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Notice: 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 2003-2004 by Commodity Systems Inc. (CSI). All rights are reserved.

Website Links: This CSI website and Unfair Advantage system contain hyperlinks and automatic links to websites operated by parties other than CSI. No association with or endorsement of third-party websites should be inferred through these links. They are provided for your convenience and reference only. CSI is not responsible for and has no control over the content of third-party websites.

The CSI Team - At your service:

Andy, Betty, Bob, Debbie, Denise, Fran, Heather, Jason, Jeanean, Jose, Josh, Kathy, Ken, Kurt, Linda, Mike, Nassrin, Patti, Ron, Rosie, Rudi, Sabrina, Sean, Steven and Terry.

July 2004
CSI Technical Journal
Volume XXII, Number 7
Page 1

Topics discussed in this month's journal:
  CSI Market Data Software - A Compatibility Breakthrough!
  Tech Talk

Holiday Schedule

CSI will be closed for voice communication on Monday, July 5th in observance of the U.S. Independence Day holiday. Data from open markets will be available at the normal posting times, and the CSI host computer will be accessible as usual throughout the holiday weekend.

CSI Market Data Software - A Compatibility Breakthrough!

Traders around the world come to CSI for timely, accurate and comprehensive market data, arranged in ways that allow them to better understand and benefit from financial opportunities. Few would doubt that the CSI database is incomparable to all others in the industry. In terms of breadth, depth and accuracy, CSI's database is truly peerless. While some software developers find the super-compressed nature of CSI data stored and maintained by Unfair Advantage software to be remarkably efficient - it has been called brilliant, others find it daunting. This leaves us with the rather enigmatic situation of holding an affordable treasure that is underused by those who would benefit from it most. No more! We are pleased to announce that CSI now offers "CSI Market Data Software," an interface that can be supplied directly with third-party analysis programs and run as part of the daily analysis routine, allowing seamless access to CSI data from any program.

Investor Benefits

What does this mean to the investor? It means that with a few simple modifications, your third-party analysis program can be made to launch Unfair Advantage, download your market data and then proceed with analysis, just as it might with any other daily update service.

We also offer a corresponding portfolio service that allows software developers to create and modify the appropriate list of markets, complete with custom parameters, for their customers' use. For example, if your XYZ analysis software is designed to track, say, the S&P 500 stocks, the makers of XYZ software could arrange for CSI to maintain a portfolio of those stocks and label it specifically for XYZ users. Whenever the S&P 500 changes its market mix, a revised portfolio could be downloaded from a special screen. All files and portfolios would be automatically maintained with no fuss or bother.

Similarly, if your commodity software requires a more complex list of interrelated markets, each with a different set of back-adjustment settings, such a portfolio listing could also be arranged and automatically maintained by CSI, working with the software developer. The process is extremely simple - just the click of a button. (See insets on page 2.) As you'll note from the screen display, you can also customize your portfolio listing using Unfair Advantage's comprehensive portfolio manager.

The Welcome and update screen

Downloading a new portfolio

Software Developer Benefits

What does this mean to software companies who provide programs for market analysis? All of the above and more!

The primary benefit to the makers and marketers of investment software is that with this new product, your customers can easily access and use the CSI database. With perhaps 350,000 symbols involving world stocks, world futures, world options, tens of thousands of mutual funds and econometric data reaching back several decades to the mid 20th century, easy CSI compatibility is a big selling point for your product.

Although data compatibility with outside analysis products has never been a problem for Unfair Advantage, some software developers have shied away from our data due to unfamiliarity with our service. With this new portfolio management system, the appropriate data format can be arranged with a CSI technician and then automatically delivered to all who need it. You can choose between the CSI format, MS format, QuickTrieve® format or standard ASCII files - even with a custom record layout - to be delivered for use with your software.

The cost to the software developer for the downloader program is nil. We provide it for free and allow distribution with your program, along with technical assistance to your staff to arrange implementation. Likewise, the maintenance of portfolio(s) on our host computer for use by your customers is provided at no charge.

Whether you market an existing product or are launching a new innovation, the CSI downloader is available for inclusion in your program. CSI provides an executable file that links to Unfair Advantage (UA) and can easily be referenced in your menuing system. The software includes its own comprehensive help file. A version of this breakthrough product is already in use by Delta Society International and another is about to be implemented by a second well known software developer. Your analysis program can be next.

Cost Benefits for Everyone

Regardless of the initial outlay for analysis programs, data expenses are a consideration for investors and software developers alike. If you don't already know, you'll be glad to learn that CSI is, indeed, easy on the pocketbook. With annual stock subscriptions (including history) starting at just $245, or a full year of daily updates and a substantial historical database for North American futures at just $373, CSI's service is easily affordable.

If you're already a CSI subscriber you can continue using your current UA along with the new downloader that may come with your analysis product. In fact, you may, at your option, leave UA up and running after the retrieval session. Another benefit is that CSI's quality data can be used with more than one analysis product, whether or not the CSI Market Data Downloader is used.

Getting Started

If you are an investor and would like your third-party analysis software to have automated access to CSI, please contact the makers and direct them to this article on our website at www.csidata.com. Even with the CSI Market Data software, you will still need to have Unfair Advantage and its database, so please order them directly from CSI if you don't already have them. If you're a software developer and want to get involved, give us a call at 800-274-4727 or 561-392-8663 or send an email to techsupport@csidata.com. A CSI technician will contact you to answer your questions and provide the necessary software and information to get you started. We'll work with you on portfolio compatibility as well.

This is an exciting opportunity, not only for CSI, but also for investors and software developers around the world. It allows unprecedented ease of access to CSI's incomparable market database, making clean, accurate, affordable financial data available to all.

Best Regards,

Bob Pelletier

Note: CSI makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, by operation of law or otherwise, with respect to the quality, performance, merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose of any CSI or non-CSI product that may process data captured from the CSI database.

Tech Talk

Each month in this column, the CSI Technical Support Staff addresses topics of interest to many subscribers in a question-and-answer format. This month they discuss the availability of overseas (LME) data and various aspects of data release times.

Q. I recently heard an investment guru recommend trading the London Metal Exchange’s (LME’s) continuously forward markets (as opposed to fixed-forward futures markets in the U.S.), particularly nickel and copper. He said they are heavily trending and are easy to trade. Before jumping in, I would like to investigate this for myself. Does CSI offer data on these markets?

A. Certainly. In accordance with our agreement with the London Metal Exchange, CSI captures and delivers LME market data at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time (12:00 midnight GMT time in London). The “World Futures” subscription category includes LME commodities and virtually all other world futures markets.

Q. I have noticed that the scheduled posting time for data from the CBT & CME futures markets is 6:45 p.m. daily, yet these markets are often posted about 30 minutes later. If you could comment on when these markets can reasonably be expected, it would be most helpful to me in planning my evenings.

A. As mentioned in last month’s Journal regarding Globex data, the trading day is 23 1/2 hours long for many markets. This means that real-time data feeds are barely finished reporting one day's prices when the fields must be cleared out in anticipation of the following day's open. Because of this, CSI must retrieve this data by other, slower means, which often don't become available until after 6 p.m.

These delays, plus the time necessary for checking and verifying questionable prices for all of these markets, often cause us to miss the 6:45 scheduled posting time. CSI is currently in the process of developing other methods of getting the data out earlier and will implement those methods as soon as we feel confident that they will not compromise the quality of the data you are accustomed to receiving from CSI. We always strive to make the 6:45 posting time, and sometimes we make it. You should see us hit that target more regularly in the near future.

Q. What times do the “Open” and “Close” prices represent for the various markets?

A. Although this is a very common question, it has a complicated answer. Take the Chicago Board of Trade (CBT) markets, for example. Open auction trading runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Central Time for most of their grain contracts, but their mini-size grain contracts close at 1:45. To further complicate matters, the electronic sessions have staggered start times, running from around 7:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. for most markets. CBT financials, on the other hand, trade from 7:20 a.m. to 2 p.m., with electronic sessions from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. The variations go on for other market types, and are compounded at exchanges across the country and around the world. All are subject to change at the discretion of the exchanges. Therefore, for up-to-date and accurate trading hours, we recommend you consult the exchange websites directly. Your search engine should direct you to the correct site if you simply enter the name of the exchange.

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