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Video Tutorial: QuantTrader – A complete walk-through for new users

Continuing our effort to provide training and education for new users of our QuantTrader Software, here a new series of video tutorials. A complete walk-through of the main functionalities for building a Meta-Strategy Here the framework of the Hedged Dow Jones Meta-Strategy created during the process, and the detailed agenda of the 9 video clips: QuantTrader "under the hood" - Explained with practical examples In section 3.4 Setting up Strategy Algorithms and Parameters we explain the calculation of the "modified Sharpe Ratio", how to properly select the volatility attenuator and show the differences between the six ranking and allocation algorithms: Tutorial videos in detail: The videos are available as a YouTube Playlist, so you can follow the overall process or chose topics of your interest. The tutorial is targeted to first-time and beginning QuantTrader users, with detailed explanation on each single step so you can replicate the process while watching. Further tutorials for our more advanced QuantTrader users are in preparation. Tutorial Intro: Objective, Framework and Agenda 1. Starting QuantTrader & loading data 2. Setting up symbols and stock-lists 3.1 & 3.2 Using Portfolio Manager to create and configure the "Dow Jones" strategy 3.3 Interpreting the Strategy Backtest Window 3.4 Setting up Strategy Algorithms and Parameters 3.5 Optimizing Strategy Parameters 4. Using Portfolio Manager to create and configure the "Hedge" strategy 5. Creating the final "Dow Hedged" Meta-Strategy Please post follow-up questions or doubts either in the comment section of this post, or in the comment section of the YouTube videos. I plan to prepare another video answering the main questions. If you have not yet subscribed to QuantTrader, you can do so from here, read more about its powerful features, or give it a try with our free, no-strings-attached 30 days trial. [...]

2018-03-05T13:03:44+00:00 By |1 Comment

The Logical-Invest monthly newsletter for March 2018

Logical Invest Investment Outlook March 2018 Our top 2018 investment strategies, year-to-date : The NASDAQ 100  strategy with +4.55% return.   The Universal Investment strategy with +1.45% return.  The Global Sector Rotation strategy with +0.58% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned +1.79%. News: Strategy update: Our updated hedge now allocates to Treasuries, Gold or to a short US sector position. The hedge does not use currency ETFs anymore, which were conflicting with common 401k / IRA guidelines. Market comment: February proved to be a difficult month. Although our last newsletter started with a word of caution, we were surprised by the unprecedented move that followed: The volatility index spiked in such a way that caused massive losses to some of the industry's most popular volatility ETFs. Three major volatility ETFs were halted and two of them (XIV and SVXY) were permanently de-listed. We experienced the move first hand as we were trading VIX futures at the time. Our MYRS strategy, which is based on the ZIV ETF (VIX mid-term futures, 4th-7th month) took a large hit at -25%. The more popular XIV ETF (VIX front-term futures) lost more than 80% of it's value and was withdrawn from the market (see Frank 2013 article : Why we invest in ZIV and not in XIV). The SP500 experienced a quick 10% fall but has partially recovered. Our strategies, except MYRS, have somewhat recovered, the worst showing a year-to-date performance of -3.92%. This number of course does not reflect what happened in reality as many investors considered exiting the market. And for good reason: UIS 3x saw a -25% drawdown from it's all time high (-11.8% for the month) on February 8th. Today's -3.92% YTD number seems manageable but only in hindsight. The return (with a vengeance) of volatility has somewhat obscured the continued weakness of the most important [...]

2018-03-01T05:54:29+00:00 By |1 Comment

ZIV/MYRS – how to go on after the crash

I have been asked in several emails on how to go on with existing ZIV positions, so here is a short note for our subscribers which still hold MYRS/ZIV positions. As you know underlying to ZIV are short positions of the VIX Futures month 4-7. So ZIV moves are about the same as the moves of the medium price of these Futures. As you can see in the above VIX term-structure chart, the medium price for this Futures is about 19.50$. On February 1st, this medium price was about 14.70$, so its up about 4.80$ which should translate in a 30% drop of ZIV. Today's price of 19.5$ however is still quite low, and this price can well go to the region of 25$. If the correction continues or markets go sideways with high volatility, then ZIV can further go down quite a lot. This said I would not recommend to invest in ZIV at the moment. We also already said this in our last monthly strategy post. However if you are not afraid and still want to profit from the volatility spike and if you can trade VIX Futures, then the much safer way is to buy VIX calendar spreads. For this you would for example sell the VIX May Future and buy the September VIX Future. The price for such a spread is - 1.30$. This way you only invest in the price difference of the Futures and if these go up to 25$ you will probability not notice much as the September Future will make up the losses of the May Future. This VIX Future spread price of -1.30$ is a very rare occasion. Normally the curve is in contango which means that the further out a VIX future is, the more expensive it is. We only [...]

2018-02-06T09:02:14+00:00 By |19 Comments

The Logical-Invest monthly newsletter for February 2018

Logical Invest Investment Outlook February 2018 Our top 2018 investment strategies, year-to-date : The Leveraged Universal strategy with +8.93% return.   The NASDAQ 100 strategy with +8.59% return.  The U.S. sector strategy with +4.39% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned +5.64%. News: QuantTrader Light is available to all subscribers, even to single strategy ones. Just download a copy and login with your LI username/password. Depending on your subscription level you will be able to access the corresponding strategies. This gives you the opportunity to update your portfolio during the last day of the month. Major strategy update: Leveraging on our multi-strategy framework, Frank created a new Hedge strategy that includes Gold. The new Hedge is included in most of our strategies and helps decrease Treasury exposure. Read more in our detailed article. QuantTrader version 510S has a new backtester build into the consolidation tool. You can now check how a portfolio of strategies would have performed in the past. 4 new videos will guide you on how to use the portfolio builder and the QuantTrader consolidation tool to issue signals as well as use the Interactive Brokers portfolio rebalancing tool. We hope to publish more videos in the coming months. Feel free to tell us your preferences. Market comment: This month's newsletter comes with a word for caution. The S&P 500 has risen in a parabolic fashion this past month. Sentiment has turned highly positive and most market players are sitting on profits. This is all good but we think we need to prepare for a new, slightly inflationary environment that may prove challenging to navigate through. Rising inflation is already reflected in the 10-year Treasury yield reaching 2.7% . The question is how will higher borrowing costs affect small to medium businesses, some of which rely on cheap credit. Loss of profitability for these companies could trigger a correction [...]

2018-02-01T10:42:15+00:00 By |3 Comments

Tutorials: Consolidated Signals & Interactive Brokers Portfolio Rebalance Tool

As promised, please find below some short video tutorials on how to create consolidated signals for your portfolio in the Online Portfolio Builder and QuantTrader, and how to efficiently execute the trades using the Portfolio Rebalance Tool from Interactive Brokers. One of the biggest concern raised after we announced QuantTrader Light for all our "All Strategies" subscribers was the abitility to create, backtest and save custom fixed-weight portfolios. Frank just published QuantTrader Version 510, which comes with just that functionality, in the tutorial I still announce this as pre-release, but you can now use this functionality live in January rebalancing. If you are not yet a Logical Invest subscriber, you can use our 30 days free no strings attached QuantTrader trial. You can open a free trial demo account at Interactive Brokers to test the portfolio rebalance functionality. If you already have an IB account you can create a paper account for testing and enhancing your execution skills. And to repeat, we´re in no way afiliated with them, but do appreciate the cost structure and functionalities for trading our own accounts. We will be adding more tutorials about individual features of QuantTrader and how to  build and execute your portfolio. For the time being please let us know which features you´re most interested in, and if there are questions in regard of these first tutorials. Consolidated Signals in Portfolio Builder See here: Consolidated Signals in QuantTrader See here: Configuring the Interactive Brokers Portfolio Rebalance Tool See here: Executing Monthly Rebalance with the Interactive Brokers Portfolio Rebalance Tool See here: As always in anticipation of a vivid discussion in the comments or the QuantTrader Forum. All the best, Alexander

2018-01-30T14:21:48+00:00 By |2 Comments

Logical Invest strategy update for an inflation environment

Logical Invest strategy update for an inflation environment. The following strategy update will be in effective for the February rebalancing. QuantTrader user will get a notice of the updated QuantTrader.ini strategy file when they start QuantTrader. You can also download the file also manually from here: It is my opinion that going forward, inflation poses a serious risk for investors. From 1980 to 2015 Inflation went down from more than 10% to near 0%. Since 2015 inflation is steadily rising from nearly 0% to now more than 2%. Inflation is a bond's worst enemy. Since we use Treasuries to hedge our strategies, rising inflation may have a very negative impact on our TLT Treasury ETF positions. It is not just bonds. Inflation could negatively impact the equity markets as well. Many U.S. companies are running on cheap credit and are deeply in dept. The Russell 2000 small caps, in aggregate, have already negative earnings today. Higher credit costs due to inflation would mean the end of many of these companies, resulting in a strong market correction. All this could mean that stocks and bonds go down together which would negatively affect our strategies. One solution to this is to use Gold. Gold has always been one of the best hedges against inflation. So I decided to use it and build a more universal, "inflation-proof" hedge. The Hedge strategy This Hedge is now a separate strategy called “Hedge”. It is composed by TLT, the long term Treasury bond and a slightly redesigned GLD-USD strategy. The new Hedge did perform quite well in the past and can be used profitably as a standalone strategy. This is an advantage for the strategies which use it as a hedge. Most of the time the "Hedge" gets about a 50% allocation within the [...]

2018-01-26T08:04:47+00:00 By |38 Comments

The Logical-Invest monthly newsletter for January 2018

Logical Invest Investment Outlook January 2018 Our top 2017 investment strategies: The Maximum Yield strategy with 64.84% return. The Leveraged Universal strategy with 49.13% return.   The NASDAQ 100 strategy with 28.30% return. SPY, the S&P500 ETF, returned 21.70%. News: All-Strategy subscribers will be able to use QuantTrader 'Light' at no additional charge. Market comment: As we mentioned in our year-end review, the past year was characterized by large returns in U.S. and foreign markets and sustained low volatility despite an increase in geopolitical risk. The S&P 500 (ETF: SPY) returned 21%, Europe (ETF: FEZ) 24% and emerging markets (ETF: EEM) 37%, It is also the year where the U.S. Federal reserve stopped it’s 10-year balance sheet and increased short-term interest rates. Long term treasuries (ETF: TLT) as well as emerging bonds (ETF: PCY) managed a +9% while U.S. corporate bonds (ETF: AGG) barely touched 4%. Despite the announced tightening, the U.S. dollar lost ground: -13% against the Euro and -12% against gold. The most exciting financial event of the year is the attempt to include cryptocurrencies as a new asset class into the mainstream financial system. Looking at our strategies, our top performers were our riskier strategies: MYRS, UIS 3X and the Nasdaq 100. This is in line with the market being almost ‘perfect’ for 2017 and having very few corrections which benefits pure risk taking. This may or may not continue in 2018 as there are signs of caution: Central banks are slowing down or reversing stimulus programs and real world costs of goods, especially outside the U.S., are rising. 2017 was characterized by the astounding rise of cryptocurrencies, which we have been tracking since May. Bitcoin futures are now available to mainstream traders through Interactive Brokers (via CBOE and CME). Interestingly you need a whopping $50,000 margin to short 1 Bitcoin. For longs, the margin is [...]

2018-01-02T04:16:16+00:00 By |0 Comments

Portfolio Builder Allocations 2018 – Set yourself up for success

First of January 2018 after a fabulous year in the markets and hopefully also your account. What better time than to spend some hours on revisiting our portfolio allocation to be ready for whatever the new year will bring? As stated previously we update and re-optimize our fixed-weight portfolios in the Portfolio Builder about twice a year. To recap, why do we re-optimize portfolios periodically? Modern Portfolio Theory by Harry Markowitz uses past returns and covariances to construct portfolios which optimize the expected return and variance. While fundamental MPT aficionados would advise to stick to your allocation for several years, at Logical Invest we advocate for a more flexible approach with regular reviews which in our view ensure your portfolio allocation considers also recent market developments. 2017 has been marked by steadily increasing equities while subdued volatility is taking historical levels. SPY, our proxy for the S&P 500 has returned 21.7% while TLT, proxy for the 20+ year bond market has returned 9.2% . The “fear index” VIX, representing S&P 500 volatility, has seen readings in the lower tens most of the year, a historical low of 8.84 and only four spikes above 15, which is the 10 years average. How have our individual strategies performed so far? The strong run in equities coupled with low volatility has provided clear medium-term trends and therefore runs to our high-performing strategies. For example, the Maximum Yield strategy returned close to 65%, this thanks to being in average two thirds invested into ZIV, which alone represents around 48.0% of this return. How has this translated into our Markowitz optimized Portfolios? 2017 has been a mixed picture for the pre-configured portfolios. As some strategies like the Maximum Yield and 3x Universal Investment performed well at or above the historical levels, others performed below [...]

2018-01-01T22:38:48+00:00 By |12 Comments

The Logical-Invest Year End Review – 2017

Logical Invest 2017 Year In Review Overview: 2017 was another excellent year for our strategies with double digit returns and very low volatility. Although world economic data are positive, central bank tightening and possible rate increases may warrant more conservative approaches. We provide a basket of strategies to accommodate. Here are some of the best for this year: The Maximum Yield Investment strategy (+64%) The maximum yield was our very first quantitative strategy. It was first traded using VIX futures in order to collect mid-term volatility premium. It was then adapted to use ETFs. In the chart below you can see the theoretical backtested results before 2013 (left of the first line) and the live results to the right of the first line. The strategy was again improved in 2014 adding a variable Treasury component. It has performed in line with expectations. 2017 was an exceptional year with +64% return. MYRS History to 2108 The Universal Investment Strategy (+14.34%, Leveraged version: +49.13%) The strategy is an intelligent and dymamic version of the 60/40 equity/bond strategy. It was built with the 2008 crisis in mind where a  shift into bonds would have limited any catastrophic portfolio losses. As you can see from the graph, the live performance (after 2014) is in line with the backtested results. In 2015, where most investors lost money, it remained flat. It has yet to be tested in an extreme bear market. In 2017 we improved the strategy so as to dynamic allocate to TIPs (inflation protected Treasuries) in case interest rates start rising (causing Treasuries to underperform). 2017 performance was 14.34%. The  leveraged version of this strategy using 3x ETFs returned 49.13%. Logical Invest The Universal Investment Strategy 2017 Bond Substitution Strategies Many investors prefer the security and safety of [...]

2018-01-01T05:31:53+00:00 By |4 Comments

Wishing you a prosperous 2018: QuantTrader for All-Strategies subscribers

Well, we had this on our list for 2017 (evidence here thanks to Marcin!), so even if now only a couple of hours remain for our European followers, and we definitely failed our readers for Asia, we’re to our standards perfectly on time for our subscribers from North and South America: QuantTrader with most functionalities will now be available for our “All-Strategies” subscribers at no additional cost! Thanks to your continuous input and feedback we’ve built a special edition of QuantTrader to enable you to: Generate signals on your preferred day so you’re not bound to the firm monthly cycle and do not have to wait for our signal emails. We still advocate to keep a monthly cycle, e.g. trading at or around the month-end, but with QuantTrader you can now find your own rhythm and cycle to trade either before, on or after the month-end, or even change your trading day when you are for example on business travel or holidays. Cut signals intraday before close to trade at close. This probably is one of the main critique points during 2017: Why do signal subscribers have to delay trading into next opening, while performance of our strategies is calculated at the month-end close. Well, we still believe this is not a killing argument based on our research, but we do understand the psychological importance of trading at close of the month-end, especially when it’s about going relaxed into the weekend. Get the consolidated signals for your preferred portfolio, that is, a blend of different strategies. This is very much as in our Online Portfolio Builder and Consolidated signals, but now you can also save your preferred portfolio allocation, something we were not able to deliver so far in the online version. More on this functionality with practical steps [...]

2018-02-18T03:04:54+00:00 By |9 Comments