Futures Truth Reports ... Do the FT Rankings
Because the Systems Tested Are Curve-Fitted? - Vern Nord
Have you ever tried to pass up a rope? I have spent the last two days trying to analyze the Feb/March issue of Futures Truth. I would like to share my conclusions with your readers to start a discussion. I know we are all looking for the perfect system which works on all commodities with similar rules and parameters, but are we really looking for the impossible.
The very best systems in Futures Truth were only good on a maximum of 4 commodities, and if you throw out such things as Pork Bellies, Live Cattle, Soybeans and Eurodollars, then no system was any good on more than three commodities.
The best systems all had three or less unrelated commodities at the top of their lists. I thought that a good trend following system would test well on all the Currencies because they are very good trending markets. None of the systems tested well on more than one currency.
No system worked well on any two commodities in the same group with the possible exception of Gold and Copper. They both tested very well under Welles Wilder's Volatility Movement System.
There was no system that tested both T-Bonds and T-Notes, but they should test similar on a system.
As I expected, the few systems that tested well on the S&P 500 were very poor on all other commodities. On non-trending markets like the S&P 500, Wheat, Lumber, Silver, Gold, etc., there probably is no perfect system to handle the random nature of these markets.
So what I am trying to say is that there can never be only one perfect system for all markets. You need one type of system for trending markets; one type for random walk markets and one type of system for commodities that trend for a few months and then go into a trading range.
In all three systems you would need an indicator like the ADX from Wilder's Directional Movement to tell when to shift gears from trending to trading range or to random markets when you should stop trading for now.
Another surprise from my analysis is that pattern recognition systems don't test well in related markets.
Arnold's Pattern Probability System (PPS) tested well on the Jap Yen, Lumber & T-Bonds - all totally unrelated markets. This reminds me of something that Hulbert said about his one-year ratings on stock market newsletters and their track records.
After over 10-years of tracking all the best timers, he finally realized that his six month and one year rankings were almost totally worthless.
It seems last year's Guru is this year's goat. There's no consistency from one year to next, and you can't make money following last year's expert. This leads to one last conclusion - Futures Truth rankings continually change and I think this happens because all these systems are curve-fitted.
If you test any one system's across 36 commodities and stock indexes, you should get the traditional bell shaped curve results which means that 10% or three commodities would test very good, and 10% would test very poorly and the balance of 80% would fall in the middle inside the bell curve. This might explain why only 3 or 4 commodities test well on any one system and why they are totally unrelated. They probably found an algorithm and then curve-fitted it until they got good results in 10% of the commodities.
These price histories will never repeat the same way and systems are doomed to fail. Look at an old Futures Truth and see how many systems are still around, or even compare the "Top 10 since Release Date" with the "Top 10 for the past 12 Months". Only 4 out of 10 in the "Top 10 since Release" are in the current list of "Top 10 for past 12 months".
Analysts Make Predictions, but Traders Make Money -
Lesser Degree of Analysis Better Than Great Analysis? - John Piper
One of the points which became clear when giving our seminars, was the almost total lack of analytical input into the methods, which we are putting forward for successful market trading.
As I developed these systems, this was always fairly clear to me, but it came as something of a shock; I think, to some of the delegates.
Indeed this is a fairly revolutionary idea, perhaps even sacrilegious in some quarters. One can imagine the title of this article raising a few hackles at one of the monthly STA meetings - true though it may be.
The impact of this statement is that analysis is a red herring - just one more dead end in the road to trading success. The purpose of this article is to examine this proposition.
I think the first point to make is that before we can dismiss analysis as a red herring we have to know what is has to offer. So the novice perhaps has no choice but to get to grips with the full range of analysis, be it technical, fundamental or both. After all it is only once he has mastered some of these techniques that he can judge whether they are useful or not. The second point to make is that clearly analysis is useful to some people.
90% of traders may lose money (perhaps pouring scorn on the title of this piece) and many of those will be using some form of analysis - but of the winners, some of those also clearly use analysis techniques.
I'm not condemning analysis per se, indeed as I've written about it for some years, readers may consider it somewhat absurd if I were to do so. I have always stressed that I consider trading and trading skills to be of far greater importance - and in this I include reading market action.
For example, seeing and interpreting a failed breakthrough (or re-test) is not something I consider an analytical function but a function of trading. Clearly this is open to debate but this draws the distinction between the two for our purposes. Perhaps it would make the distinction clearer if it is borne in mind that the trader may have to act pretty quickly if he's going to benefit from a failed breakthrough, there's not usually enough time for an analyst to see pattern and then contact the trader.
However analysis can be the mother to the "view" and the view can be fatal. This is because we must not allow ourselves to be swayed by our views, fixed views are invariably fatal - if not initially then over the course of time.
So why is analysis the mother of the view? Because we have a tendency to believe what we want to believe. The more analysis we do the more we will be convinced of our original "view" - i.e. we may be achieving precisely nothing, indeed worse than nothing.
Now we can overcome this problem by being particularly disciplined, but an enigma remains if first an oscillator is giving an over-bought reading, suggesting a possible sale, then any trend following indicator will be in "buy" mode - i.e. they will tend to always contradict themselves.
This article is not designed to cover "emotional" trading which is the root of most traders' losses - you can hardly expect to make money if you have no system and act on impulse.
But analysis can fall into the same camp and it can be more subtle. All those knobs and whistles, all that computer hardware and software, all that work - it must mean something, mustn't it - Yes!
For most it means more losses. Also the facts of the matter are that a good system will out-perform a good trader.
This also may be a somewhat controversial statement and it must also be considered something of a generalization. But if you are a super-trader you won't need a system - or you already have one. If not, this statement is true.
However, let's make this statement even more specific. I have one account which I am trading which was up 40% at the end of September - however, if I had been trading the system outlined in our recently published "Trading Manual" then the gains would have been significantly higher.
So personally, I can say that methods utilizing very little analysis (and perhaps that little bit itself is a negative) have outperformed my trading which involves a greater degree of analysis.
Hardly conclusive, I agree but significant to the extent that any trader who is not sure of the right direction to take should carefully consider the points in this article.
Now you may say, "how can I trade the market without any analysis?" Well we are not going to explain the details of the approaches outlined in our "Trading Manual" but both the IOP and the Options approach are "market driven".
This means that the market determines what positions are taken. So you don't say, "my analysis says I should go long", you say "the market has triggered me long".
This of course is the key - price is the most important feature of the market, it has no view, there is no difference of opinion, the price at any one time is (usually) fixed and certain. Our systems are based on that certainly.
John Piper is the editor of The Technical Trader, 76 Nunnery Lane, York, Y02 1AJ, United Kingdom. Telephone: 44-904-636407
Here's A Form Clients Should Read & Sign At Time of
Trading Account With A Broker or Money Manager - Mike Coleman
I understand what commodity trading is, by nature, highly speculative and that while the system I am trading has been successful in the past, there is no guarantee of success in the future.
I understand that in order to be successful in trading commodities, it is absolutely necessary to:
a. be totally oblivious to losing trades
b. be completely firm in my resolve to be able to lose that which I originally committed to lose
c. be able to be "in the red" through extended periods of time and not cave in before the predetermined amount of money has been lost
d. ignore any fears, doubts or misgivings of what I am doing
e. be able to keep the whole thing in perspective, i.e., this is just another business venture which can have high returns for the risks taken, but only represents a tiny portion of my total net worth no matter what the results of the trading might be
I understand how debilitating negative or unpleasant comments to the person doing the trading can be. That person wants more than anything else for you to be successful, but negative comments only serve to create hesitation, doubt and temerity in continuing.
These comments are 800 deleterious to any success that any trading program might have and must be completely non-existent.
Finally, I understand that in order to be successful in trading commodities, I must think of how am I doing in terms of 3-month periods, not how did I do yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The curse which has befallen our great country, instant gratification, has no place in a venture such as this.
If you are obsessed with having to win every time, everyday, every moment, if you are scared about what you are doing, or if for any reason you simply are not comfortable with this, get out, stay out, and we will still be friends.
I, the undersigned, understand and agree with the above premises and ideas and promise to the best of my ability to conform to them.
I also expect the representative trading my account to honor the trades as the system dictates, to take every trade as they come, but to do so with no fear of retribution, negativism or ill-will in case of loss or temporary draw-down.
My Experiences & Reviews of System Writer & TradeStation - Don Wilson
In the hope of helping traders interested in using computers in trading, I would like to share my experience.
I'm an early retiree EE and began studying trading . Except for 8-months doing full-time engineering consulting, I have devoted pretty much full-time to trading analysis and trading.
Because I had traded part-time for about 10 years, I was familiar with the details of trading but not with system development and back-testing.
To start, I purchased a mhz computer system from Gateway. It arrived, I plugged it in and it has worked great for 21 months (I did have to swap out a monitor after 15 months - $250).
I then bought System Writer ($975) software. I also bought 40 trading systems from CTCR (Bruce Babcock for $500 at their "summer sale." None of them proved effective for me in their published form but they did contain lots of good ideas.
Bruce Babcock's book, The Dow Jones Irwin Guide to Trading Systems, was also extremely helpful in showing me the way to develop systems and to back-test them.
After 8 months of system development and back testing, I felt that I was ready to begin trading. I began to investigate ways to get real-time data into my systems that were written in System Writer.
Call me a novice - I had not realized it could not be efficiently done until I tried to do it.
So I called Omega Research. I happen to get Bill Cruz (Omega's President) on the line. After some discussion, he explained that I could not get real-time data into System Writer. He said I needed TradeStation. I said "Oh, no"!
I read an article in CTCR that said Tradestation was still full of bugs (this was December). Bill said "Not so". I'll prove it to you. You buy TradeStation and if I cannot get you up-and-running and satisfied within 3 days over the phone - send it back for a full refund."
So I bought it ($1714) - installed it - and it has worked great ever since. (I have had very minor problems or questions 3 times but they were resolved each time on my first call to product support at Omega).
(One item of contention I do have with Omega is that they now charge $495/year maintenance for TradeStation. This is way too high in my opinion, but I'm sure they will back-off from it if and when some competition arises.)
The System Writer and TradeStation software and 20-year historical data provide an efficient and easy way to back-test trading systems.
Of all the systems I've tested, I've been able to come within about +/- 15% of the results published by CTCR, Futures Truth, etc., for a given system.
I should mention that I do use Signal ($700/month - real-time or $100/month - 15-minute delayed) from my cable TV for my data and have had no problem with it working with TradeStation.
One cautionary note I should make. Before anyone spends the time - 12 full-time months and money ($15,000) to replicate my experience, be aware that all of your testing and analysis may not provide a system you can really use to make a profit or even to earn back the money you have invested. I estimate that I have analyzed over 60 trading systems. Some I developed, some I bought ($6,000) and several I was paid to evaluate by customers (for several months I offered the service of evaluating systems using TradeStation and historical data).
I have yet to find a mechanical system that can be efficiently traded without some discretion. I believe that any successful trader uses a type of mechanical system as a core guideline and then uses discretionary intervention for money management and number of contracts traded, etc. But the reasons that mechanical systems fail will have to be the subject of a later letter.
How Hillary Clinton Made $100,000 Trading Commodities - Kent Calhoun
In 1980 I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas to conduct computer studies of commodity prices and to work as a commodity broker. My reputation as a commodity trading expert, allowed me to attract a wealthier clientele than average commodity brokers.
Many clients kept repeating the same story about how a market could be traded without losing money. I was quite skeptical of these stories, until two ex-Refco brokers explained to me exactly how it was done.
These brokers claim to had seen it being done everyday for several months in 1978 and 1979 at the Refco office in Springdale, Arkansas. This is the office where Hillary Clinton established her commodity account and profited $100,000.
Robert "Red" Bone was the owner of the Springdale office, and had close business connections with Thomas Dittmer, the owner of the Chicago commodity clearing firm Refco. Both men had traded cattle futures contracts to allegedly profit eight to sixteen million dollars in the 1970's.
Futures contracts allow speculators the right to buy or sell a specified quantity of a commodity at a contracted price before an expiration date. Less than 3% of all futures contracts result in physical delivery of any commodity, the majority of all contracts are liquidated before expiration. Since 40,000 pounds is the quantity of a cattle contract, each one cent move is worth $400.
Mr. Bone's reputation as a successful cattle trader had spread far and wide, the number of new accounts at his office grew dramatically. The Springdale Refco office became the largest Refco trading office in the world.
WalMart and Tyson foods were fast growing billion dollar businesses with head corporate offices in Northwestern Arkansas. These two companies pumped millions of dollars into the hands of their employees, and into the Springdale Refco office.
Cattle prices have an average daily price range of less than one cent per day, so the average contract would be able to lose or gain less than $400 per day. The $1000 amount that Hillary Clinton opened up her account would allow her to margin only one contract. Margin money serves as an earnest money deposit required for each contract by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CME, which regulates the cattle futures market.
Major brokerage offices have a minimum net worth requirement of $250,000 minimum account size of $25,000, and very few brokerage offices would accept an account under $20,000.
Opening a commodity account for $1000 from a couple whose AGI was under $42,000 just isn't done. Commodity brokerages are well aware over 75% of all speculators lose money, and demand well capitalized accounts against the dreaded "locked limit price movement" possibility.
A locked limit price movement is any day, or series of consecutive days, when a market moves the exchange maximum allowable limit without a trader being able to exit his trading positions from the market. His trading position is "locked" into the market and he can not exit until market trades again.
This limit price move in cattle 1.5 cents per day or $600 per contract.
If Hillary traded one contract and encountered two locked limit moves the wrong way, she would have owed the brokerage office another $200 minimum besides her $1000 initial account equity. Locked limit moves do not happen to the Governor's wife, when her account is traded in Omnibus Acct.
An Omnibus account is an arrangement between an office owner or trader and a clearing firm that allows orders to be placed without account numbers assigned to priced orders.
The arbitrary matching of buy and sell orders with client account numbers is purely at the discretion of the Omnibus account trader. This Commodity Futures Trading Commission, CFTC, loophole legally allows an omnibus account trader to assign winning trades to any accounts he wants to have winning trades.
Eventually, White House will retract their statement that Hillary produced all the cattle trading profits for herself. I believe an Omnibus Acct was used to produce Mrs. Clinton's commodity profits.
Each commodity trade must be executed on the exchanges by a clearing member firm, like Refco. The trader of an Omnibus account is allowed to assign trades, AFTER the trading day has been completed, thus guaranteeing profits.
An Omnibus account might be used like this: a trader buys 20 contracts at .7000 sells 20 contracts at .7010, buys 20 contracts at .7020, sells 20 contracts at .7030, and continues this buy-sell pattern all the way up to .7100, or down to .6900.
At the end or during the day, winning buy and sell orders are paired, then account numbers are assigned to the clients. An Omnibus account is a legal license to steal.
If cattle had a daily high of .7100 and daily low of .7000, a one cent $400 price movement, the trader doesn't care whether the market moved up or down because he can pair profitable orders that had to make money.
The trader could say; Hillary's account bought 10 contracts of cattle at .7000 and sold 10 contracts at .7090 for a profit of $360 per contract times 10 for a $3600 profit that day, minus the brokerage fees.
According to Mrs. Clinton's records, she profited $5300 on her first day of trading. If this in fact is true, someone had to illegally violate CME margin requirements, since her $1000 could not legally fund more than 1-contract for a maximum daily profit gain of $400. This also means, someone had a loss of $5300 that day because commodity trading, like chess, is a zero-sum game. For every winner there is a loser.
Mr. James Blair, Tyson's chief attorney and favored Refco customer, is largely given credit for advising Mrs. Clinton's account. Why would Tyson Foods' top attorney want to make Mrs. Clinton commodity trading profits equal to over 60% of the Clinton's 1979 annual income? Did the opposite buys and sells for Mrs. Clinton's $100,000 come from Mr. Blair's account? Was this entire adventure an elaborate illegal campaign contribution?
Mr. Bone received $50,000 commissions per month from Mr. Blair's account, of which he monthly paid Thomas Dittmer about $20,000. Mr. Bone also received the largest fine ever assessed by the CFTC until 1980, $250,000, and longest suspension, three years from futures trading.
Is it pure irony that Mrs. Clinton, who had never traded commodities before in her life, makes a 1000% return on her money and her broker turns out to receive the strongest sentence ever handed out by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission?
Mrs. Clinton got $100,000. This lingering question remains, what did Mr. Blair receive on behalf of Tyson Foods?
Pure speculation might include Tyson business contracts from the state of Arkansas, favorable zoning regulations, or easing of environmental or OSHA regulations, or political favors yet unpaid.
Tyson Foods is now the largest poultry producer in the United States. Nobody gives a governor's wife $100,000 without expecting a dividend greater than the investment.
Tyson stock grew over 4400% from 1980 to 1990, mostly during the Clinton governorship of Arkansas, except for one term. That's a lot better return than you can expect from trading commodities.
The Markets - What and Why - Ken Turkin
It is a business. It is a money business. It has the best product line available, the promise of wholesale money. Everyone wants some but at the expense of someone else. How hard do you work in your business to get yours?
Why should this be any different. There are 50,000,000 people out there waiting to charge you a fee again and again to learn this business. The only way to learn this one, is from each other in all aspects.
When you go to a doctor, an exam will be performed to get your current state of condition. This by itself can be informative but must be put in the proper perspective.
Knowing how you were in the past completes the picture. From here, your future can be evaluated given your particular tendencies. The same analogy goes for any market. The main tool for examination here is a chart of recent price activity.
Look at any price chart. Why does it look that way? Groups of people! Nothing else. Why? One idea is there is something so-called "in the air" that affects human emotions which in turn alters our perception of value when pertaining to things we own or want to own.
When dealing with the markets, these viewpoints show up as the price activity seen on bar charts. In this respect all people are the same.
One of the things that separates us into groups is our type of trading style. We might be categorized into one or more of the many different time frames of trading such as to scalp, daytrade, weekend watch, invest monthly, adjust annually, long term buy and die etc.
For whatever the reason (our level of expertise or the amount of time available), we are attracted to some comfortable time frame. Now we have something else in common.
Most of the time, each group seems to act together, moving to similar internal or external reasons. Some might be confident while some confused. All of this shows up on the price chart because the markets are all groups acting together yet independently.
Things seem to go in cycles of active then passive, positive then negative. People buy a stock, then depending on their expectations they will hold it or buy more or sell it.
Each group does it again and again because people are habitually people. On the other hand there is always the option of altering your trading style periodically. In essence, you join a different group to satisfy your changing needs or realizations.
Let's say a rally just occurred, wouldn't you want it to happen again so this time you can get something out of it. How about if something bad just happened, wouldn't you be cautions and wait for someone else to prove it is safe again.
Whatever gets you excited or scared, you will play, trade or invest accordingly based on your future expectations. Our job is to always try to find some of these group tendencies at the right time to take advantage of.
Some types of market action has been called market noise or random activity. Noise is really the smallest time frame of price activity for which you can not explain its motivation.
Someone's definition of what constitutes the noise level is also a reflection of their understanding of the markets. Whatever your understanding of the markets are, they must be understood.
In any competitive business, you must know who your competition is and learn from them. Our job can be made easier by trying to find some of the above group tendencies at the right time to take advantage of.
What we should also try to do is dissect the markets composite chart form into the groups of people which made it in the first place. This can be done by putting yourself in their place.
Each group is important but not always well defined. An interesting observation is how the smaller groups tell us where the bigger ones are going, while the bigger ones tell us where the smaller ones must go.
Each group tries to obtain their goals while only a larger group might prevent this because their expectations and needs are contrary to yours. Besides, they have more time and money to accept the risk of proving themselves right.
People of all levels are quite consistent that a market chart becomes an excellent graphic representation of human emotions and logic.
In summary, markets are groups of people with different expectations trying to do their own thing at the same time in an arena where the strong will survive.
The professionals have better toys and tools, faster and cheaper executions and deeper pockets with more time and money. They also seem to be deafened by the markets noise. For the rest of us, all we have is each other to learn from.
The above is from the documentation of an interactive computer program which teaches a different perspective on how all markets work.
Astrologically Based S&P Chart - Carol Murphy
I did a lot of work on the S&P (astro) and this is my bar-chart forecast for S&P Cash (dated 940328): Chart in Print Copy
Technical Indicators I'd Like Added To My Trading System To Find More High Probability Trades - Ashif Jumma
Since I'm trying to separate the high probability trades from the low ones by using filters, I have the following suggestions for some changes or additions I would like to see made to my computerized Trading System:
Some of the suggestions may be difficult or not feasible, but they represent one person's opinion.
- Divergence alert and ability to pull up charts of all commodity together to check for divergences
- Open interest and volume graphs on charts
- Bollinger Bands and C.C.I.
- Up-down Volatility and Random-Walk Index
- McClellan Oscillator, a seasonal index for seasonal commodities, Weekly Stochastics
This would of course change the approach from completely mechanical to a technical approach which may not be suitable for everybody. They just represent my views.
More Notes on FutureLink - Ken Thompson
Here are a few notes concerning FutureLink and the Trendx Utility Program:
- FutureLink customers can request a CSI data facts sheet from FutureLink
- Two customer support reps verified to me that HG Copper's file number was 0006. FutureLink may need to mention 0008 as the new CSI ID number, as stated to me.
- NG Natural Gas file #0202 - Conv=+3 - Tick .001=$10.00 - Not price correlated to other petroleum products
- If FutureLink won't open a price file, suggest using "charts & fill" command only, on first export.
More on Hillary's Profits - Jeff Ramby
My contribution is simple and to the point . . . Hillary's trading was a no-lose situation. Broker 'Red Bone' constructed a straddle program, whereas most winners were diverted to Hillary's account and the losers wound up in less prominent managed accounts. This is very simple until you get caught. 60-65% of politicians have No Ethics.
FastTrack - A Mutual Fund Traders/Investors Friend - Jim Hill
There are many monthly/weekly/hotline/software services available for individuals interested in trading or investing in mutual funds.
Of course, you do not even have to use these if you access a data service and use technical analysis software. But I find that there is a combination software/data service only for mutual funds that meets my investment needs - FastTrack.
FastTrack (FT) is a data service that follows over 800 mutual funds and indexes and uses its own proprietary software for analysis and charting. It has its own built-in data communication service and each day you dial an 800 number to download daily info. In addition, one of the authors, Paul Charbonet, will about once a week give his view of the market and his selection of mutual funds. For the last several years his advice has been very good. In addition, there are comments about fund groups, select funds, trading ideas and other useful info.
There are two primary approaches one can use: selection and timing. To help you decide which mutual fund to select, FT divides the funds into fund groups (such as Fidelity, Fidelity Selects, Benham), indexes (DJ-20, DJ-30, etc.), topical groups (such as Health, Aggressive, Schwab No Load No Fee, Muni-Bonds and many others).
You can select one of the smaller topical groups, or fund groups, or the one category that has all the funds in it. You can create your own fund group if you have your favorite funds.
So, how can you use FT for selection? I will assume you want to trade only Fidelity Select funds. You would load the Fidelity Select Funds, and then choose an index to compare all funds against.
The index can be any fund or index in the entire list of funds. This method of selection is when you always want to be in the market; you choose the best fund of a pair of funds.
You choose the time frame of analysis, and you look at charts in color. You can also use Stochastics, MACD, Moving Average, Momentum and Relative Strength for technical analysis. However, I find the best technical tool is their own; it is called AccuTrack Indicator.
It is a combination momentum and relative strength index that has two variable parameters. It is excellent at enabling one to develop strategies for selecting the best mutual fund of a pair. The indicator is disclosed, and you could program it with software such as TradeStation, but if you want a complete package, it is very good.
As of the date I am writing this article, my indicator for the general market is still negative and it will not be positive in the near future. It is an easy indicator to set up in FT and easy to follow each day.
(This article is continued in next months CTCN)
Vern Nord did lots of research and analysis involving the various systems tested by Futures Truth. It seems to be true that it's rare for a system to perform well in a wide number of markets, even closely correlated markets. A seemingly minor or insignificant variation in a pattern, or the markets volatility, can make a major impact on a system's overall performance. That is especially true if the system has a number of optimized parameters.
John Piper's article about too much analysis sometimes being detrimental, has lots of validity. That's also true with the number of optimized parameters a system uses. For example, in my opinion a system with say 50 non-optimized parameters but only 3 optimized parameters, is preferred over a system with say 10 non-optimized parameters but 5 of them are optimized.
Unfortunately, Mike Coleman's form that he has new clients sign is very difficult for traders without discipline or patience to go along with. Many traders do not have what it takes to sit thru several losers in a row or a couple weeks of losing trades and drawdown. They expect immediate and constant profits and don't realize that's next to impossible, unless you happen to be Hillary!
Once again there's been much feedback about Hillary's trading. There can be little doubt that Hillary had little (or anything) to do with it. Keep in mind, she was apparently a complete novice at the time of her amazing feat. Note: I tend to believe Kent Calhoun's version on how she did it, as published in this issue. Thanks to all who made contributions to this issue of CTCN.
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