Trading software

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

€180 loss :-(

A good lot of markets including some commodities rallied yesterday and today, partly in anticipation of Greece's vote on their new bailout. Whatever the reasons for the oil surge, it wasn't good for my trade and I hit my stop loss today.

Got out for a loss of €180, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Still well up on commodities overall but it still hurts to take a loss!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Selling oil

I wonder if the whole oil thing is going to settle down?

Perhaps the end is in sight in Libya, although we can't be certain on that. Anyhow the price of Brent Crude has dropped to around $103-104 per barrell and I've decided to sell at 0.20 stake on Market Spreads - which effectively means I'll gain/lose €20 for every dollar fall/rise.

The International Energy Agency has announced a release of 60 million barrels from reserves so that has eased demand somewhat.

I sold Brent Crude Oil this morning at $103.49 and at the moment, I'm showing a loss of about fifteen quid. I've a stop loss in place around $112.

It will be interesting to follow this one over the next couple of weeks I reckon. 

Current open trade, plus the Brend Crude Oil weekly chart:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nice day

I was going to go to the Curragh for the Irish Derby, then I was going to go to Croke Park for the Dublin match - but in the end, I stayed back and spent the day on the beach with the family. It was a lovely day in Dublin so I decided to enjoy it. I still love the view over Killiney, not matter how often I see it:

I only live a few minutes walk from the beach and feel lucky to do so.

Anyhow, I listened to the radio while on the beach and was delighted with the Irish Derby result. I had tipped Treasure Beach in yesterday's Irish Independent and those around me on the beach must have thought I was nuts when I started shouting loudly at the radio as the race progressed:

Then the Dublin/Kildare match came on - I had backed Dublin but knew it would be tight. I've yet to watch the highlights but it seemed like a real nailbiter with the Dubs winning by a point.

Happy days!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The costliest cup of coffee ever!

Those of you that know your coffee may have heard of Kopi Lewak, which is generally regarded as the most expensive coffee that money can buy. A cup of the stuff costs a whopping €50, although I can beat that. I've just had a coffee which cost me €55!

I haven't been near Betfair in ages so when I had a spare hour earlier, I thought I'd trade a few races. I had the kettle on the boil and placed €55 on Dr Finley, thinking the price would shorten. It was pretty lightly traded, the race was 2m, and the race looked like it was getting delayed so I nipped down to the kitchen to quickly grab a cup.  I quickly chatted to someone on the phone and forgot about the open trade for a moment.

I ran back upstairs with the steaming coffee in hand when I realised the time - but I wasn't too worried as I thought I'd get out handy enough if the race was delayed.  Not so! It was too late. It turned out to be the most expensive cup of coffee I ever made:

On a more positive note, the price of wheat fell quite a bit today. I sold it a few days ago (albeit with small stakes) and my trade is currently in the black to the tune of over €40. Not bad for my first ever wheat trade!

I've now moved my stop loss to ensure I make at least a pony (€25) on the trade but hopefully, it will continue to drop:

On another positive note, I've made my first ever withdrawal from one of my non-sports trading accounts (Marketspreads) today. Sometimes, you gotta take some profit and enjoy it so I ordered a monkey and two ponies (€550) and this will help pay off some of my holiday to Canada:

I know it's important to build up your bank but it's also important to enjoy spending some of your earnings too - when the cheque arrives, it makes the money real and it's a reminder of why you spend hours on end sitting in front of that damn screen!

(and don't tell the missus, but I may just buy some Neil Diamond tickets for Saturday with part of the money). 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nice move

Went down to stay with my brother in Wicklow for the weekend as it was his birthday so I didn't do any trading. I really enjoyed the break and we had great craic and a nice few drinks.

That wheat I sold the other day at 726.20 has dropped as I expected and now trades at 695.5. That's a fair bit of a swing and makes me wish I had more on but in fairness, it was my first time trading this commodity so I wanted to play it cautious as I learn the ropes. At the moment, the trade is in profit of roughly a pony so I'm going to set a trailing stop and make sure I come away with something.

I've a few thinks going on at home at the moment and could have a busy week so I'm not sure I'll get near Betfair at all this week - I'll try keep on top of the non-sports trading though.

Current open wheat trade:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Less complicated that it looks

Someone emailed me about my 'momentum' strategy with regard to commodities so I'll briefly outline what I'm testing. I have it all automated in a spreadsheet so it only takes me minutes each day to monitor.

When I decide to start monitoring a commodity, I make a note of its buy and sell price in columns B and C (see attached picture). The idea is to trade the commodity when it moves in price by 5% or more in either direction.

Each day, I'll make a note of the new prices and enter them in columns J and K. Lucky enough, I have screen reading software so I can simply copy and paste the data from the markets and I don't have to type in all the figures.

Column Q compares the original price of the commodity when I started monitoring it to the new price and tells me how much it has moved (in percent terms).

If and when a price moves by more than 5%, a message will pop up in column R telling me to 'Buy' or in column S telling me to 'Sell'. As you can see, Wheat has moved more than 5% down from the original price so hence the 'Sell' signal.

The rest of the columns are just the maths and other notes but it's a fairy simple way of monitoring price movements without having to manually compare prices each day (which is time consuming).

I also have a similar setup for Betfair trading where I get  a bot to send the live price feed to my spreadsheet.

Looks a bit complicated but it's handy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gold (Cup) and wheat

I was delight to see Fame And Glory stay the distance in the Ascot Gold Cup today - I think most of us loved Yeats and it would be nice to see another Irish stayer doing the rounds. Royal Ascot has been OK from a punting point of view thus far, nothing huge earned, nothing huge lost.

I traded wheat for the first time today - it's a very interesting one and is quite weather dependent:

The one downside to trading the less common traded commodities is that the spread/broker fee is usually larger. Spread firms and brokers keep their margins to a minimum on things like gold and silver as they don't want to lose business but the spread on lesser traded stuff can be big which puts you on a losing foot from the outset. I took the opinion that the price would drop - mainly based on the weather but also based on the fact that it has been on a downward trend recently which may continue, which ties in with my momentum stuff. As it's my first time trading it, I only used small stakes. I opened my trade by selling at 726.20 and as I type, it's trading around 704.50. As usual, I wish my stakes were bigger!  But I'm showing a profit of over seventeen quid at the moment which is fine by me:


Those 'sells' on Wall Street and the S&P500 recovered yesterday as both indices dropped.

Having gone through the trades again, I realised that I had made some schoolboy errors with my figures so rather than let the trades run, I decided to sell out most of it. The trades shouldn't have been placed in the first place - I mixed up some columns in my spreadsheet that indicate if I should trade or not which was pretty foolish, but at least I've spotted the error.

I sold out (or bought rather) most of it anyway for a profit of €30 and left a small few bob running with a stop loss to get me out for a small profit no matter what. The running trade is currently in profit of €15.20.

I know it was pure luck, but I'm pretty happy with the turnaround - at one stage yesterday when I discovered the error, I considered getting out for a loss of €130 but then the American markets opened and quickly dropped so I sat it out.

I'm pleased to have made a small profit but I'm displeased to have made a stupid error with my figures.

Closed trades & remaining open trade:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Frankel, Wall Street, S&P, So You Think

Had a pretty large bet on Frankel today and I have to say I got a scare. I argued yesterday in favour of backing short prices (when appropriate) but the old ticker was pumping when Queally let him go, a bit early it seems. In fairness, he only hit 1/2 in-running so there probably wasn't too much to worry about but I had a fair whack on so I felt relief afterwards. What next? The Juddmonte I'd guess, but I'm not so sure about a mile and a quarter.   Cecil mentioned meeting Goldikova/Canford Cliffs  - what an awesome race that would be!

Regarding the trading, I sold Wall Street and the S&P 500 yesterday hoping that they would drop a bit - I was basing it on some fundamentals but mainly the momentum strategy. Unfortunately, both rose today so as you can see in the picture below, I'm currently in the red of about €122 overall. I have stop-losses in place so I'm not hugely concerned but it would be nice for both to fall over the next few days!

I guess the banker for most at Royal Ascot tomorrow is So You Think. As I write, he's trading around 1.43 which is probably about right. I had him chalked up at 1.4 so technically, I should have a bet since it's a couple of ticks higher than my tissue. What I may try do though, is trade that race and try to get a green book on SYT. I'll have a bit more of a look later. Australians, of course, know all about the former Bart Cummings animal and how talented he is - his Irish races haven't done him any justice whatsoever as yet so it'll be good to see the five-year-old in action at Ascot.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oil and Ascot

Well, my oil trade hit its trailing stop and got me out for a profit of €27.40 in the end. This is somewhat disappointing considering the trade was showing an unrealised profit of over sixty quid at one stage - however, I did make a profit so I shouldn't complain as you can't expect to hit the top each time. As I mentioned before, if I can ride along taking some money out of the markets along the way, I don't care if I catch the highs and lows really.

Having re-read Mark Shipman's Big Money, Little Effort over the weekend, I'm going to set up some spreadsheets and put some of his strategies into action. That book gets mixed reviews on amazon but I thought it was decent enough although it could have been fitted into a few pages as its basically a strategy based on moving averages. It's a well known momentum type strategy - when a certain short term MA crosses over the long term MA, it's time to buy (or sell when the opposite happens).

I'm also going to spend some time today working on my momentum based trading  - this time on the non-sports markets - and I'm going to set up some spreadsheets etc later.

On the racing front, Royal Ascot starts tomorrow and it's one of my favourite festivals of the year. Pure, top-class flat racing is a joy to watch and the form stands up very well. Cheltenham and the likes are great fun but I much prefer punting on the flat and I'm thinking of having my biggest bet of the year on the awesome Frankel in the St James' Palace Stakes.

The going might be a bit soft after the rain but he's so good I don't think it will matter - besides, he's won on softer ground before.

If you get into the business of backing horses at 4/11, the old 'value' argument will crop up again. Short prices don't bother me though, and value can be found on both ends of the market. In fact, the market is far more efficient at the short end. I hate using the word cert as there's no such thing - but I find it very difficult to picture Frankel being beaten. If I were asked to lay, I'd have him at 1/4 so if I'm to put my money where my mouth is, there is no other option but to back at 4/11 as that's clearly over-priced in my opinion.

Fair enough, I'm not going to win any awards for originality for picking Frankel but there's nothing wrong with backing short prices in my view - especially with top class flat horses.

For example, since 2003 at Royal Ascot, there's been 11 horses odds-on with 7 of those winning:

An overall profit of 0.85pts was shown if you backed them all.

However, if you concentrate on the top class horses only, say, horses rated over 100, then we get 3 winners from 3 bets, and a profit of 2.1pts.

(data thanks to Horse Race Base)

I know it's way too small a sample to draw any meaningful conclusions but I'm just trying to emphasise to people who won't back odds-on that it's not as risky as it seems.

He could lose, of course, but I'm certainly excited about seeing this colt in action again- he's an absolute superstar.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shoulda, coulda, woulda

Well, oil is pushing towards $120 a barrel which is great for my trade but it leaves me wishing I had bought more than 20c a pip at $116.36.  If hindsight were foresight, I'd be a feckin' millionaire by now. Shouldn't complain though - at them moment, the trade is in profit of over 60 quid which is double what it was yesterday.

I've thought a little more about when to get out of this one. Normally, when a trade pushes roughly 2.5% further than I've bought it, I'll sell a third of it. Then, when it hits 5% more than I've bought it, I normally sell the second third.
I then leave the last third to run.

But this time, I've simply set a stop at $117. In this way, I'm now guaranteed something at least. But rather than selling some as described above, I'm going to hold the lot. If it keeps rising, I'm going to move the stop higher, a sort of a manual trailing stop if you will. In this way, if it moves forward a decent amount, I will have the full stake earning me money rather than a small portion.

Deciding when to get out is an inexact science though and is often as difficult as deciding on whether to open a trade in the first place!

Open Brent Crude Oil trade:


I see OPEC could not agree on increasing/decreasing oil production after their meetings this week. I expected oil to jump a little more than it did since production wont be increased but to be honest, sometimes the markets have these things anticipated and I reckon the announcement has probably been built into the price anyway. It went up a bit on Tuesday but not massively. The USA starts trading in a few hours so it will be interesting to see all the same how oil goes today. My own stuff is still floating around the same price, around 30 quid in profit.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, gained 49 cents to $101.23 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery rose 27 cents to $118.12.
The Vienna meeting yesterday broke up without agreement, keeping its official output target at 24.84 million barrels per day, where it has stood since January 2009.
'Unfortunately, we are unable to reach a consensus this time to reduce or raise our production,' OPEC Secretary General Abdullah El-Badri said after the meeting.
Traders had earlier speculated that the 12-nation Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would boost production quotas to cool oil prices. The International Energy Agency said it was 'disappointed' by OPEC's decision and urged producers to pump more anyway to avoid higher oil prices.
The next OPEC meeting will be in mid-December in Vienna to reassess the oil market situation, said Iran's caretaker oil minister Mohammad Aliabadi, whose country holds the rotating OPEC presidency.
Some OPEC members are worried that the oil market will tighten in the coming months - as seasonal demand hits a peak in the northern hemisphere summer - pushing oil prices even higher.
Coupled with the continued unrest in the oil-producing Middle East and North African region, analysts expected oil demand to rise in the next few months.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back buying oil

A couple of weeks ago, I started tracking the price of oil again when it was trading around $110-111 per barrel of brent crude.

I decided to use the 'momentum' strategy to see if I could hop on the bandwagon of a swing so I bought some today when the price had moved up more than 5%. I bought at $116.36 (not a lot mind) and it's now trading at $117.83 so hopefully it will keep rising. At the moment, the trade is in profit of around thirty quid. I'm not overly-opinionated  on oil but I've a general feeling from following news issues in the middle-east that there's going to be more instability so I've an inkling that it will rise a little over the next few weeks. Going to set a stop-loss however just in case.

Brent Crude daily chart:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Two ponies

I traded for around two hours today and made fifty quid so I'm reasonably pleased with that. That equates to a pony an hour which isn't too bad.

Not going to bother with the evening racing - I'm off out for a few pints later to watch the Ireland match. I've backed Ireland to win at 6/5 - not extremely confident about that bet but we need the points and I reckon we can scrape it.

So what about the Derby?  I had Seville backed so was left disappointed but I'd also layed Carlton House so I didn't win or lose on the race overall. I flagged Pour Moi as a danger in my Irish Independent artice today so wasn't to surprised with the win. What was surprising though, was Mickael Barzalona standing up in the irons before he crossed the line!  Perhaps he mis-judged the line but he's lucky he didn't feck it up all the same. Still, he's a fantastic young jockey and looks extremely naturally talented. It was his first ride in the Derby and I wonder if he'll be the next big thing. I think there's a little bit of a showman about him, similar to Frankie Dettori but I reckon the sport needs these kind of people and it makes it more fun.

As regards the trading, it went pretty good and wasn't too difficult. On such a scorcher of a day, it would have been a sin to stay indoors so I took my whole set-up out to the front garden, laptop, cables and all!  Some passers by were probably wondering what the feck I was doing but I enjoyed sitting, working in the sun.

Once again, I was mainly using my momentum trading strategy and it went well - although I must think more about when to get out of a successful trade. I'm probably getting out too early to be honest and some big swings were missed as I had taken the money off the table too early. Generally, I sell half my stake a few ticks down and let the rest run but perhaps I should let more of it run instead. Anyway, it was a fairly decent couple of hours trading so I won't complain too much.

It's thirsty weather, so it's now time to have a jar!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Selling the silver

Well, my remaining silver hit my stop and got me out.  Those trades were my first proper sliver trades (other trades were just with pennies) so I'm well pleased with myself for bagging a total of €211.16.  It was simple enough really - I used a similar strategy to that I've been discussing lately - I waited for the silver market to move by 5% in any direction and then bought/sold.  In this case, it moved up by 5% so I jumped on the bit of momentum  and made a bit.

It doesn't always work but it's a good strategy as long as you keep your stops in place.

Closed silver trades:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hard day at the office

Traded some evening stuff tonight but only earned just over twenty-six quid in around three hours. Some of my mates think this trading lark is easy but once again, that type of money is minimum wage stuff and it ain't always as easy as it looks!

Markets seemed a bit funny again - plenty of spoofers putting in big orders and taking them out again - this pisses me off, although I will admit to doing it myself in the past so I can't really complain. The best course of action is to ignore it I feel, as they are only doing it to try fool people and probably won't commit their money if it came down to it.

I'm glad I made some money - even if it was only a pony - but it was a tricky night somehow and far from plain sailing as you can see from the p&L.

Feel quite tired so I'm not going to bother with the last two races. Going to just watch them now before turning the news on, then I'll probably read a little and head to bed! Not a very exciting night really!