Technically Speaking, August 2019

Once again, we find ourselves dealing with the external market forces of a China trade deal. Will we, or won’t we? But this time, China went into the currency markets and nobody liked that very much.

And the internal forces, somewhat internal, anyway, of the Fed dropping rates – giving the market what it asked to get – was not fun either. Apparently, it was not enough.

I get that the yield curve almost demands further cuts but the economy is also pretty much at the higher end of possibilities. Why exactly do we need cuts? To appease the bond market? Or is the bond market inverted because it knows the Fed will act?

What will the historians say in 20 years? I cannot wait to find out!

Gold has a long-term breakout. Copper looks terrible. Oil, too. The Baltic Dry rate is soaring but sources tell me it has nothing to do with demand, rather for ships out under adjustments. And the amount of global debt offering negative yields is at another record.

I’ll leave it to you to decide if that is reason enough to shun stocks. But a pundit – one who is not paid to advise investors – said on the tube this morning that a trade deal with China will be good for 5000 Dow points. A different pundit said that there will be a deal before the end of the year.

Hold your nose and buy? Again, that’s up to you. It’s a good thing you use charts.

In this edition, the summer doldrums have taken hold and there is not much sizzle to report around the Association. However, the meat continues to cook, from CMT testing to international symposium summits. The Association may not be making soundbites, but rest assured things are still happening.

For example, Association Executive Director Alvin Kressler reports on not one but two events in the planning stage for our overseas members. We welcome a new crop of freshly minted CMTs. And we are about to start accepting submissions for the Charles H. Dow Award.

In chapter news, we have two reviews for presentations by the same speaker in two different cities. It is interesting to see the different takeaways in nuance, although the main points were the same.

This month’s member interview is with trading legend and all-around nice guy Larry Williams. Larry is one of the most generous people around when it comes to sharing his accumulated knowledge.

And finally, this month’s feature from Chis Cain, CMT, about his experiences programming with Python. Python has become the hottest programming language on Wall Street and is now being used by the biggest and best quantitative trading firms in the world.

Michael Kahn, CMT
Editor

What's Inside...

Letter from the Executive Director

As we continue to expand the Association’s reach globally, the CMT Association board and staff are very pleased to announce...

Read More

Member Benefits Update

Our March newsletter featured an article that explained our website transition to accommodate member restricted content, which was related to...

Read More

How Python Made Me A Better Trader

As investment professionals, one thing we all have in common is that we are constantly looking to improve our trading...

Read More

Member Interview with Larry Williams

Please tell us what you do professionally.

I primarily trade, lecture occasionally and publish my weekly commentary, LarryTV, for a...

Read More

Members in the Media

Many of our members were featured in a range of news stories this month, including videos, print publication stories and...

Read More

New York Chapter Speaker Review

The New York City Chapter of the CMT Association welcomed Tony Dwyer, Chief Market Strategist at Canaccord Genuity to its...

Read More

Minnesota Chapter Speaker Review

Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist at Canaccord Genuity, a Canadian wealth management and brokerage firm,...

Read More

Membership News

Membership

The CMT Association would like to congratulate the following members on their new positions:

  • Darren Heil, CMT, Co-Founder...
Read More

Letter from the Executive Director

As we continue to expand the Association’s reach globally, the CMT Association board and staff are very pleased to announce that the inaugural summit event is in the planning stages for Mumbai membership. This past spring, as we reviewed our goals as an international organization and took part in the board’s annual assessment of our near-term and long-term event plans, we identified the need to deliver longer format, more in-depth programming in several overseas markets.

These events are not meant to replace the annual symposium in New York, but rather serve as a supplement to bring high-level content on technical analysis to markets where we have been experiencing strong growth and outsized interest in the discipline.  Planning is well underway for a 1-day conference this fall in Mumbai, India.

The preliminary information for each of these conferences is as follows:

CMT Association India Technical Analysis Summit
23 November 2019
Taj Lands End Mumbai, India
Conference: 8am-5pm
Reception: 5pm-7pm

We look forward to releasing more information about these events as they approach. In the meantime, stay tuned for emails about the events as details become available.

Contributor(s)

Alvin Kressler

Alvin Kressler is Executive Director & CEO of the CMT Association. Alvin was previously Director of Research and Corporate Access at Bloomberg Tradebook.  Before joining Bloomberg, he was the Executive Director of The New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA). At over...

Member Benefits Update

Our March newsletter featured an article that explained our website transition to accommodate member restricted content, which was related to the broader shift in our online strategy to improve the visibility of CMT Association members to those outside the organization while providing better benefits to our membership. As this shift concludes, several new sections have become available on the website: Member Discounts & Resources (under the Member Benefits menu tab) and Podcasts (under the Media tab).

Recently, the CMT Association has been working with several third-party vendors to negotiate exclusive discounts on technical tools & resources for Association members. As of August 15th, we have arranged for five third-party vendors to offer ongoing discounts to association members, and identified one additional resource, Qwoted, a valuable tool for members looking to further their career or visibility in media. These opportunities are accessible on the Member Discounts & Resources page, which is exclusive to members of the CMT Association and is not accessible to non-members or CMT Candidates. This page will be updated regularly, so if you have a resource or contact at a firm that provides beneficial insights or another useful service, please send an email to news@cmtassociation.org and we will follow up with you shortly.

Following the success of the Members in the Media section on the website and in the Association’s social presence, we’ve built out a new Podcast page. The podcasts featured on this page are hosted by a selection of CMT Association members, partners, and former Annual Symposium presenters. These podcasts address many different aspects of technical analysis, from interviews with industry hard-hitters to tips for improving investment writing. Although the page is still new, it will grow over time to be a more fully developed resource for technical analysis podcasts. Because the page is not restricted to members or candidates, it can be visited by anyone who clicks on the CMT Association website, offering maximum visibility to all contributors. If you are currently producing a podcast on a technical topic, or have a podcast you’d like us to consider adding to our rotation, you can email us at news@cmtassociation.org.

Contributor(s)

Emily E.A. Meyer

Emily Elizabeth-Anne Meyer is the Head of Marketing – Americas at FlexTrade. She served as the Director of Marketing for the CMT Association until 2021.

How Python Made Me A Better Trader

As investment professionals, one thing we all have in common is that we are constantly looking to improve our trading and investment results. It’s a never-ending passion that’s well worth pursuing.

In order to achieve this, our improvements must come in many places. Most of us spend a lot of time focusing on specific trading strategies and methods, which are obviously important. Just as important, however, is the ability to be able to build and test these strategies. In order to do this, you must have professional-level programming tools and skills.

Like many professional traders, both those who work for major investment firms and those who trade for themselves, my trading and strategy development skills were greatly enhanced when I learned how to program in Python.

I am often asked what I can do now that I wasn’t able to do before using my previous programming tools? How has Python expanded my skill set, improved my research process, and ultimately led me to be a better, more profitable trader?

Quick Background

Before joining Connors Research, I spent 10 years as an institutional fixed income trader (market-maker), managing a $400,000,000 trading book.

During this time, I read all I could about the markets and trading, including studying for and receiving my CMT designation. The more I read and the more experience I gained, the more the systematic way of trading and investing appealed to me. After using only Excel for years, I realized that if I was serious about improving as a systematic trader, I needed to learn how to code.

This was a daunting task at first, as I had no formal computer science or coding training. I was a Finance major in undergrad and programming was not formally required.

After doing some research, I settled on TradeStation and their in-house coding language – EasyLanguage. I bought books on EasyLanguage, locked myself in a room for weekends on end, and taught myself how to code.

After the frustrating first couple of weeks, I eventually got the hang of EasyLanguage programming. It became my primary coding, system development and analysis tool for the next couple of years. I even developed my first live trading strategy using TradeStation.

Enter Python

As my skills advanced, I began to realize that, while TradeStation and EasyLanguage were working acceptably for me, they had their limitations.

Being a closed source, in-house coding language, owned and operated by TradeStation, I was at the mercy of the developers at TradeStation to advance the language and extend its functionality.

I also realized that I was only using EasyLanguage for back testing trading strategies and nothing else. I heavily relied on Excel to analyze back tested results and do other number crunching and I continued to rely on visually observing charts to find potential trading edges.

There had to be a better way!

Moving into The Big Leagues

I needed to step up my game. While TradeStation was fine, at the end of the day it is a retail product. I wanted to enter the big leagues and learn a more flexible, open-source, professionally-used coding language. A language that the biggest and best banks and hedge funds on Wall Street were using.

When I reached out to fellow professional systematic and quant trading friends for advice, every one of them used Python as their primary tool. They couldn’t stop raving about Python, and everything it allowed them to do.

The decision from there was easy; I set out to learn Python.

How Python Made Me a Better Trader

It’s been three years into this journey and Python is now my primary tool for trading – ranging from developing complete trading strategies to analyzing my back tests and finding new trading edges.

Python greatly expanded my skill set, ultimately making me a better, more profitable trader.

Below are some of the ways I use Python in my trading and research. I can now …

  • Code any strategy with much greater efficiency and improved flexibility.
  • Code portfolio level trading strategies, not just strategies applied to one security at a time.
  • Manage hundreds and even thousands of individual securities in a dynamically changing universe and use that universe to create strategies.
  • Do advanced number-crunching – Python has largely replaced Excel for me!
  • Perform back tests on futures contracts, using continuous futures with several “roll” options for realistic simulations.
  • Test individual trading signals for historical edges before incorporating that signal into a complete strategy. Answering questions such as, “every time the RSI has been below 20, what has happened over the next 3 business days?” for example.
  • Utilize hundreds of fundamental data points in my trading strategies such as price/book ratio, return on equity, and gross margins, to name a few. I can then incorporate this fundamental data with technical analysis!
  • Perform deep analysis of back tested results, including creating custom metrics.
  • Run statistical and machine learning models on data using popular Python packages such as StatsModels and Sci-Kit Learn.
  • Write custom code to monitor the performance of my portfolio in real-time.
  • Make custom charts and plots of any data including in any output format – line charts, bar charts, scatter plots and correlation matrices.
  • Analyze data from any website or program with a Python API (there are tons of them), Excel spreadsheet or CSV file.
  • Be part of a large community of traders, data scientists, developers and researchers using Python. This has huge benefits including always having somebody available to help with questions and generous sharing of code throughout the community.
  • Have greatly improved career prospects. If you look at the professional job boards, almost every trading job, quant job, researcher, or portfolio manager now requires you know Python. Nobody requires you to be able to code in EasyLanguage or Amibroker!

The bottom line is that learning Python advanced my professional knowledge, made my work more efficient, helped me find new and better trading edges, greatly expanded my back testing ability, and helped me to become a better, more profitable trader.

Watch my July 24th Educational Web Series Webcast »

To learn more about how to program in Python, I teach a course called Programming in
Python For Traders, where I guarantee you’ll be able to program and test your strategies in
Python within five weeks. The CMT Association arranged for special pricing for members. Use the special Promo code 1CMT to save an additional $200 off of the course.

Access This Offer Now »

Contributor(s)

Christopher Cain, CMT

Christopher Cain, CMT, is the U.S. Quantitative Equity Strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence, a division of Bloomberg LP, and is based in New York, NY. Christopher provides analysis and tactical strategy on equity factor investing and other quantitative, model-driven equity market topics. He...

Member Interview with Larry Williams

Please tell us what you do professionally.

I primarily trade, lecture occasionally and publish my weekly commentary, LarryTV, for a few loyal followers.

How did you get there?

I have a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon so I suppose that explains why I’ve written books and newsletters. What got me into the markets was pure and simple; greed. It looked easy to figure out if something would go up or down. To think one could make money without going to work, having a job working in a refinery like my dad and I did, or, sitting behind the desk writing a story for the local newspaper just blew me away.

My dad had always said learn to work with your brain, not your back like he did, so this certainly rang a bell for me. And it looked so easy … a market will either go up or down for the day.  That’s all you had to concentrate on. My gosh! I didn’t go to school just for the free lunch. Even a guy who was often last in the class, like me, should be able to figure out up and down.

Little did I know how much work trading would entail over the years.

Who was an early mentor in your career?

There have been three significant people in my life who were career influencers. The first was Gil Haller, The Haller Theory, who took me under his wing, explained the importance of the advance/decline line, new highs and lows and relative strength back in 1964.

Bill Meehan was another very strong influence. A former board of trade member, he shared with me his understanding of the Commitment to Trader (CoT) reports, as he was the first person to write about the reports way back in the 1970s. It became a hallmark of my career.

On the technical side of the market, nobody has taught me more than Tom Demark. He has not only been a great instructor but a wonderful personal friend. To this day, I continue learning about the market from him. His insights just overflow.

What book/author was most influential in helping you understand TA?

The most influential book would have been Joe Granville’s, primarily because it was the first book I ever read and it opened up doors I had not known about before. To later become a friend of Joe’s was certainly a highlight of my career. I will never forget playing pool with him at 3 o’clock in the morning after an investment seminar at the Palmer House in Chicago. What a night that was!

What do you like to do when you are not looking at markets?

Is there anything else to do?

On a little bit of a more serious note, my two goals are to remain healthy and wealthy, so I focus a lot of attention on both of those. That means figuring out a successful lifestyle that enables health and any trading style that enables wealth. Both require research and experimentation.

What brought you to the CMT Association?

I have always thought there should be a place where there can be an exchange of far-fetched ideas about the market. After all, there are almost as many ways to trade as there are traders. When I began trading in 1962, charts and such were not frowned upon; they were shunned. How things have changed. I certainly don’t have the be-all-end-all truth of the marketplace so it is nice to have a clearinghouse of ideas and support for fellow-minded thinkers.

What it the most useful benefit of membership for you?

The associations one develops; friendships and relationships. After all, like family, what else is there in life?

Contributor(s)

Larry Williams

Larry Williams is an author, and trader.  His career began in 1962 and has written several best-selling market books. Larry won the 1987 World Cup Championship of Futures Trading taking $10,000 to over $1,100,000 (11,300%) in a 12-month competition with real money. ...

Members in the Media

Many of our members were featured in a range of news stories this month, including videos, print publication stories and podcasts. Below, glance through our most-shared Members in the Media posts. And remember to tag @CMTAssociation if you’re sharing your own clips on social media!

Frank Cappelleri, CMT And Andrew Thrasher, CMT Featured On CNBC

AUGUST 7, 2019 — In the wake of Monday’s steep market decline, both Andrew Thrasher, CMT and Frank Cappelleri, CMT were featured on CNBC Tuesday as part of a roundup of several analysts positing that stocks had farther to fall before recovering.

“Since the May low, the comeback has produced a number of bullish formations,” said Cappelleri. This current sell-off “has been so sharp, what’s going to have to happen is to watch the ensuing bounce and see how strong or not it is. … It’s interesting because some of these moves are some of the largest we’ve seen all year.”

However, “I’m not seeing major signs of capitulation just yet,” said Thrasher, adding that he didn’t quite anticipate a sell-off as sharp as December 2018.

Read their entire commentary, as well as input from Tony Dwyer, in the full article: ‘Not yet over’ — stocks have further to fall before the selling subsides, say chart analysts.

Clint Sorenson, CMT, CFA Featured On RIA Channel

JULY 31, 2019 — Clint Sorenson, CMT, CFA, was featured on RIA Channel on Monday discussing the advantages of outsourcing the CIO role within a firm. He was interviewed by Julie Cooling, founder of RIA Channel. Sorenson is a co-founder of WealthShield LLC, provider of custom indices and analysis.

“Portfolios today tend to have an institutional bias,” Sorenson said, emphasizing the importance of portfolio customization and behavioral analysis.

He went on to explain the ease of constructing an institutional-quality asset management program with WeatlhShield’s tools.

Watch the full interview here: WealthShield’s Sorenson Talks Outsourced CIOs and Custom Indexes.

Contributor(s)

Marianna Tessello

Marianna Tessello served as the CMT Association’s digital producer from 2018 until 2021. She was responsible for the management of most of the association’s front-end digital assets during that time, including social media production, current website information and updates, and various communication...

New York Chapter Speaker Review

The New York City Chapter of the CMT Association welcomed Tony Dwyer, Chief Market Strategist at Canaccord Genuity to its meeting on July 23.

Tony provided an interesting perspective. While he focuses on macroeconomic and fundamental data, in addition to technicals, he emphasized that his approach is always data-based, not opinion-based.

He performs technical analysis on fundamental data.

Before getting into the meat of his presentation, Tony shared an important perspective on people’s behavior, which affects their analysis. Paraphrasing, he said, “When people remember the past, they don’t remember exactly what happened. They remember their own interpretation or version of the past.”

Being the data-dependent strategist he is, Tony has done the work to go through the microfiche articles to see what was actually happening and being said during the periods in history that he’s studying.

As market technicians, we are historians, so we need to make sure we’re basing our analysis on what actually happened and not on our own, or others’, faulty memory.

After this brief intro, Tony got into some of the uncanny parallels between 1995 and today. He compared the current rate hike cycle to that which began in February of 1994 and the trade war with Japan, which had the same GDP as China does today, with the trade war we’re experiencing today. He also pointed out other parallels in macroeconomic and fundamental data that were very compelling and set the backdrop for his overall outlook.

One of the first charts Tony shared was the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average following the first rate cut by the Federal Reserve. What the data suggests is that a rate cut typically occurs near a low in Equities and that forward 12-month returns are positive regardless of whether a recession occurs or not.

If no recession occurs, we tend to see a sharp rally following the rate cut and an average return a year later of roughly 24%. If there is a recession, a lot of the gains come within the last four months of that 12-month period, but still end up roughly 11% higher.

Recession or not, the initial rate cut is typically positive for Equities.

Another interesting concept Tony discussed was that the Real Federal Funds Rate is likely near its peak for this cycle. He points out that we’ve seen a lower peak in this rate during every cycle since 1980.

In essence, because there is more debt out there our ability (as a country, as corporations, as individuals) to withstand higher interest rates is reduced. Debt becomes too expensive to service and we have to stop borrowing, rates come back down, and then we borrow more.

Is this a new normal for rates and how does it end? Unfortunately, we’ll only be able to answer that in hindsight, but for now, this feedback loop is in place all over the world and we need to deal in the environment we’re in.

Tony had a great way of putting it: “The amount of credit is changing how the engine works, but everyone is focused on the amount of credit.”

In terms of a recession, Tony says there’s only one indicator that has predicted every recession … and it’s not the Federal Reserve.

It’s the 2/10 Treasury yield curve, which has inverted ahead of every recession. This is in contrast to the Federal Reserve, which has successfully forecasted zero recessions.

Currently, this spread is sitting at roughly 20 basis points, low but not yet inverted, suggesting there’s no recession in sight. But when we do see an inversion, that means the end of the world is imminent, right? Not exactly. History suggests that recessions tend to begin a median of 19 months after the initial 2/10 yield curve inversion.

Other data points that Tony shared included information about Small Businesses and Consumer Confidence, both of which are still generally optimistic. On the household side, the Debt Service and Financial Obligations ratios are both stable at low, long-term levels.

Speaking of households, part of his bullish thesis is a demographic tailwind from Millennials who are reaching the age where they’re being “adultified” (i.e. getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc.).

While there are some concerns out there like weak Global PMI data and earnings/valuation concerns, Tony concluded by saying that, “every sign that’s ever existed before a recession has occurred is not here.”

Overall, Tony is bullish from an intermediate/long-term perspective and sees the current corrective period in stocks as an opportunity to put cash to work. He shared some of the more tactical indicators he relies on to figure out short-term market direction like the 10-week rate of change in the VIX and breadth thrusts like the one highlighted in the table/chart below.

Tony’s presentation was a treasure trove of information, offering a longer-term perspective and putting into context many of the data points and narratives we see in the news day in and day out.

It was a real treat for us at the NYC Chapter of the CMT Association, so thank you again to Tony for taking the time to join us last week and for allowing me to share a bit of his presentation with you all.

If you want to view the PowerPoint Presentation, you can find it here and can connect with him via Twitter @dwyerstrategy.

Thanks for reading!

Contributor(s)

Minnesota Chapter Speaker Review

Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist at Canaccord Genuity, a Canadian wealth management and brokerage firm, presented at the July meeting of the Minnesota chapter to a good-sized crowd of 25 people.

Dwyer is enthusiastic about history and data, citing “I love data!”

Currently, he sees parallels with the markets in 1994-1995.  The Fed had doubled rates in 1994, the market was weak, and President Clinton started a trade conflict with Japan to distract from domestic investigations.  The Fed raised rates in February 1995 but had to reverse course by July 1995 and start cutting because then-Fed Chair Alan Greenspan was afraid of recession.

Here are Five Market Truths, according to Dwyer:

  1. The direction of earnings drives the market.
  2. The direction of earnings is driven by the economy.
  3. The yield curve drives the economy.
  4. Fed policy drives the yield curve.
  5. Inflation and inflation expectations drive Fed policy.

Currently 2-yr and 10-yr yields are low relative to the Federal Funds rate, which tells the Fed Funds rate is too high.

Dwyer sees many positive signs in the domestic economy: small business optimism is near the highs, interest coverage ratios are good, credit stress indicators are near record lows, household debt service ratios are low, and stocks are strong.

Internationally, global PMI’s are weak but there are recent month-over-month improvements in other OECD leading indicators.

Dwyer was generally optimistic about markets over the next year as the Fed cuts rates, so an interesting parting warning from him was “this will end badly.”

Learn more about Tony and his views at dwyerstrategy.com.

Contributor(s)

Mahesh Johari, CFA

Mahesh Johari is an independent investor based in the Minneapolis area. He holds degress in mathematics and economics from the University of Illinois and the University of Arizona.

Membership News

Membership

The CMT Association would like to congratulate the following members on their new positions:

  • Darren Heil, CMT, Co-Founder & Partner at QM Advisors
  • Jacob Elwood (former CMT Association Intern), Planner at Sam’s Club
  • Asutosh Mehta, CMT, Assistant Vice President at BOB Capital Markets Ltd
  • Miguel Rito, Consultor Imobiliário at Engel & Völkers Porto

Updating Your Profile

Please be sure to login to the website and update your profile so we have up-to-date information on our members!

CMT Registration

Congratulations to all the candidates who passed their June 2019 CMT Exam!  Results for all levels have been emailed to the candidates.  If you did not receive your results, please email Marie at marie@cmtassociation.org.

Have you recently completed the CMT Level III exam? Don’t forget to apply for the Member Status so that you can be granted the CMT designation.  Application and Sponsor Questionnaire can be found on the website under Membership/Type of Membership/Professional Membership.

Questions about the process can be directed to Chelsey Clevenger at chelsey@cmtassociation.org.

Early registration for the CMT Exams is open until August 26th; take advantage and register now!

Dow Award

The Association will be accepting submissions for the Dow Award starting August 28, 2019.

CMT

The CMT Association would like to congratulate the following members who received their CMT Designation in July 2019.

  • Ziad Abou Jamra
  • Christian Floro
  • Jared Krongold
  • Povilas Norbutas
  • Michael Reich

Contributor(s)

Marie Penza

Marie Penza serves as the Director of Member Services for the CMT Association.