a shorting opportunity there. I therefore put together a backtest for shorting at the open and holding to the close, and that looked like utter garbage. Continue reading Open Up!

Synthetic VXX/XIV Data

Anyone who trades VXX or XIV ETFs knows that their history is unfortunately too short. They track the VIX futures, but only go back to 2009. How would they have performed during the Kerfluffle of 2008?

A number of people have come up with ways to use the futures data from prior to the ETFs’ inception, and create synthetic data to use in testing. Many charge for this data.

A friend pointed me to a website that has the data for free. With a little know-how, you can create a synthetic version of VXX and XIV and import into your favorite backtesting software. It seems to track very nicely too.

In the above graph, the red line is actual traded XIV, and the blue is the synthetic version going all the way back to 2004. Looks close enough to me! The tail end is a prediction that the creator cooked up, which you should ignore for testing purposes.

I am relieved to find that my medium-term XIV system would have been out of the market for most of 2008. Very reassuring.

If you were looking for synthetic VXX/XIV data, head on over here.

Read also: What I Trade.