Monday, November 21, 2011

Ciana, New Frontiers in Technical Analysis

For those of us without a Bloomberg terminal New Frontiers in Technical Analysis: Effective Tools and Strategies for Trading and Investing by Paul Ciana (Bloomberg/Wiley, 2011) is an idea book, not a plug and play manual. But even though some of the software tools described in Ciana’s book are not available on run-of-the-mill trading platforms (and where they are, they are available by subscription only) clever programmers may get inspired. Moreover, even without access to proprietary software the imaginative reader can add some new arrows to his quiver.

The six chapters in this book are written by six different authors: “Evidence of the Most Popular Technical Indicators” (Paul Ciana), “Everything Is Relative Strength Is Everything” (Julius de Kempenaer), “Applying Seasonality and Erlanger Studies” (Philip B. Erlanger), “Kase StatWare and Studies” (Cynthia A. Kase), “Rules-Based Trading and Market Analysis Using Simplified Market Profile” (Andrew Kezeli), and “Advanced Trading Methods” (Rick Knox).

Ciana provides some fascinating data about the preferences of those who use the Bloomberg Professional Service. For instance, Europe opts for log charts 47% of the time and Asia only 9% of the time. Asia prefers candlestick charts, the Americas bar charts. Worldwide the most popular technical indicators (excluding moving averages) are RSI, MACD, Bollinger bands (BOLL), stochastics (STO), directional movement index (DMI), Ichimoku (GOC), and volume at time (VAT). RSI is the clear winner, with a 44.4% worldwide preference; MACD comes in second at 22%. Some indicators have geographical ties. GOC has a 10.8% popularity rating in Asia as opposed to 2.5% in the Americas and 2.8% in Europe. VAT has a 5.3% rating in the Americas and only 1.8% in Europe and 1.6% in Asia.

VAT, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is something of a seasonal indicator. For instance, “from a historical perspective, VAT considers the volume that has occurred on that day over the past X years to create the average for that day. … From an intraday perspective, VAT creates an average of volume from the actual volume that occurred during that time-slice for the past X days. In both applications VAT can be projected into the future to get an idea of expected volume.” (p. 37)

The authors describe the proprietary technical indicators they have developed and give ample illustrations of them. Some of the indicators have been around for quite a while. For instance, there are Kase’s DevStops, which I always mean to study more carefully and somehow never do. And, of course, Market Profile is a well-known if not so well understood trading framework (hence the simplification proposed in this book).

For those traders always in search of the next best thing (and all traders should be open minded enough to recognize that regimes change and strategies must be adaptable) Ciana’s New Frontiers in Technical Analysis offers a lot of eye candy. Possibly addictive, perhaps not truly nutritious, but definitely fun to devour.

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