Friday, January 14, 2011

Know Thy Indicator

I use eSignal in my work because it allows me to jump from indicator to indicator to different time frame to new symbol quickly. That is essential when your domain is everything that trades in all time frames. The data is another story but that is for another blog post.

Last night, as I told my subscribers this morning, I attended the monthly meeting of the Long Island Stock Traders Meetup Group and one of the speakers showed the S&P 500 using a default StockCharts.com chart. It about 2 seconds, I said under my breath, "that does not look so good." This a day after writing my Barron's column saying it looked OK using eSignal.

I know from my days as a technical analysis product manager with Tradecenter, Knight-Ridder Financial and Bridge that not all software is the same let alone not all the data. What data is excluded? When do you start the count? Where do you put pre- and post-market data?  And for this blog post, what exactly is the formula for RSI?

The old saw "you can torture the data to say whatever you want" comes to mind.

I know when I see something funky - which I can usually tell after a quarter century of looking at charts - I run through several websites and even the exchange website to see who says what. The chart of the India ETF (INP) is the latest example of how three services show one thing and three show another.

The moral of this story is that you should probably use two different charting packages for your trading. You want them to show a few discrepancies from time to time to be sure you are getting different "opinions," too.

6 comments:

Mikey said...

I seriously recommend taking a quick visit to a P&F version of whatever you're looking at - changes perspective, and shakes up the system ...

joed said...

If I'm understanding you correctly I wanted to agree and point out that I use Optionsxpress, ProphetX and Futuresource.com (free delayed not bad at all) and I often have three different versions of data. I miss futuresource workstation of which I believe to be the very best but am under contract with ProphetX.
At any rate good luck trading.

patrick neid said...

When StockCharts dropped Mt Ranier as their background I switched to Live charts. I warned them, it's better to look good than to feel good!

Live charts is perfect for someone who does not day trade.

Mack said...

Michael,

This blog is a great heads up to me as I also depend mostly on eSignal for analysis. I do use bigcharts sometimes as well. I'm going to begin using both simultaneously.

Forgive me for going down a rabbit trail here, but I am curious how you get relative strength charts on the bottom pane of esignal along with other indicators like RSI? I can do them in the main pane, but not the bottom. Esignal tech support has been no help.

Quick Takes Pro said...

Mikey - very good idea

joed - so many software packages I miss that are no more

patrick - since I use eSignal I think I already have everything in LiveCharts and more???

Quick Takes Pro said...

Mack,

Customer support should be ashamed of themselves. The relative strength I use in the lower pane is an efs formula - THAT THEY GAVE ME! Don't ask me to give it to you because I'd have to call customer support to tell me where it is and how to send it to someone.

So a scan on the forum or whatever they call it for the efs you need. Bonus - I got a cloud chart efs there, too.