Each month in this
Journal, our technical support staff addresses issues of interest to many CSI
subscribers in a question-and-answer format.
The views and information expressed
in this document reflect the opinions and experience of the author Robert C.
Pelletier. Neither CSI nor the author undertake or intend to provide tax
advice or trading advice in any market or endorse any outside individual or
firm. All recommendations are provided for their informational value
only. Readers should consult competent financial advisors or outside
counsel before making any software purchase or investment decision. CSI
does not stand behind or endorse the products of any outside firms.
Copyright (c) 2000 Commodity Systems Inc.
(CSI). All rights are reserved.
Questions and Answers
I understand that U.S. stock trades will soon occur in
decimal increments instead of eighths, halves, etc. as they always have. How
will this change affect my CSI data files?
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),
some U.S. stocks began trading in dollars and cents on August 28, 2000. Other
stocks and exchanges will switch to decimal units gradually through April 9,
2001, when all U.S. securities will be priced in decimals.
Because of the different architecture and data archiving
techniques used by QuickTrieveT and Unfair Advantage, each respective program
employs a different method for handling decimalization.
Unfair Advantage v.2.2.0 and higher allow for on-the-fly
changes in pricing units and conversion factors, so on the day any given
stock's trading unit is changed, UA will automatically begin quoting the stock
in the new unit. It will continue to show previous data in its then-current
unit. The master database will always be held as quoted and the visual database
(displayed in charts and written to files) will reflect the current convention
used by the exchanges. Stock users must use v.2.2.0 or higher for a smooth
If your UA portfolio includes export files in CSI, CSIM or
ASCII format, UA will re-write affected files entirely in the one current
trading unit. UA users with many export files in these formats will notice
delays in updating your portfolio on days when many stocks change to decimal
presentation. This is due to the one-time process of re-writing existing files
in the appropriate trading unit. All of these processes are automatic, so no
action is required by the user.
QuickTrieve also relies heavily on conversion factors for
determining pricing increments of data files, but due to the structure of
QuickTrieve format files, automatic changes are not possible. In order to avoid
extensive re-processing of history files, CSI will convert the exchanges'
decimal pricing into the nearest 64th for posting directly to current and
future QuickTrieve files.
For more information on the decimalization of U.S.
exchanges, please visit the following websites: www.sec.gov; www.nasd.com;
www.nyse.com/press/press.html; www.sia.com/decimalization; www.nscc.com.
I appreciated the information provided in the "Alert
Calendar" in the original Unfair Advantage versions and miss this feature. Do
you plan to add it to the current UA?
Although you may not have realized it, your upgraded UA versions
have continued to receive prompt notification of world market events that
affect trader interests. To view them, begin by clicking the "Initiate" menu on
UA's main menu. Then click "Facts & Events" followed by either
"Alert-Event" or "Exchange list", etc. until you find the subject you wish to
Here is a sample of the non-price calendar-date information
provided by CSI:
The Consumer Comfort Index, U.S. Labor Statistics, U.S., Canada and Japan's
PPI, Commitments of Traders Data, Economic Indices, Labor Statistics, First
Notice Day and the Last Trading Day for most commodities, US and Japan CPI, UK
Labor Report, Australian Unemployment, German Employment, Canadian Wages,
France's Balance of Payments, USDA Crop Reports, US Index of Production,
I noticed you added Moving Average Convergence
Divergence to UA's study list. Do you have any information about using this
When requesting an MACD study, it is usually advisable to
take the default settings provided. Three indicator lines are provided to
explain the study results. The green line is known as the MACD "fast" line. It
is calculated as the numerical difference in price between the first two of the
three exponentially weighted moving averages supplied as input defaults. (An
exponential moving average is one where disproportionately heavy weight is
assigned to the recent past.) The blue "slow Signal" line uses the third moving
average period to measure the rate of change in movement of the green line.
Finally, the gray line presents the difference between the blue and green
lines. The gray line, known as the MACD-Histogram, is shown as a line (rather
than a histogram) to simplify the busy study results in an easier-to-read
MACD users examine the gray line, watching for market movement
down from a local peak. When the gray line begins to fall from a peak, a sell
signal is developing. Conversely, when the gray line begins to rise from a
trough, a buy signal is developing. The gray pseudo histogram-line is a recent
addition to UA's presentation of Gerald Appel's popular MACD study.
Please see "Trading For a Living," by Alexander Elder, and
published by John Wiley & Sons in 1993 for more information and many other
reports on technical indicators. Dr. Elder sends a letter with his views on
various market-related topics every 2 or 3 weeks to friends and clients. Anyone
who wants it can leave a note at www.elder.com.
I have been using UA's incredible Stock Scanner to
investigate daily the entire history of 23,000 US stocks and mutual funds. I
have been using the ASCII format and find that the process takes a bit longer
than I expected. How can I speed things up?
There are four basic formats within UA and an efficient API
that a user can engage to process massive historical reserves. These include
the MS Excel format, the ASCII format, the CSIM format, and the basic CSI
format. Each format is nominally an order of magnitude faster than the other to
read and process. What might take ten seconds with the Excel format will take
about one second with the ASCII format, one-tenth of a second with the CSIM
format and one-hundredth of a second with the CSI format. Any user insisting on
the Excel format or the ASCII format should investigate CSI Commercial sales to
obtain historical data reserves, and an alternative daily update data feed that
can be manipulated outside of Unfair Advantage. Otherwise, please attempt to
employ the more efficient formats of CSIM or CSI directly from within the UA
I just installed UA 2.1.4, but am unable to understand how
the new feature "display in currency" functions. Example: I draw chart of
soybean oil and thus have the last price of 15.24 U.S. cents/lb. When I display
in German Marks, the scale shows a price of 1970 K. Since one US Dollar is
worth about 2.15 DEM you have to multiply by 2.15 to arrive at the price
equivalent price per pound in DEM, but that isn't the result at all. Please
UA's "Display in Currency" feature expresses the value of
any contract in the currency of your choice. The resulting values, as seen in
the chart scale or on the optional UA table, reflect daily fluctuations in the
full contract value, not the price per pound or other trading unit as shown on
the standard chart. The latest UA manual includes instructions on using the
"Display in Currency" feature, which also allows for the alternate display of
any commodity in currency units per contract. We recommend you download this
manual from the UA website if you have not already done so.