Making spreadsheets part of your trading system
by Jim Summers, Ph.D.
This column will be all about using Lotus 1-2-3, Release 2.0 as a trading tool. Given the number of
programs written for technical analysis fundamental analysis, and portfolio management, why would
anybody want to use Lotus 1-2-3 for this purpose? The answer is simple—most traders are not
programmers, but they want the control and-the customization power that programming can provide.
Lotus 1-2-3 gives both. Lotus 1-2-3 helped me develop a trading system and a historical testing system to
evaluate indicators. What I wanted to do fits me exactly. You can do the same.
Refining trading systems
Articles in Stocks & Commodities often describe some new angle on a technical indicator. Invariably, this
new twist is not part of my off-the-shelf charting package. However, the system looks intriguing, so I set
up Lotus 1-2-3 to test the system against my data, and add in a few bells and whistles of my own to
further improve performance.
For example, Gregory L. Morris, "Trend of the Trend" in the February 1987 issue of Stocks &
Commodities, presented an indicator which was both interesting to me and very susceptible to Lotus
1-2-3 testing. The continuing series of articles by Steven Kille and Thomas Drinka—which rank the
profitability of indicators when applied to various futures contracts—provides another opportunity to test
and refine their findings. Just proving they are correct is not enough. I want to be able to add my
refinements to their system. A similar procedure is used in more rigorously testing the many indicators
which are available in my charting package.