Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hirsch & Person, Commodity Trader’s Almanac 2010

The Commodity Trader’s Almanac (Wiley, 2010) is the very young sibling of the Stock Trader’s Almanac. While stocks have had their own almanac for over forty years, this is only the fourth edition of the commodity almanac. I bought the first edition (2007) and found it useful. This edition, however, seems to be genuinely “new and improved.” For one thing, it now includes information on S&P 500 and 30-Year Treasury futures. (Earlier, currency futures were added.) Moreover, it provides not only specifications for commodity future contracts but also for their related ETFs and stocks. In the calendar section are charts that overlay about a year’s worth of data comparing a commodity to an ETF or stock and that show the commodity’s long-term seasonal pattern. The calendar itself highlights some seasonal trades that have had a high accuracy rate. The almanac also draws on John Person’s work on candlestick and pivot point trading triggers.

Understandably, commodities have long been viewed as seasonal markets. Even if they stray from seasonal patterns during times of turbulence, it is never wise to trade commodities without knowing their seasonal track records. In this almanac there are three tables for each commodity (plus currencies and the new equity and fixed income futures). The first provides annual highs, lows, and closes of the near-term contract going back at least 25 years, sometimes longer. The second displays the near-term contract monthly closing prices, and the third looks at the near-term contract monthly percent changes. There is also a one-year chart comparing the 25-year pattern to the 5-year pattern. And, for those who like text, there are descriptions of the seasonal tendencies of the commodities both in the calendar section and in the data section.

All in all, this is a treasure trove of material both for futures traders and for those who prefer to trade ETFs.

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