Monthly Article
Topics for December

This Issue
December 2001

Various Topics
Page 1

Tech Talk
Page 2

Market Statistics 
Update &  IPO's
Page 3 

  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) 2001 Commodity Systems Inc. (CSI).  All rights are reserved.

Topics discussed in this month's journal.
Thirty Months of CSI Technical Journals

  CSI will be closed for voice communication on Tuesday, December 25 and Tuesday, January 1 for the Christmas and New Year's holidays, respectively. The CSI host computer will be accessible throughout both holidays and data will be available for any market that remains open on these days. All of us at CSI extend our best wishes for the season and the coming new year.

Thirty Months of CSI Technical Journals

   We say goodbye to 2001 with a look back at the last 30 months through the CSI Technical Journal. This index reminds us of where we have been and what we have learned in the recent past.  It inspires us to begin a new year with ever-advancing technology and progress, always aimed at enhancing the CSI experience of our customers. This is just a brief history, as we have published the CSI Technical Journal monthly since 1978. To find the full text for most of these journals, go to the website.

June 1999
Reviewing Market Opportunities with Perpetual Contract® Data
In June we were about to mark the 30th anniversary of CSI's most enduring and successful product, Perpetual Contract data (a protected registered trademark of CSI). This article reviews the flexible Perpetual Contract data formulation and looks at the debate over blending away the gap between old and new contracts. 

Tech Talk Topics: Using Unfair Advantage data with third-party analysis programs; back-filling a second database after installation; compatibility with MetaStock; explanation of the caret (^) figure in price fields; upgrading UA and a "Tip of the Month."

July 1999
The MultiMarket Analyzer:T Stretching, Unstretching and Leading the Way!
This article describes and explains Unfair Advantage's® MultiMarket Analyzer (MMA). This module features three distinct indicators, the Davis Stretch Index, which "stretches" data in search of misalignment, the Davis Unstretched Indicator, which shows expected price levels and the Davis Market Leadership Index, which tells which markets tend to provide directional leadership for the others.

Tech Talk Topics: Clarifying the roll-forward date in computed contracts; raising negative values in back-adjusted series; upgrading Unfair Advantage from the CSI website; restoring a previous (non-test) version of Unfair Advantage and backing up your UA portfolio. Tech Talk includes a notice that the API demonstration package has been enhanced, and can be downloaded from the website.

August 1999
Capturing Intermarket Trading Opportunities
The first paragraph of this article states that the underlying purpose of the CSI Technical Journal is to alert customers to the many salient features of CSI's market data services in ways that might help the user make more effective trading decisions. The remainder of the newsletter fulfills that purpose by defending Perpetual Contract data and then moving on to ways that the MultiMarket analyzer can help investors.

Tech Talk Topics: Charting cash prices with Unfair Advantage; handling the change of the tick size of some 10-Yr. Treasury Notes; restoring full precision following a UA upgrade and incompatible modems.

September 1999
The Impact and Influence of the Federal Reserve System on the U.S. Economy - 1999
This is an updated version of an essay that appeared in the August 1996 issue.

Tech Talk Topics: Using UA's "artificial high/low" option for data presentation; CSI's policies regarding trading advice; explanation of what goes in the monthly "Error Report" and overwriting the "update.adm" file.

October 1999
Why Clean Data is a Mandatory Pre-Analysis Step
This article revels in Futures Magazine's September '99 issue, which featured a cover story about the accuracy of end-of-day data providers for investors. CSI finished on top! The many factors that contributed to CSI's impressive performance are discussed here.
Tech Talk Topics: Error in Alerts Calendar and plans for enhanced UA charting.

November 1999
Revisiting CSI's Trading System Performance EvaluatorTM
This is a review of TSPE's objective, methodology and technique. It explores issues such as developer bias, trade independence, appropriate sample size and TSPE applications. Multiple graphics are included. A second article details how to use CSI data with RadarScreenT and a third explains preparations for 6% T. Bonds and Notes. No Tech Talk.

December 1999
Beyond 2000i and Trading System Certification
This article discusses the non-competitive relationship between CSI and Omega Research, as Omega's private label database provided free with their software is not in the same league as the CSI database. The article compares and contrasts many CSI services with those of Omega.

Tech Talk Topics: Preparation for the year 2000; using QuickTrieve® v. 4.07F after Y2K and using software with a two-digit date format after December 31st.

January 2000
Studying the Anatomy and the Dangers of TradeStation®
Here is an attempt to unravel the mysteries of TradeStation with particular attention to the "Strategy Performance" report. The final assessment advises caution and wariness: "Buyer beware. There is no free lunch." A second article, called "Unfair Advantage® for the 21st Century" outlines the software's current capabilities.

Tech Talk Topics: Maintaining compatibility with third-party analysis programs when upgrading Unfair Advantage; changing the size of UA's charting window; using CSI data with an alternative database format; CSI's seamless transition into Y2K and how to get current marketing information.

Screening Equities with Unfair Advantage's® Stock ScannerT
The lead article explains the steps necessary to screen perhaps 25,000 stocks. Another article discusses Trading System Performance Evaluator's goal selection and chart interpretation. The Journal finishes with a review of Delta Society software and a Y2K compliance status report.

Tech Talk Topics: Using QuickTrieve with third-party software that is notY2K compliant; using TraDe$k past the new year; adding options to UA; understanding the CSI Data Retrieval Agreement ("personal and private" explained).

March 2000
Advice for Business Partners
This Journal begins with a tongue-in-cheek poem called "Advice For Business Partners," and goes on to discuss how certain competitors have teamed up with partners, only to launch a business that directly competes with the partner. The article explains that CSI, as an independent data vendor, has no alliances that may cause conflicts of interest that may not be in the best interest of our customers. A summary of CSI's data services is included, as is a review of Formula Research.

Tech Tip Topic: Steps to speed data distribution with Unfair Advantage.

April 2000
Breaking Out of the Mold for Better Trading
This month's discussion focuses on a tried and true model for market analysis - the breakout system, and the necessity of accurate data to feed it. Sheldon Knight's "How Clean Is Your Data" article in the September '99 Futures Magazine is extensively referenced. The newsletter also passes along a customer's comments about a competitor's "Unfair Burdens," and provides notice of a price change for the UA World Futures Database. Additional articles explain charting thousands of stocks with UA's Stock Scanner and invite users to subscribe to our e-billing service.

Tech Talk Topics: Use of the monthly Error Report; finding features from UA's former "View" menu; CSI's record for data accuracy and using CSI data with TradeStation. An update on supported formats is also provided.

May 2000
The Quick Route to UA Charting (A Navigational Guide)
This article introduces the newest version of Unfair Advantage, which has a somewhat different look and feel from earlier versions. The extensive tutorial guides users through the process of creating a portfolio and charting data using UA's new interface. This newsletter also mentions CSI's position as #1 on the search result list for "commodity data," and announces the addition of Commitments of Traders (COT) data to the CSI database. QuickTrieve users are advised through an additional article that the "File Adjust" feature is no longer needed.

Tech Talk Topics: Possible solutions to problems with writing data files; discerning between current-day and lag-day cash prices; correcting Windows NT® "crashes;" maintaining separate databases with UA data and mutual fund adjustments. A notice informs users of the information requested when reporting possible software errors.

June 2000
Low Margins and Improved Tools Fuel Futures Speculation
Here we touch on some of the most important issues involving data and futures market analysis. These include the pitfalls of examining a market with skimpy data reserves; the pros and cons of various computed contracts; the value of volume and open interest; the use of detrending; and the important step of system evaluation and certification with Trading System Performance Evaluator (TSPE). This newsletter also introduces the idea of becoming a CSI business associate and earning referral fees, and includes a review of VantagePoint analysis software.

Tech Talk Topics: Viewing Commitments of Traders data with UA; selecting the roll-forward date for nearest future contracts and the UA v. 2.12 upgrade, which appends proportionally adjusted stock files instead of rebuilding them. 

July 2000
CSI Users Perform Custom Studies with UA's Stock ScannerT
This is a description of the process of using UA's Stock Scanner to apply custom studies to thousands of stocks using VisualBasic or Perl.T Sample Perl language programming code is provided. A recommended reading list is also included, as is a government survey seeking input on COT data (reprinted from the Bullish Review).

Tech Talk Topics: UA's new currency converter; download instructions for UA version 2.1.3; minimizing redundant data formats to speed distribution; data access times and speed of transmission; correcting a problem with COT data and a correction to last month's Q&A about COT Index data.

August 2000
Optimization, Verification, Certification and other Perils
This article provides the CSI customer with information to help with the planning and execution of a careful trading plan. It discusses the importance of the trader's algorithm and the development of custom studies. Certification and verification of results with TSPE are recommended. This newsletter includes a message from UA developer Steven Davis advising customers of the need to upgrade to UA v 1.74 before August 23rd, as this version supports a new data type that is necessary to provide an increasingly comprehensive list of services. Also included is a reminder about the CFTC's COT survey.

Tech Talk Topics: Upgrading the UA online manual to receive the table of contents; displaying non-truncated values for markets that are typically truncated; separating data into folders sorted by format using multiple portfolios; launching a third-party analysis program automatically; selecting markets from a list; dismissing the "Tips" list; keeping trading records with CSI's upcoming Trader's AccountantT and selecting computed contracts.

September 2000
In Search of a Sure Thing
Here we question the existence of a "sure thing" in the financial markets, and discusses ways that UA's Trading System Performance Evaluator helps weed out trading systems that are likely to result in failure.

Tech Talk Topics: Decimalization of the US stock markets and its effect on CSI data files; finding the Alerts Calendar in the current UA; explanation of the new Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MAC/D) study; speeding the Stock Scanner process and UA's "Display in Currency" feature.

October 2000
Defining The Trading Day on U.S. Security Exchanges
This is a review of exchange policies that have led to inconsistencies and delays in posting market data. It also reports the good news that the NYSE has introduced a new rule that will eliminate these problems. Small-lot, after-hours trades will no longer distort prices.

Tech Talk Topics: The CFTC's survey about Commitments of Traders (COT) data; adding indices to a UA portfolio and creating the largest possible charts with UA.

November 2000
TSPE Tutorial
This article is a walk-through example of how to use TSPE to obtain a comprehensive analysis of your favorite trading system. It includes information on entering the required data, selecting the contract multiplier, choosing commission, adjusting for sample size and parameter count, choosing a goal, understanding probabilities and interpreting results.

Tech Talk Topics: The upcoming change in Stock Scanner to accommodate commodities; using UA to explore stocks by industries and sectors and UA's "update.adm" file, which addresses changes and adjustments.

December 2000
Detecting Emerging Market Opportunities in Stocks and Futures With MarketScannerT
Reintroducing UA's Stock Scanner as "MarketScanner," a powerful, versatile screening and scanning tool that is no longer limited to just stocks and indices. The article includes an example of a new study called Emerging Markets (EmergMkt) that has been developed for experimental purposes in Unfair Advantage v. 2.2.2.

Tech Talk Topics: Expanding MarketScanner's sample library; the CSI website's Current Posting Status screen; the negative prospects for running UA on an old, underpowered computer and incompatibility with WebTV.®

January 2001
Adding the PerlT Language to Your Set of Programming Tools
Explore the pros and cons of using Perl for market analysis within Unfair Advantage's MarketScanner. It includes a basic description of Perl's symbol operators and use of variables, as well as a brief tutorial and "Perl Tips."

Tech Talk Topics: News headlines; download speed; holidays in ASCII files; and diagnosing and correcting gaps in the UA database 

February 2001
Engaging Unfair Advantage's MarketScanner to Find Solid Trading Opportunities
This article describes the experience of using MarketScanner in developing an emerging market study and contrasts it to similar attempts with Omega's Radar ScreenT and TC-2000.T It finishes with a list of additional "Perl Tips" for programmers.

Tech Talk Topics: Decimalization of U.S. stocks and help with the interpretation of CSI's commodity data.

March 2001
A User's Guide to Unfair Advantage v. 2.3
Here we unveil the vast array of enhancements and new features in the latest upgrade of Unfair Advantage. The most significant changes are in the portfolio manager that supports multiple portfolios, and in the charting module, which offers enhanced scaling options and the ability to chart custom studies. This journal has no Tech Talk, but includes a summary of UA's economic database.

April 2001
A Comparison: Futures vs. Stocks in a Volatile Market
This article addresses the stock market's inherent tendency to punish all or nearly all investors in a down market. It explores the use of the futures markets for viable investment alternatives in uncertain times.

Tech Talk Topics: Missing days in overseas price series; correcting an error in UA v 2.3.1; new symbols for preferred stocks; decimalization of U.S. stock markets; developing a trading record for CSI's Trading System Performance Evaluator; identifying raw contracts to chart with UA and data presentation alternatives on UA charts.

May 2001
Stock Futures: Investing with a 21st Century Twist
The concept of "single stock futures," which will soon be available at U.S. markets and which will be supported by UA is introduced. This Journal includes an announcement that CSI has engaged several new sources of exchange data, adding additional redundancy to further enhance data accuracy and expediency.

Tech Talk Topics: Using UA's "History Refresh" to correct a "range check error;" the QuickTrieve format enhancement that allows for higher values through ".DT2" files; data precision for penny stocks quoted in decimals; the relationship between Perpetual Contract data prices and actual futures prices (relating to an unexpected jump in platinum prices); rollover dates for nearest-future contracts; the UA\UAPI directory with sample programming code for Perl, C++, Visual C, Delphi and Builder3; decimalization of the U.S. stock markets and improved data release times.

June 2001
Unfair Advantage Outpaces the Rest
Here is an overview of the many enhancements to Unfair Advantage in the preceding 18 months. Areas of improvement discussed include charting, analytical studies, multiple portfolios, database enhancements and enhanced customer support through the CSI website and information systems within the software. The newsletter includes an important notice that UA v 2.1. and earlier version will no longer be compatible with future upgrades, and will be replaced by CSI.

Tech Talk Topics: The addition of new Dow Jones IndexesSM to the database; viewing those indexes through UA; possible benefits of the Dow Jones Indexes; price discrepancies with newspaper prices and changes in analysis results after upgrading (London Potatoes and NYMEX Natural Gas). Delta Graphics users are encouraged to upgrade to UA v. 2.3.5 for important new features.

The Dow Jones IndexesSM are compiled, calculated and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM  © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

July 2001
Computed Contracts Get Real
This article ponders the question of how market data should be treated to best replicate and simulate the "real" trading environment. Computed contracts are discussed, as are the effects of liquidity and volatility.

Tech Talk Topics: Setting colors for charting indicators; troubleshooting with the online manual and multitasking while UA is downloading data from CSI.

August 2001
CSI's Formula For Data Perfection
This Technical Journal provides a historical overview of the CSI database, from its humble beginnings to its emergence as a world leader in providing complete, accurate market data to individual investors and corporate customers. General information on data sources and internal data processing are provided. Additional articles comment on CSI's right to claim a copyright for the data we provide and about the SGX-DT (Singapore) exchange's request for exchange fees.

Tech Talk Topics: Correcting the "Program Not Found" error after changing browsers; UA's new "Scale By Visible Data Only" option; arranging for automatic data downloads through Windows' Task Scheduler and CSI's handling of exchange fees. 

September 2001
Using Options to Take the Sting Out of a Down Market
This article presents examples of option strategies that might be used to help preserve and enhance investment capital. It includes a disclaimer notice about the risks involved in trading options. 

Tech Talk Topics: Printing the UA factsheets from the CSI website; adding a grid to charts; using UA to view daily data, even when custom programs focus on weekly series; and viewing and printing CSI's Alerts Calendar from outside of UA.

October 2001
Pearl Harbor Revisited
Inspired by the terrorist attacks on September 11th, this article reflects upon December 7, 1941, "another dark day for Americans," and the financial climate that followed. It includes charts of the Dow Jones Industrial Average from the 1930s through the 1960s. Additional articles include condolences to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy and a compatible software profile: Elliottician (Makers of Elliott Wave Analyzer).

Tech Talk Topics: Database corruption caused by content-altering software such as "Cybersitter" or IE's "Content Advisor;" volume and open interest postings; custom programming assistance and information on "CD required" upgrades. 

November 2001
Examining Seasonal Tendencies To Uncover Clues in Historical Data Reserves
This article explores trading seasonal commodities as a viable alternative to the everybody-wins-or-everybody-loses stock market during these uncertain times. It demonstrates how CSI's Seasonal Index can help and includes a disclaimer about the risks associated with trading commodities.

Tech Talk Topics: The elimination of ActiveState screens when installing UA; the effects of the 9/11 tragedy on data files; handling of the data gap for markets closed 9/11 - 9/14; charting of out-of-range settlements and the CME's settlement policy (relating to the Columbus Day holiday).