Best Types of Algorithmic Trading Systems

Investors are constantly on the lookout for new investment strategies that take the guesswork out of an investment. They want it to be a high-yielding, low stress approach; one that minimizes risks and maximizes profits on every deal. Algorithmic trading systems were developed along these lines. “Algorithmic” sounds like a heavy term to digest, but it is not. We will give you a brief overview of algorithmic trading and its varied types.

What is an Algorithmic Trading System?

The term automated trading is used interchangeably for Algorithmic trading. However, the two are different concepts. The latter is a subset of the former. Algorithmic trading is defined as the use of advanced mathematical tools to make important transactional decisions in the financial market. This system relies heavily on computer models to make trades. Based on the prevailing market conditions it decides whether to buy, hold or sell a position.

It splits a large trade into multiple orders in order to reduce market impact.

Algo-trading is generally used by large institutional investors. Many hedge funds and banks have built their own algorithmic trading systems. These systems are complex and they vary from one broker to another. It is also known by some as black box trading and algo-trading. There are many Algorithmic Trading Systems for individual traders and investors available online.

The algorithmic systems have several advantages to an investor. It involves minimum human intervention. It is technology driven and hence offers a higher level of accuracy. It is automated and capitalizes on every possible opportunity that arises in the market. It is prompt and spots high probability opportunities even before a trader couple ever spot and reaction to a setup. It has greater benefits for large institutions because they deal in a large amount of volume each day which requires accumulation and distribution to avoid moving the market bid and ask price.

There is another term that is very popular on Wall Street. It is High-Frequency trading. High-frequency trading is a subset of algorithmic trading. It is used to refer to short term trades. It is an electronic platform that trades large volumes at very high speeds.

Types of Algorithmic Strategies

Algorithmic trading systems are categorized into different types based on the functions they perform. Listed below are the major types.

1. Trade Executions Algorithms:

This strategy is applied to minimize price impact when executing trades. It breaks up trades of large volumes into smaller orders and releases them slowly into the market.

2. Strategy Implementation Algorithms:

This strategy reads and relays on real-time market information. It formulates automated trading signals to be implemented by a trade execution platform. It also involves rebalancing portfolios and searching for arbitrage opportunities.

3. Gaming and Stealth Algorithms:

It is specially created to take advantage of price fluctuations arising out of large trades.

4. Electronic Market Making:

It is also known as passive rebate arbitrage. This liquidity-providing strategy imitates the role of traditional market makers.

5. Statistical Arbitrage:

This is a quantitative approach to equity trading. It developed out of the simpler “pairs trade strategy”. Unlike the pairs trade strategy that compares and contrasts a pair of investments, Statistical Arbitrage tries to correlate hundreds or more stocks including long and short ones.

The Dollar Could Easily Get Stronger

Ever since the start of 2017, the dollar has been in an almost constant decline.

In fact, the PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP) has dropped over 12% from its 2017 highs, despite a 2% gain.

UUP is an exchange-traded fund that measures the dollar against six other currencies. When the dollar strengthens relative to the others, the price of UUP goes up.

Generally, the dollar is seen as a safe haven, somewhere for investors to put their money in times of market uncertainty. And since we have seen a market that went straight up over a 15-month period, there was less demand for safety assets like the dollar.

But that can only last so long. Right now, there is a fear of inflation in the markets due to higher employment and wages.

When the economy is strong, inflation usually follows. That’s because when people make more money, they spend more. And when more money is spent, there’s more in circulation, and the excess supply makes each dollar less valuable.

However, inflation fears are likely overblown due to the fact that we haven’t seen an economy this strong since before the financial crash.

When inflation gets too high, it sends production costs up and business slows. But right now, inflation remains steady around 2%.

That may seem high, as it was around 0% for all of 2015 and some of 2016, but in the big picture, it’s normal. In fact, it’s seen as healthy.

As a reference, inflation had gotten over 4% in 2005 and 2006, right as the economy showed signs of slowing.

Many are wondering how to profit from this analysis.

Demand for the Dollar

The dollar could easily get stronger from here as well.

Right now, a huge part of the world’s economy has extremely low interest rates. Much of Europe, for example, is under 1%, and they aren’t planning on raising rates aggressively anytime soon.

The United States, however, has a rate of 1.5%. This isn’t high, but we could easily see that go over 2% this year if the economy stays healthy.

That would also increase the rate of government bonds, which is 2.86% right now. As the rate get higher, international investors will begin to buy more U.S. bonds, which increases demand for the dollar and sends its value up.

How to Profit

Even though the only way to directly invest in the strength of the dollar is through UUP, there are other ways with higher return potential.

One is buying call options on the UUP fund, but that’s much riskier, as you could lose your whole investment.

Another way would be buying a leveraged ETF against a different currency.

For example, the VelocityShares Daily 4X Long USD vs. EUR ETF (NYSE: DEUR)returns four times the percentage that the dollar appreciates against the euro.

There are also similar funds that produce the return of the dollar against other currencies, like the pound (NYSE: DGBP), the yen (NYSE: DJPY) and the Australian dollar (NYSE: DAUD).

Overheated Heating Oil Market

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for a Wall Street Journal heating oil story last week. The primary question was, “How high can prices soar?” Supplies have tightened up considerably during Mother Nature’s onslaught and another bout of cold weather is hitting us, pushing prices higher yet again. Short-term demand related issues like the ones we’re experiencing now due to the weather are never a reason to jump into a market. My less than sensational outlook on current prices pushed me to the closing section of the article. This week, I’ll expand on the topic by looking at the diesel and heating oil markets and formulating a trading plan for the current setup.

I’ll work from big picture to fine detail in order to provide some context for the current situation. First of all, the fracking boom has fundamentally altered the energy landscape of the United States. We are quickly moving from net consumer towards becoming a net producer in the oil and natural gas markets. This paradigm shift is leading to an energy market structure that places us on the side of selling price spikes that are demand based. In this instance, bad weather has created a temporary increase in heating oil use. The price spike will not hold because we have the capacity to rebuild domestic energy stocks cheaply and rapidly.

The same bout of weather is responsible for driving heating oil costs to record levels in the Northeast where more than 80% of all heating oil is consumed. The flip side is that this same weather pattern is keeping people indoors. People staying inside only create heating oil demand. People in normal conditions add to diesel demand through their purchases of goods and services while they’re out and about spending money. Therefore, the net balance of the broader term market shifts towards a bearish supply issue as diesel fueled trucks have less to deliver and fewer miles to cover as citizens remain toasty and warm in their homes instead of out shopping and eating.

The domestic energy market can control supply but has little control over demand except at extremely high prices. Energy production costs are fairly fixed. The primary variable in an energy producer’s arsenal is capping low yielding wells. Prices as a trend however are falling in general as the current processes become more efficient in their cost of execution. Therefore, over time, energy prices should generally decline. Furthermore, energy producers in times of price spikes will sell as much of their expected forward production as possible at these higher prices. This allows energy producers to slow down price spikes through their implementation of profitable short hedges at unsustainable current market prices.

The best way to view these actions is by comparing spread prices to Commitment of Traders data. Spread prices allow you to compare the current market price against a forward price. Current prices or the cash, “spot” markets are the most volatile as they are the most susceptible to short-term supply and demand disruptions. Forward prices are more predictable due the amount of time left to factor in risk variables. Typically, these risk variables include physical storage, insurance costs and interest rates. This leads to forward contracts being priced structurally higher the farther out one looks. This is normal market behavior and the gradually elevated price along the timeline is called, “contango.” Conversely, in times of drama the spot price can overshoot the prices of the deferred contracts. This situation is called, “backwardation.” Backwardation is the market’s incentive to get producers to sell the physical product at the currently elevated price.

Drilling into the details, (pun intended) we can see that there’s definitely a premium in the delivery month futures contract. Knowing that this pricing structure is temporary along with the weather I’m going to let this entire rally pass. There are two reasons I think there’s a better place to buy. First of all, the heating oil market is nearing solid resistance on the daily, weekly and monthly charts. Secondly, I expect the demand numbers along with the general economic numbers for the next month to be dismal. This will lead to a selloff and drop the market under $3 per gallon. I expect the market to be supported around there and provide a solid bottom to buy into the spring driving rally. Don’t let the hype suck you in.

This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of Commodity & Derivative Advisors and is, or is in the nature of, a solicitation. This material is not a research report prepared by Commodity & Derivative Advisors’ Research Department. By accepting this communication, you agree that you are an experienced user of the futures markets, capable of making independent trading decisions, and agree that you are not, and will not, rely solely on this communication in making trading decisions.

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