Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's Missing From Your Charts?

Dear Readers,

An interesting development recently arose: I'll be meeting with a software firm tomorrow to discuss features that they might add to their charting programs. This is an informal meeting, not a paid consultation. My sense is that they have read the blog and are very open to feedback from users, including suggestions regarding new features.

So here's a quick poll: What unique information, indicators, statistics, and features would you like to see included in a charting package? What are some functionalities that would be valuable to your trading that you're not currently finding in your platform? Be creative!

Leave your suggestions as comments to this blog post, and I will bring the list to my meeting. This could be a nice opportunity to create greater value for traders. And, if the suggested features are incorporated, I'm hopeful we'll be seeing a special free trial for blog readers. Thanks as always for your interest and support.


Some of Brett's likely suggestions:

* Charting of Cumulative NYSE TICK
* Charting of relative volume (how today's volume compares with past X days)
* Charting of pivot/price target levels
* Charting of intraday money flow


Tony said...

Numbers of new 52-week highs and lows superimposed on the price movement.

The bottom can be determined only with diminishing numbers of new lows during a down cycle.

Such info would be helpful.

MACDOW said...

A Trending vs Trading indicator that is reliable on all time frames.

Thanks for asking.

leon t said...

automatic selection of pivots, in order to draw median lines and upper and lower parallels. i know of only one sofware that does this. and it is both proprietary and expensive. also leaving enough room on the right side of the chart to allow for the projected path to be confirmed , or not.
this and the possiblity to plot profiles on the same chart would be ideal.

cleon said...

I also would like to see the following:

* Charting of Cumulative NYSE TICK
* Charting of relative volume (how today's volume compares with past X days)

Particularly the volume - I'm always trying to compare this morning's opening vol with some other day and have to manually do the comparision.

Martingale said...

Might sound simple but having the next, and all previous, earnings dates marked would be a huge time saver. Also the ability, via a pop up calendar or something, to quickly compare the last 4 or 8 earnings price action.
I can do this now but its cumbersome
Thanks Dr Brett

Sasha said...


Thank you for all the help. Here are some ideas:

Historical trading ranges based on 1 and 2 standard deviations.

Depending on the index or tool traded, an automatic variety of indicator tools are suggested or opened.

Adam said...

charting capability of the trader's heart rate through a heart rate monitor hookup.

Tom said...

I particularly like the relative volume idea.

tom brakke said...

I'll take a bit different tack:

Since we tend to not fully understand the attributes of the positions we take on (and how they reflect our decision-making approach), a really great system would look for the patterns of behavior from our history to inform our choices today.

Richard Hoffpauir said...

I don't have a suggestion for a specific metric. I would, however, ask to have support for creating graphs of multiple time series with the option to chart relative performance on a single y-axis, or absolute values on multiple y-axes.

jimcurtis1 said...

Thanks for asking. Here's my primary wish.

Some background: I have been a moving average trend investor for 40 years. I use weekly closes of 8, 10 and 12 weeks, It all depends on the beta of an individual stock. My primary goal is to avoid the big loss. I never try to predict the market from moment to moment--day to day--or week to week. If the chosen stock (or ETF now) is above the appropriate moving average the stock is a buy and hold. If and when the stock falls below its moving average the stock is a sell and avoid etc etc. This strategy has served us well keeping us in the best of markets and out of the worst of markets. Can't ask for much more. But here goes.

What has been of concern for me has been the fact that it is time that moves us across the page and that it is that time from week to week that alters the moving averages we seek.

What I would like t be able to do is to compute an average weekly volume--say for the previous 2 years. Throwing out the 2 biggest and 2 smallest weeks leaving us with a total for 100 weeks. From that total we (our new software) would compute an average weekly total volume. With that number in hand--which would be continuously updated--we would make a plot every time that amount of volume changed hands. We would still us the 8, 10 or 12 period moving averages as our action points.

This approach would move us across the page as the volume picked up and or declined. More plots per day or week when the volume picks up and vice-a-versa.

That is what I would ask for. Ad if the software already exists please let us know where.

Thanks and Best Wishes
Jim Curtis Mountain View CA,

Abid Ashraf said...

I would like to see the following:

1. Capability of the charting software to do the charts for price ratios between various stocks and

2. Extensive backtesting support for various trading strategies


Dave said...

An API so that users can change symbols on open chart windows programmatically.

Johnny said...

Ability to remove bad ticks!

bobz said...

compare bid vs. add volume

chris pook said...

If you get time this may be worth a scan:

Information Visualization for Stock Market Ticks (pdf)
Pasha Roberts - Thesis submission to MIT

On page 36 he talks about a 4 stage problem:

Identifying what to trade
Position / timing
Trade execution
Position Monitoring

I think each of these is a different visualization (charting) problem.

He used video gaming technology to produce plots. Interesting stuff.

Hope your meeting goes well tomorrow.

timothy_aldous said...

All of the charting platforms are loaded with too many features. I understand that the vendors want to offer everything to please everybody, but I always wonder if things would work more smoothly/reliably if the packages weren't so jam-packed. So how about being able to use a skinnier version of the software?

Lee said...

what about showing DOM above and below chart ticks (not every tick, maybe every 3-5? i think being able to look back and see where bids and offers were put in at different price points could be helpful.

John - MarketPilot said...


I liked the concept of calculating a periods average volume over a specified number of days. So if the period was an hour and the number of days is 10, a line could be drawn in the volume pane of the chart to show this level for each hour throughout the day.

I'd also like to see this hourly average volume (period) display on a chart that shows 5 minute price candles. In this scenario, the hourly average would need to display divided by 12 to see how the 5 minute actual volume may (or may not) combine to produce the hourly average.

Hope that makes sense.

Don C said...

Good one timothy_aldous.

And in reponse to Dr Brett's original suggestions:
#2 - Isn't relative volume sort of inherent in all charting platforms ?
Just add a MA/EMA or any other rolling window metric to the volume indicator.

Tom said...

I would like to be able see charts for overall market stats. Stats for stocks making new high/low for last year, month, week, today (since open), hour, and last x minutes (5, 10, 30). These would have a small set of groupings: everything, NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, ETF, and the handfull of broadest industry groups. Also would be nice to extend this to show for number/pct of stocks trading above/below open and above/below VWAP.

Tom said...

I would like to be able see charts for overall market stats. Stats for stocks making new high/low for year, month, week, today (since open), hour, and last x minutes (5, 10, 30). These would have a small set of groupings: everything, NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, ETF, and the handfull of broadest industry groups. Also would be nice to extend this to show for number/pct of stocks trading above/below open and above/below VWAP.

Mike said...

An AdvanceDecline volume indicator that shows the actual number of shares that traded in the advances and declines volume segments (for a given bar)

Therefore AdvanceDecline volume readings are not affected by the volume activities of previous bars (i.e., these readings are not cumulative) - they simply reflect the volume activity that is currently taking place within the present bar (whatever the length of that bar).

Or perhaps even better an UpDown Tick volume indicator with the same properties as described above.

abel said...

Bar period countdown timer clock(s), that run both as a digital readout, somewhere in the title bar of the chart, or in the vertical/horizontal price/time axis borders...and or,

the same, as an object that can be invoked, and moved within the chart pane, and resized to user-specific parameters, as well as user-specific colors backgrounds, etc...and, the same with user-defined capacity to display as either a digital-type read-out, or as an analog-type display (clocklike/watchlike) that can be easily graphically assimilated, with user-defined period settings, as well as alarm-type features.

Jorge said...

Dr. Steenbarger,

On top of all your four suggestions and most other commented here:


- Trade metrics (à la TraderDNA)

- A journal that allows for an *easy* combination of charts, notes, stats and even video - that can be later searched for.

- Market profile (I take it MarketDelta is patented, but some approximation - unless of course, you're meeting with Trevor!)

- Plotting a marker for every large order on the graph to identify areas of interest to hedgers

Bells and whistles:

- Economic calendar with alerts x minutes before each release - (optional) news service that pops up in the graph the consensus and the actual number as it's published (so you don't have to shift through a newsfeed/divert attention to a browser)

- Multiple timeframe graphs (5', 15', 60', daily) in one click and one window.

- Dynamic market/instrument analyzer that provides "windows of opportunity" per instrument and time of the day, adjusted for ATR and margin requirements

- Plotter of automatic stop-loss strategies (what percentage of profits they lock at which levels)

Thank you for asking! Best trading,



Adam: yes to that heart rate monitor!

Don: I think you're referring to different things. You mean (I believe) average volume over the last x bars. Steenbarger and others mean volume over the last bar (p.e. volume during the first half hour) compared to volume over the same bar over the last x days.

Jorge said...

Sorry, one more thing:

Plotting orders that don't get filled and/or are canceled by the trader.

Thank you

Don C said...

Hi Jorge: Thanks for explaining.
I've always used the following simple code structure for comparing current bar volume to average (or any other metric as prefered) of the same bar from the last x days:

if Bar Volume>(Bar Volume[23]+Bar Volume[46]+Bar Volume[69]+Bar Volume[92]+Bar Volume[115])/5
do ###
else ###

-above is code for comparing current bar volume to average of last 5 days for hourly timeframe, where instrument trades for 23hrs per day
-adjust bracketed offset number to specific instrument and timeframe required
-set ### to whatever action desired or allowed by program

Wonder if this is what you mean. Apologies if I'm off again.

Anyway, the third suggestion,
* Charting of pivot/price target levels,
sounds great (a la Fisher). That would be a neat feature to have.


kia said...

* Working easy with multiple time frames
* Tick by Tick charts like MarketDelta software

P.K. said...

How about VWAP charts of various time frames?

leo00o83 said...

3D indicators that could combine 3 metrics together such as relative volume, ATR and market delta/Volume By Price' (horizontal volume) in each of the 3 dimensions.

I'd also like to see a cumulative feature to any indicator that goes negative and positive, not just A/D or TICK and especially if its available in intraday charts.

A combination of 2 or more securities and divide them by another group of securities would be nice as well, such as: ($VIX+$VXN):$NYLOW+NALOW)

It would also be great if combining cumulative intraday NYSE tick and Nasdaq TICK together as 1 line or cumulative intraday NYSE A/D and Nasdaq A/D as well.

Alerts on price crossing with MA's.


Chris said...

I would like to see a stock screener that incorporates both technical indicators/analysis and fundamental analysis.

For example, and stockfetcher.con have fairly affordable and robust technical stock screeners. Meanwhile, sites like Zacks/Google/Yahoo have decent free fundamental screens. It has always puzzled me why there is no "all-in-one" screener that allows users to truly scan for stocks using both fundamental and technical criteria. Also, sector/industry specific criteria should be part of the scan.

This functionality would allow users to look for the weakest/strongest companies in a sector on both a fundamental and a technical basis.

Bryan said...

Nearly all charting packages give percentage change on the day for securities, indexes and indicators. It would be useful to be able to toggle between different time periods - from a week to as small as an hour or two. It would also be useful to able to zero the percentage change at any point during the trading day. Thanks.

Mark said...

Hi Brett,

Can you disclose who the software firm is and/or are they only selling proprietary software?



AMR said...

A trade recording function which stores data according to preset parameters. For instance whether the momentum of the SP500 is bearish. Traders can then find out what environment they have an edge in

Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Great ideas; I really, really appreciate the interest. I hope to have something good to report shortly regarding the outcome of my meeting. These ideas were super helpful--