How to pick option to trading stocks13 comments
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Years ago some time after I first started "trading" I acquired charting software and as I got used to it I got to like it more and more. There were some upgrades which introduced functions that made things easier and it seemed to me that this was just about all I would ever need.
I tried Metastock which was the software used by more seasoned traders but did not like it for several reasons, the main one being that it was complex compared to what I had. The other attraction of this software was that it would download data free of charge every evening - what more could you want? As time went on there were upgrades which amounted to complete rewrites, the free data was dropped, there were lots of bugs that took time to sort out, then there was another rewrite which now meant it needed XP to work properly and more bugs and freezes and the whole thing became more and more bloated without really achieving any improvements in functionality.
It now needed frequent checks online to continually activate it and if you got a new computer there was a whole activation process to follow. About this time I discovered AmiBroker and heard good reports about it which made me have a look at it and eventually buy it.
The originator of this software is Thomasz Janeczko from Poland and he is constantly working to develop and improve it. The problem I had with it was that except for the free US data which it can download daily I was quite unable to get it to access the ASX data which I was by then buying in Metastock format.
This remained a problem to me for quite some time but once I found out how to do that it soon became my favourite charting software. One disadvantage with AmiBroker is that for those who are somewhat challenged in the computer literacy department it may not be the most user friendly program there is at first glance. Where I had trouble is in the part of the process of setting up the program to read external Metastock data. As part of the procedure an empty folder is to be created in a place where intuitively you would expect to put the folder where your data resides.
But instead it needs to be a completely empty folder. It is in fact a simple procedure but there are one or two steps where it is possible to go wrong and the explanation needs to be more specific. One other disappointment is that there are no scans or explorations built into the program.
You have to build them yourself but the coding wizard under construction will enable even those with no coding ability to do that easily. When it's all said and done, the advantages of the program are many: Advertising is by word of mouth — the program sells itself.
It also means backtesting and scanning is very fast. There are also many ways of creating or adding to the watchlists whch makes them very easy to use. This great feature allows any chart to be viewed in many different layouts at a click of the mouse. It saves having too many indicators on one chart.
There is a great library of code and guides on how to use it. Also a wizard is available for a small charge which enables the user to write code if you know nothing about coding. The wizard function for creating explorations or scans is still under construction. Some of these are put there by users of the program and some by Thomasz.
The code for each indicator is readily viewed and easily changed if desired. If you are not comfortable with that there is a readily accessible parameters panel to adjust the periods and characteristics of the indicators and other aspects of the chart. In contrast with most software the beta versions are in my experience safe to use with no bugs or problems.
If there are bugs on first release they are fixed so quickly that I have never found any. The program itself is very compact, only just over 6 MB and will run in everything from Win 95 to Vista.
It is extremely stable and very easy to install. While it will do what beginners need it will also do serious backtesting. One very experienced Metastock user told me that AmiBroker will do what Metastock plus TradeSim will do and more for a tiny fraction of the cost.
This is also where its very fast access to data provides a great advantage. Any trading system can be back tested and optimised and the results can be displayed as a 3-D graph which can be rotated and viewed from different aspects. This enables you to visualise how robust your trading system is. This list can be sorted by the display column headings such as by percent change in ascending or descending order. This can be very useful in finding stocks that have done well for the day and, for instance, to find stocks which have had a large increase in value together with increase in volume.
Once you see a stock that looks interesting it only takes a double-click in the list to bring up the chart. Once set up the data is updated with no fuss.
While beginners may think that free data is a bargain it is not worth using for serious trading in my opinion. There are also other providers of free ASX data and if you are more an active investor rather than a trader this may suit. Most data providers will supply Metastock data which is suitable.
Premium Data has a special script which not only takes any hassles out of configuring AB to read its data but also creates a huge number of watchlists to cover every section of the market as well as the sectors and subsectors.
There are about of such watchlists so there is a huge resource there for investigation including lists of stocks which can be traded with different CFD providers. There is therefore no need to make special data folders as with other charting software and so no need to have the data tediously distributed to multiple folders. Premium Data maintains the watchlists and AmiBroker instantly retrieves the data as required from just the one data file.
Data distribution is therefore never slowed no matter how many watchlists there are. The slightly more expensive Professional version will give extra functionality with live data but is not needed for end of day data or for a limited number of live charts. I have never had to use this and as mentioned before if there is a problem the support is excellent. While support is readily forthcoming I would suggest that if you decide to use AB that you carefully read the tutorials and other help before asking Thomasz for help.
If for no other reason than pure self-interest I would like to make sure he gets as much time as possible without distractions to keep on making this better and better. There are aspects of this software I have not yet explored so those who have been using it for longer than I have may be able to suggest other advantages. All in all I think it is an excellent package and unbeatable for the price and quality.
Perhaps the last word should be left to Thomasz himself when he says: This is what I am working on constantly. TheBull's free daily and weekly newsletters.
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