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Pr v06-07_059mktm

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  3. 3. Stocks & Commodities V. 6:1 (24-27): Market Maker by John Sweeney Market Maker by John Sweeney Inmark Development Corporation 139 Fulton St., Suite 810 New York, NY 10038 Product: Analytical package for stocks, futures Price: $495 Equipment: IBM PC/XT/AT or 100% compatible; 512K RAM, 2 floppies or floppy with hard drive; CGA, EGA, Hercules and other graphics; Epson MX/FX/LX or Okidata w/plus and play ROMs; Hayes Smartmodem 300/ 1200 or equivalent, and DOS 2.0 Ratings: Level of Analysis: Intermediate Ease of Use: A Error Handling: A Customer Service: B+ Documentation: B+ Reliability: A B ringing out another analytical package takes courage these days. How many are there? A bunch, right? How can you tell the difference between them all? Do any of them do anything swell for your profits? Besides which, they all usually cost a fortune, right? Relax! Herein, we'll use Market Maker, a new package from Inmark Development to try to make sense of the tradeoffs in this genre. Market Maker is a good vehicle for this because it deals well with all the problems you find in this level of work (see Figure 1), and it is positioned squarely in what I call the "intermediate" range of current technical analysis. That is, it presents canned studies for use on your data but has limited or no abilities for generating unique, personal indicators, doing optimization, evaluating trading strategies or doing independent statistical analysis. Before I launch into this, let me say that we don't present every package we receive. We try to take the few that appear competitive with the best on the market (Figure 2). Market Maker easily got on my list because it is extremely fast and easy to set up and use. Easy installation The standard start-up procedure these days is: insert disk and type "INSTALL"—or, perhaps "SETUP." Article Text Copyright (c) Technical Analysis Inc. 1
  4. 4. Figure 1 Copyright (c) Technical Analysis Inc.
  5. 5. Stocks & Commodities V. 6:1 (24-27): Market Maker by John Sweeney Then you sit back and wait. Nothing less is acceptable any more. You shouldn't be fussing with floppies, creating hard disk directories or sub-directories, and/or typing DOS COPY commands. The developer can and should do all this for you. Market Maker is on top of this state of the art. Their no-fuss installation takes less than five minutes and virtually no typing. By the way, if you haven't sprung for a hard disk yet and you are using packages at this level, rethink what you are doing with your time. Get a hard disk and stop fooling yourself. Then don't buy anything that won't install itself on your hard disk and run there with nothing in your floppy drive, which you will need for occasional data import/export. Learning should be easy The best way to learn when there's no teacher next to you is to try it. The best packages lead you through a trial of virtually every feature in the program, showing you what sequence to follow to get the results you want. Then they follow up with a section that describes each individual feature in detail, typically how to exploit each feature's options. Here, for example, the type of deseasonalization technique and the number of days to pick would be explained. Market Maker handles all this in a very succinct manner. Compared to manuals I've seen which run hundreds of pages, this one is a breeze to get into. On the other hand, the ideas behind each indicator are only minimally explained although a good formulary is included as an addendum. Should you be familiar with the indicators, no sweat. Otherwise, count on doing some reading to get the background of the indicators. For instance, I ran across a proprietary indicator called the "Master Strength Indicator" which was described as "a complex formula that measures the total strength of a security by taking into account the current date's position of the high, low, close and volume relative to the previous price and volume action of the security." This brevity leaves you with two ways to learn enough to be useful: espionage and a year or two's observation. Both are time consuming and frustrating Good packages provide formulae and references. It's that simple. Back Trak, our analytical favorite, is great at this. MetaStock, our favorite intermediate package, does this, as does Dow Jones Market Analyzer. Market Maker is headed in the right direction, but needs to expand the manual here. Daily usage Why settle for typing commands? Expect menus. Expect to be able to get out of what you are doing at any point. A super feature is the ability to put a string of commands on one line but this is really just gloss on the cake. With the speed of today's screen processors, menues—accessible by pointing, highlighting, or typing the letter/number keys—are simply the way to go. As to daily usage, Market Maker has _ successfully taken the art of the ESC key to new levels: it not only gets you out of almost anything, it selects your menus for you! Figure 1 is the selection of things you can do in Market Maker. The selections are on "racks" and you cycle through them by hitting the ESC key. Once on the rack where you wish to be, use the function keys to get your choice of studies. While I found this workable, I'd prefer to be able to get all the choices on one screen. I admit this is personally picky, though, and I quickly got used to searching through the racks for the item I wanted. A single letter mnemonic key entry would be nice, though. Article Text Copyright (c) Technical Analysis Inc. 2
  6. 6. Copyright (c) Technical Analysis Inc.
  7. 7. Stocks & Commodities V. 6:1 (24-27): Market Maker by John Sweeney Market Maker has a very convenient windows function, shown in Figure 3. Windows themselves aren't an exclusive feature, but here resolution is high and it is very well implemented. For some reason I can't quite pin down, I found it very easy to use. You select the stock or contract, the number of days, and periodicity (days, weeks, months) for one window and from there on you can default all that for the next several windows. You have the option of bringing in different stocks/contracts and aligning by date or not. Should you want to revise a window completely, a new graph can be quickly generated without having to redo the entire display. Once the display is up, the wand and crosshair can give you precise positioning and data readout. Now get this: if you once get the windows the way you like them, you can then save the whole page for later update. Then, after you have updated your data, recall the that particular page and the same analysis is before you—completely updated— without having to recreate the indicators. This is an outstanding feature with the potential to save mucho typing. It also tends to encourage consistent analysis vs. the more usual habit of fiddling with different indicators to see which seem to be most in synch with the market's action. Speaking of data update, this capability is typical of Market Maker's streamlined operation. I could update all my data with four keystrokes: one to select Market Maker from my DOS shell (DTREE), one carriage return to clear the introductory screen, F3 to select communications and F2 to start the update! I used Hale Systems (800-645-3120, NY:212-661-2860) for this test and found Market Maker a good match for it. Both Market Maker and Stock Trading System (another package I've seen), when working with Hale, will automatically update your files from whenever you last got data to today. Thus, you don't have to specify dates when doing your download, saving time and errors. I found the Hale system to be very reasonably priced and easy to use. The only gripe I had was that Hale doesn't supply open interest or opening price for futures, just H-L-C. Other than that, Hale was an excellent match for Market Maker. Market Maker does have a Lotus 1-2-3 import/export feature. This may be important if you're bringing in data from a variety of sources. Lotus and other spreadsheets are so widely used that their data formats are becoming the highways between many custom applications. Whether this is important depends on your individual situation. Lots of indicators Today's packages should have lots of indicators. I personally believe the futures market indicators are best for technical analysis, and this is definitely the trend in the new packages which deal with stocks. Any futures trader will feel at home with Market Maker. Figure 1 shows all the essentials are present including point and figure. Figure 2 is a comprehensive comparison of features found here and in competitive packages. A good "gee whiz" feature is the cycle remover which could definitely use more explanation in the manual. It will effectively remove a cycle from your data, assuming you know how to set the parameters for the two techniques available. It will then reprocess the remnant you get from the first removal and take out yet another cycle. You may estimate the cycle you'd like to drop using cycle rulers which, themselves, are as well implemented as those we've seen on real-time packages. Figure 4, for instance, shows how Telephone's pricing "peaked" in early October once you'd removed the 21-day cycle of the overall market. In fact, all the offerings were well implemented and I found no bugs in running them. Rather than discuss Article Text Copyright (c) Technical Analysis Inc. 3
  8. 8. Copyright (c) Technical Analysis Inc.
  9. 9. Stocks & Commodities V. 6:1 (24-27): Market Maker by John Sweeney them, check Figure 2 to see if what you want is Today's packages should have lots of available. Summary Market Maker is a nice package, well implemented and very fast, but it's not quite the value that MetaStock ($195) represents for a package that also can use several data vendors. A respectable argument can be made that Market Maker's ability to automatically update analytical pages saves enough time to pay for its additional cost and its ability to remove cycles is a uniquely superior feature, but the mix of indicators available is slightly less rich than MetaStock's, which also includes a wider variety of traditional stock volume indicators. To boot, MetaStock has a basic formula generator allowing you to create some of the indicators of your dreams, a feature found here in limited form by manipulating the program's oscillator function. MetaStock's documentation has to be rated better for explanations and formulae while Market Maker saves vast amounts of time updating analyses and has the Lotus import/export capability. For me, Market Maker is a very tempting package because of its speed and ease of use on a daily basis. However, until it comes up with the formulary and a richer array of indicators, I'm going to hold off making it my first choice at this level of analysis and price. Copyright (c) Technical Analysis Inc. 4
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