Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BIS report: High Frequency Trading in the FX market

High-frequency trading (HFT) has increased its presence in the foreign exchange (FX) market in recent years. A discussion is emerging about its benefits and risks, though the assessment is often hampered by difficulties in identifying and quantifying HFT as distinct from other forms of automated trading. It is crucial to have a clearer understanding of what HFT is (and is not) and what it does (and does not do) before assessing its implications from a policymaker's point of view.

This report examines the facts about HFT in FX, including its definition, effect on other market participants, behaviour in normal and stressed times, and key differences with HFT in equities. It also identifies issues pertaining to market functioning, systemic risks, and market integrity and competition that may warrant further investigation. This report was prepared by a study group chaired by Guy Debelle, Assistant Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

JEL classification: F31, G14, G15

BIS Report HFT Trading Systems

Trader Rastani tells BBC collapse is imminent, Goldman rules the world, be prepared

Monday, September 19, 2011

Common Money Management Formulas

All of the EAs that we program at generally use one of three types of money management. I don’t really like that term, though. I believe that position sizing formula is generally more accurate.

The options are:

  • Fixed Lot Size
  • Use a percentage of available margin
  • Lose a certain percentage of the account balance whenever the stop loss is hit.
  • Most MetaTrader users are accustomed to using fixed lots. It’s far and away the most common method found in commercial EAs. If you’ve watched any of the videos on this site or spoken with me, you know that I generally have a low opinion of most commercial EAs. Just because everyone does it does not mean that it’s a good idea!

    Whenever a customer order mentions the idea of using a Risk input to control the lot size, it typically means to use a selected percentage of the available margin. Say, for example, that you trade a $10,000 account on 1% margin (100:1 leverage) and want to use 2% of available margin on any given trade. If you have no open positions, then the margin to use is $10,000 * 2% = $200.

    The lot size is the outcome of the following formula:
    Lots = Margin to Use / Margin Required per standard lot

    Going back to our example, you simply plug in the numbers:
    $200 / $1000 per standard lot (100:1 margin) = 0.2 lots, which is 2 mini lots.

    The MQL4 code for this is
    double lots = (AccountFreeMargin() * Risk) / MarketInfo( Symbol(), MODE_MARGINREQUIRED);

    The advantage to this method is that the lot size remains consistent barring a dramatic change in available margin. I don’t actually see that as an advantage, but many traders like seeing the same lot size on most trades.

    The disadvantages are numerous. If you like to trade on high leverage and trade many different instruments, you can easily get yourself into a margin call. If your strategy calls for placing a stop based on price action, the amount lost will vary depending on where the stop is placed. Some trades might lose $20 while others lose $100.

    double lots = Risk * AccountEquity() / MarketInfo(Symbol(), MODE_TICKVALUE) / Stop;

    My favorite method is to select my lot size based on the equity loss if my stop is hit. If I risk 0.5% on a $10,000 account and my stop loss is 20 pips away, then desired lot size is
    lots = 0.5% * $10,000 / $10 per tick per standard lot / 20 pips = 0.25 lots, or 2.5 mini lots

    The lot size decreases whenever the stop loss distance increases, and vice versa. A 60 pip stop loss would require a lot size of
    lots = 0.5% * $10,000 / $10 per tick per standard lot / 60 pips = 0.083 lots, or 0.8 micro lots after accounting for rounding.

    The varying lot size drives most traders crazy. I believe such rationale ignores the logic of trading. Trading is a statistical outcome, a distribution of events that theoretically returns a net result greater than zero. We call this profit in daily life.

    If your trading system is x% accurate and you know the profit factor is greater than 1, why on earth a trader would haphazardly bet different dollars amount on every trade is beyond me. The effect is no different than randomly choosing to bet $10 on this trade and $100 on the next. The random, system-less method of choosing position sizes for your trading system would overwhelm the nice, even distribution that you’re expecting from the signals.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Wall Street Protest Begins, With Demonstrators Blocked

    Wall Street Protest Begins, With Demonstrators Blocked

    Robert Stolarik for The New York TimesProtestors gathered in Lower Manhattan for what some called the United States Day of Rage.
    For months the protesters had planned to descend on Wall Street on a Saturday and occupy parts of it as an expression of anger over a financial system that they say favors the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary citizens.
    As it turned out, the demonstrators found much of their target off limits on Saturday as the city shut down sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall well before their arrival.
    By 10 a.m., metal barricades manned by police officers ringed the blocks of Wall Street between Broadway and William Street to the east. (In a statement, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman said, “A protest area was established on Broad Street at Exchange Street, next to the stock exchange, but protesters elected not to use it.”)
    Organizers, promoters and supporters called the day, which had been widely discussed on Twitter and other social media sites, simply September 17. Some referred to it as the United States Day of Rage, an apparent reference to a series of disruptive protests against the Vietnam War held in Chicago in 1969.
    The idea, according to some organizers, was to camp out for weeks or even months to replicate the kind, if not the scale, of protests that erupted earlier this year in places as varied as Egypt, Spain and Israel.
    Bill Steyert, 68, who lives in Forest Hills, Queens, stood near the barricades at Wall Street and Broadway and shouted, “Shut down Wall Street, 12 noon, you’re all invited,” as tourists gazed quizzically at him.
    Talking to a reporter, he elaborated, “You need a scorecard to keep track of all the things that corporations have done that are bad for this country.”
    Nearby, Micah Chamberlain, 23, a line cook from Columbus, Ohio, held up a sign reading “End the Oligarchy” and said he had hitchhiked to New York. “There are millions of people in this county without jobs,” he said. “And 1 percent of the people have 99 percent of the money.”

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    World's central banks flood market with dollars

    LONDON (AP) -- Five of the world's top central banks acted jointly Thursday to provide unlimited dollar loans to banks, a move aimed at easing the growing tensions in the eurozone's financial sector and shielding the global economy from its jitters.

    The European Central Bank said it will coordinate with the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank to offer three-month dollar loans to banks through the end of this year. There was no separate statement from the Fed.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Computer-based attacks emerge as threat of future, general says

    The general in charge of U.S. cyberwarfare forces said Tuesday that future computer-based combat likely will involve electronic strikes that cause widespread power outages and even physical destruction of thousand-ton machines.
    Army Gen. Keith Alexander, commander of the new U.S. Cyber Command, also said that massive losses of private and public data in recent years to computer criminals and spies represent the largest theft in history.
    Threats posed by cyber-attacks on computer networks and the Internet are escalating from large-scale theft of data and strikes designed to disrupt computer operations to more lethal attacks that destroy entire systems and physical equipment.
    “That’s our concern about what’s coming in cyberspace - a destructive element,” Gen. Alexander, who is also the director of the National Security Agency, the electronic spying agency, said in a speech at a conference on cyberwarfare.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Returning Greece to the Drachma

    To the Drachma
    The standard of living reached in Greece since it joined the European Union means austerity will be inadequate to rebalance the economy. Returning Greece’s currency to the drachma, on the other hand, would allow market forces to set the country’s wage levels, induce other indebted European Union members to reform without Continental prodding and thus solidify the euro.
    Greece’s gross domestic product per capita of $30,400 in 2008 was close to the European Union average. It was caused not by an exceptional surge in productivity, but mostly by huge subsidies and extensive borrowing. Greece’s continuing current account deficit, estimated by The Economist at 8.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2011 despite a severe recession, indicates that it remains deeply uncompetitive.
    From Spiegel, with the article recreated in its entirety as the implications for the EUR, the eurozone, and crony communism as massive:
    German Finance Minister Prepares for Possible Greek Bankruptcy

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who is reportedly doubtful that the country can be saved from bankruptcy, is preparing for the possibility of Greek insolvency. Officials in his ministry are currently reviewing scenarios for handling such a situation, exploring what it might mean for the rest of the euro zone. Under the first scenario for a Greek bankruptcy, the country would remain in the euro zone. Under the other, Athens would abandon the common currency and reintroduce the drachma.

    The European bailout mechanism, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), is playing a key role in those considerations. Soon the EFSF is expected to be given new powers agreed to by European leaders at a special euro crisis summit in late July. Two instruments at the EFSF's disposal are at the forefront of the Finance Ministry's scenarios.

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Jing free screen recording tool

    • Take a picture or make a short video of what you see on your computer monitor.
    • Picture/Video
    • Share it instantly via web, email, IM, Twitter or your blog.
    • Picture/Video
    • Simple and free, Jing is the perfect way to enhance your fast-paced online conversations.

    EES announces opening of registration at

    EES FX is now accepting new registrations with a secured, encrypted login at - See the login / register module on the bottom right of the home page.  Login / Register will be available only at the homepage for the time being.  If you navigate away from the hompage, click "Home" in the upper left top menu to go home.

    During the coming weeks, will be undergoing changes to facilitate a social environment for Forex traders.

    In the meantime, you may now register for the site and participate in the forums

    Friday, September 9, 2011


    In Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series, the future of masses of people can be predicted with "psychohistory," a method of predicting future political and social trends, using a device called the "Prime Radiant." In the 1950s, there wasn't the math or the computational power available to make such a thing reality. Now there might be.
    Supercomputers, such as the Nautilus at the University of Tennessee's Center for Remote Data Analysis and Visualization, may have brought the world closer to Asimov's vision, though it is still early days. The key is seeking patterns in massive amounts of data and being able to visualize them. Kalev Leetaru, assistant director for text and digital media analytics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, did just that.
    Leetaru used a database of 100 million news articles spanning the period from 1979 to early 2011. The data is from the Open Source Center and Summary of World Broadcasts, both set up by the U.S. and British intelligence agencies to monitor what amounts to nearly every news source in the world and translate them into nuanced English. By analyzing the text in the news stories and the tone -- whether they were largely positive or negative -- Leetaru found patterns emerging that seemed to line up with major periods of unrest. For example, in Egypt, the tone of news articles about Mubarak grew increasingly negative as the protests grew, until eventually Mubarak resigned.

    CFTC Sues 11 More Forex Companies

    The companies are sued under the 2008 Farm Bill, the Dodd-Frank Act and the CFTC’s regulations. The 11 new lawsuits join 14 previous ones, making the total number 25.
    Some of the firms are based in the US, while others are from the British Virgin Islands, Belize, the UK, Australia and Cyprus. Here are their names:
    1. 1st Investment Management, LLC, a Wyoming LLC;
    2. City Credit Capital, (UK) Ltd., a United Kingdom company;
    3. Enfinium Pty Ltd., an Australian company;
    4. GBFX, LLC, a New York LLC;
    5. Gold & Bennett, LLC, a New York LLC;
    6. InterForex, Inc., a British Virgin Islands company;
    7. Lucid Financial, Inc., a Utah corporation;
    8. MF Financial, Ltd., a Belize company with offices in New York City;
    9. O.C.M. Online Capital Markets Limited, a British Virgin Islands company
    10. Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd. a Cyprus company; and
    11. Windsor Brokers, Ltd., a Cyprus company.

    North Anna Nuke Plant paid $32,000 fine for definition of 'safe' - no earthquake plan in place

    It is North Anna’s second serious brush with quake issues. The first was in 1973, when the company was digging a hole for the foundation of a third reactor that was later abandoned. A visiting geology professor told an executive of the plant operator, then called the Virginia Electric & Power Company, that there was a geologic fault.
    The executive let the comment drop, and Virginia Electric told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that there was no evidence of faults. Eventually it paid a fine of $32,000 for failing to alert regulators promptly; the five-member commission also reprimanded its own staff for moving slowly to bring the information to the attention of the administrative law judges hearing the company’s application for an operating license. The commission ultimately decided that the reactor would be safe.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    JPMorgan explains crisis with Legos

    Michael Cembalest, the chief investment officer for JPMorgan's private bank, included a Lego diorama in his research note today in order to explain the ongoing euro zone crisis as seen by a 9-year-old. [via Felix Salmon]
    If you're having trouble reading it, don't worry, there's a key that includes plenty of European stereotypes. 
    For example, the toreador in a floppy hat, and the F1 driver in the upper left-hand corner represent Spain and Italy. The sailor represents Finland and the artists are France.  Felix Salmon points out that he forgot about Iceland
    If playing with Legos to explain economics seems bizarre to you, here's what Cembalest has to say to that:
    "If today’s diorama analysis borders on the absurd, so does maintaining the fiction that accumulation of massive public and private sector claims in Europe can somehow be engineered away."

    JPMorgan Legos

    Read more:

    Euro break-up – the consequences by UBS

    The Euro should not exist.

    More specifically, the Euro as it is currently constituted – with its current
    structure and current membership – should not exist. This Euro creates more
    economic costs than benefits for at least some of its members – a fact that has
    become painfully obvious to some of its participants in recent years.

    The Global Economic Perspectives draws on the research UBS has published
    over the past fifteen years looking at the issues surrounding the Euro and its
    existence. If the Euro does not work (and it does not), then either the current
    structure needs to change, or the current membership needs to change. Rather
    than go through the options for keeping the Euro together (fiscal confederation
    being the central idea, and our base case), we look at the consequences of
    attempting to break up the Euro.