Graphical analysis of trading system's simulated track record. Step Two algorithm, USD/CHF.

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Written by Forex Automaton   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 10:32

This USD/CHF back-testing analysis continues the series which began with EUR/USD. Simulated track records of six best Step Two algorithmic traders are studied graphically. For a more numbers-oriented approach to performance, see the article explaining the trading system optimization process which led to the selection of these six robots.


Money management for the individual markets



Pattern analysis for the individual markets


Step One

You are here: Step Two



Step Three

Table 1. Various modes of the trading system operation. The present report deals with performance of selected Step Two algorithmic traders.

A run of the back-testing program created simulated track-records for just the six independent "virtual traders" (forex robots), each of them being an incarnation of the same algorithm, differing by the setting of the adjustable knobs. The robots had been selected on the basis of Step One vs Step Two performance comparison, and are believed to balance risk with return well while taking advantage of the multi-market capital allocation available in the Step Two algorithm. (The article linked above gives details of the traders' input parameters and the performance figures of merit). The algorithm learns continuously, using only data from the past of the time series. Therefore, every trading step, even during the simulated trading, tests applicability of the past experience to the present moment. In Step Two mode, co-existing trading opportunities in markets other than the market under study may influence which trades are placed. There is a competition between the markets.

USD/CHF during the simulated time period (2002-2009), including system training 1.1 USD/CHF during the simulated time period (2002-2009), after the system training is complete 1.2

Fig.1. USD/CHF bar charts for the period under study, 2002-2009. Day scale. 1.1 includes system training time when no trades could be placed, 1.2 covers tradeable time only.

As in all other studies posted here so far, the trading is performed on one-decision-a-day time scale, with 1:100 leverage, risking no more than 10% of the trading capital at any point in time. Historical EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, USD/CAD, USD/CHF (Fig.1) and AUD/USD day scale data are used, covering the time interval from August 20, 2002 to August 21, 2009, with the actual trading starting in April 2006 (when the initial "training" of the system was completed). This report covers the trading in USD/CHF, for all six traders.

Forex trading system track record chart. USD/CHF. Trader 510 2.1 Forex trading system track record chart. USD/CHF. Trader 552 2.2 Forex trading system track record chart. USD/CHF. Trader 553 2.3 Forex trading system track record chart. USD/CHF. Trader 584 2.4 Forex trading system track record chart. USD/CHF. Trader 588 2.5 Forex trading system track record chart. USD/CHF. Trader 622 2.6


Trader position



Market agrees





Fig.2. Performance track record charts. Day scale. Bars in the charts are color-coded according to the type of trading position held, as explained in the table. Black corresponds to no trading position. The time period, same for all traders, is chosen to best show all trades of all traders.


Discussion of USD/CHF performance

The USD/CHF track record does not look particularly impressive. As was already noticed for EUR/USD, USD/JPY and GBP/USD, the selected robots trade  only during the period of highest volatility. No trades have been placed in 2006 and 2007. Selected on the basis of portfolio success, the six robots under study show no particular success trading USD/CHF. A noteworthy thing is the fearless belief in the USD reaction following its monstrous plunge during the third week of December 2008, which makes the robots place a USD-bullish trade on December 17. They also understand the uniqueness of the moment and that no time can be wasted. Alas, the timing is not perfect -- the reaction comes a day later than the system expects. All of the robots except T553 have enough persistence to continue being USD-bullish next day despite the loss, and are rewarded.  

I dislike the fact that the system does not trade unless the volatility is extreme, since now there seems to be a risk of launching a system which will never place a trade if the volatility storm brought about by the financial panic of 2007-2008 finally abates. This is a topic of special discussion, but the core problem is now easy to identify: the way the entry and exit parameters are formulated, unlike the stop-loss parameter, is not adjusted for volatility. In other words, the threshold is applied to a quantity (relative expected price change) which is large when volatility is large and small when the volatility is small. That this quanity is a relative price change does not change the fact that the threshold effectively favors high volatility. The reason I end up with strategies trading only high volatility is because I try to minimize the risk, and the risk is minimized by minimizing the number of trades, by being selective about them.

This is not too difficult to fix by changing the way selectivity threshold is calculated. This problem is also completely different from the problem of obtaining the market direction forecasts on which the trades are based: it has to do with what fraction of the trade ideas that get accepted, not with the composition of the pool of trade ideas subject to this filter.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 04 January 2010 12:27 )