Tuesday, August 2, 2016

New patch file available - Update Now

Have you been experiencing an error when downloading data lately? You are not alone. The good news is that help is here.

Our source for fundamental data has changed format. As a result, we have had to respond by modifying the code to read the data in a different way.

The code is now working and I encourage all users to grab the patch file. I have a new executable file available. Just download it and copy it over the existing TradeRadar.exe file in the folder where you installed the Stock Inspector application.

You can get the new executable file by clicking [ here ].

If you would like the latest copy of the full install package, head over to the Download page and download from there.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Stock Inspector Tutorial #2 - Finding Buy and Sell Signals

This post is the second in a series of tutorials that will help you learn how to use the Stock Inspector software. Today's tutorial is all about identifying Buy and Sell signals to help guide your stock trading strategies.

First, here is an overview of today's topic.

Trade-Radar Stock Inspector does many things but it is primarily intended to generate either BUY signals or SELL signals. A signal implies an event; in this case, a reversal in stock prices. Using the Chart screen, you can have the software evaluate recent price action and determine if there is an upside breakout (a BUY signal) or a downside breakout (a SELL signal) taking place. You can further verify the validity of the signal by reviewing the various indicators on the Dashboard.

These signals can be useful for trend traders, momentum traders, bottom fishers, short sellers or anyone who is interested in price reversals.

Generating trading signals

Start by entering a stock symbol and downloading price/volume data and financial data. For details on how to do that, please take a look at Tutorial #1 - Loading Data. Essentially, just click the "Load data from Yahoo" button (it's the middle button in the following image) and go from there.

Stock Inspector - main window buttons

To get to our signals, we have to start the chart engine. After loading data, just click the "View Buy-Sell Signals" button. This will cause the chart screen appear.

This when the cool stuff starts happening. The chart engine's default setting is to automatically look for Buy signals. So there is no real need for you, the user, to fiddle around with any controls in order to get started. The chart engine will attempt to find the Buy signal and will zero in on the part of the chart that is showing that positive reversal in prices. Take a look at the screen shot below.

Stock Inspector Buy signal display

Exploring the Chart screen

There are four main sections to this chart. The top section contains various controls that allow you to manipulate the chart if you feel the need. The second section is a standard price chart with two kinds of trend lines, two moving averages and Fibonacci levels superimposed. The third section displays a chart of the signal and the fourth, bottom section provides controls that provide more options for populating the two chart sections. Let's get into each section in a bit more detail.

The Signal chart section

One reason this product has the Trade Radar name is because when it identifies what it considers to be a valid signal (either a Buy or Sell signal) it will always generate a signal with the peaked kind of shape as shown in the dark green color in the screenshot above. This shape reminds me of what a tracking radar might display to indicate it was locked on with a strong signal. Signals that are not valid will not have that well-defined peaked shape; they will be flatter and messier looking. Ideally, the graph should be nearly flat across the period of interest with the exception of a tall, skinny peak at the point where prices are exhibiting a potential reversal.

Note that the signal is dark green. This means it is a valid signal. Signals that are borderline would be in a yellow color and signals that are clearly invalid would be red. The next thing to notice is the black box just to the left of the signal. It states that the Buy signal is valid and that the software has further determined that "Confidence is high". In other words, this appears to be a strong signal that can be relied upon. Note that you can drag the black box left or right if you wish if it happens to be covering something you want to see.

You will notice that there is a horizontal, light green band along the bottom of the signal chart. This can be thought of as sort of a threshold. When the signal rises above the light green band and then falls back down into the light green band, then there is a good chance that the signal has enough of a peaked shape as to be valid.

Finally, there is a set of numeric indicators along the top of the Signal chart section. These indicators display some, though not all, of the calculated values that the software used to evaluate the validity of the signal. They are provided simply so you can see some of the characteristics of the signal, if you are interested. Note that when an indicator's background color is green, it means the calculated value supports the validity of the signal. Yellow would mean borderline and reddish would mean the value definitely does not support validity.

The Price chart section

I mentioned above that our signal, the tall, skinny peak, typically occurs in the vicinity of where prices are exhibiting a reversal. Sure enough, in the screen shot above, you can see the price decline, hit bottom and then start moving up. At certain point in the upswing, the software has decided that the reversal is real and declares a valid Buy signal.

To help you visualize what the software is seeing, there are two connected orange lines that track the price action. These are called the Slope lines. In the screenshot above, one of the Slope lines corresponds to the down-trend and the next one corresponds to the new up-trend. Note that they are connected at the bottom; ie, where the lowest closing price occurred. The angles of the trend lines are an important part of the process when determining the validity of a signal.

There is also a standard trend line that, in the case of Buy signals, attempts to connect the price peaks. It can be useful to see when the new up-trend breaks above the trend line. Of course, it would be the opposite for a Sell signal.

The blue line is the 50-day exponential moving average and the purple line is the 20-day exponential moving average. You can use these lines to see when price rises above or falls below these lines or when the lines themselves cross.

Finally, the magenta dashed lines are the Fibonacci retracements lines. They are set up to capture the highest and lowest points within the window of data being displayed and then calculate the various retracement levels in between. If you happen to use Fibonacci analysis in your trading, these are for you.


So far in this tutorial series, we have explored how to load data into the program and then how to easily check for Buy or Sell signals. Note that in the example above, we are displaying a signal based on daily data. You can just as easily base your signals on weekly or monthly data. This is actually more appropriate for those investors who are not such active traders.

In the next post, I will continue discussing the chart screen and get into how to use the various controls in order to adjust the graphs to make the trend line more accurate, how to include more trading days or reduce the number of trading days, etc. I will also show you how to display trading volume, Bollinger Bands, MACD, Stochastics and many more.

Be sure to come back for the next few posts. Once we get through the all the information related to the charts, we can get into the Stock Inspector Dashboard. That is where you will really see the benefits and uniqueness of the Stock Inspector software.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Stock Inspector Tutorial #1 - Loading Data

Trade-Radar Stock Inspector Overview

This is the first installment in a series of tutorials that will help users get the most out of the software or let potential users get a deeper look at what the software does.

Let's get started with an overview of the Stock Inspector software.

The primary function of the Trade-Radar system is to identify reversals in price movements. These reversals are translated into BUY signals or SELL signals. The trick is to determine if the reversal is significant enough to enter a trade with confidence. The Stock Inspector system will help you do that.

Furthermore, the Trade-Radar software makes it easy for you to assess the valuation and financial strength of any U.S. stock in which you might be interested. It does this by evaluating a wide range of fundamental data.

This system will support analysis of stocks, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, indexes, etc. Essentially anything with a closing price that moves in a manner that allows it to be displayed on a chart.

When using daily data, this system may be of most benefit to those traders who are interested in “hitting singles and doubles”. In other words, 15% to 30% gains over the course of several weeks to several months. Longer term trading is supported through use of weekly or monthly data. This application is not intended to support day trading.

Loading Data into Stock Inspector

In order to do its magic, the Stock Inspector software needs lots of data. We have extensive data retrieval built into the application and as you will see below, it is very easy to use. Note that the software uses a database to store the latest data that was loaded. This will allow you to use the program even if your Internet connection is temporarily out of order.

First, let's look at the Stock Inspector window. (By the way, that big, blank area is where the charts are displayed but we'll get to that in an upcoming tutorial.)

In the screen shot above, there are three big buttons on the left hand side of the window. We'll be using these buttons a lot as we go through this tutorial series. In this next screen shot, we'll zero in on them so you can get a better look.

For this tutorial we will concentrate on the top two buttons, "Search Database" and "Load data from Yahoo!" as well as the Stock Symbol drop-down.

Selecting a stock to analyze

In order to load data and begin your analysis, you need to tell the program what stock you are interested in. This is done simply by entering the stock symbol in the text area of the stock symbol drop-down. The drop-down is labeled "Input Stock Symbol" so you know you are in the right place if that's where you are typing. Note that I have entered GOOGL in the example screen shot above.

If the symbol is already in your database (because you entered it at some earlier date) then the program will read its database and retrieve any information that was previously stored the last time you loaded data for it.

If the symbol is new, the program will ask you if it's OK to add the new symbol to your database. Just click the "Yes" button.

If the symbol is already in your database you can also just use the drop-down to look for it. In this case, you don't have to do any typing at all.

Getting the latest data

Now that you have selected a symbol, you can download the latest data available. Just click the "Load data from Yahoo!" button and you will be presented with the following screen:

If you are happy with all the defaults, you can just click the "OK" button and the program will retrieve all the data related to this stock symbol and store it all in your database. That data will be used to populate the charts and the Dashboard screens (more about charts and the Dashboard in future tutorials) and to generate the BUY/SELL signals.

If you want to deviate from the defaults, we offer plenty of flexibility.

You can accept the date range that is automatically provided or you can choose a custom date range. The default is two years of daily data from the current date back. This default date range can be managed using the Program Preferences so you can set it to any period of time that suits you and your style of analysis and trading. In the case of the screen shot above, you can see that my default for daily data analysis is more like eight months rather than two years.

The period can be daily, weekly or monthly; use the radio buttons to choose. Naturally, you would use weekly or monthly data for more long-term analysis.

Note that we have added an option to retrieve intra-day data but I would caution you on relying too strongly on it to guide your trading. Intra-day data is provided more for informational purposes so you can see price/volume action at a little deeper level of detail.

If you have already selected a symbol on the main screen of the Trade-Radar program as described above, that symbol will pre-fill for you. You may change it to another symbol if you like. In either case, that is the symbol that will be searched for on the Yahoo site in order to download the data.

If you are not interested in evaluating financial data you have the option to skip this part of the data download by unchecking the “Get Fundamental Data?” checkbox. The data download will run faster and you will still be able to do all your technical analysis and evaluate the results using the Dashboard screen. Skipping the fundamental data might be appropriate when evaluating ETFs, for example, but I have to stress that one of Stock Inspector's best features is the robust fundamental analysis it offers. So always keep it checked whenever you are analyzing individual stocks.

If you are choosing a weekly or monthly time period, the symbol must be the actual stock symbol; however, the program will automatically create an alias in the stock symbol drop-down that allows you to differentiate between daily data and other time periods. For example, weekly data for GOOGL would be listed in the drop-down as GOOGL-W while daily data would be listed simply as GOOGL. In other words, the drop-down will show the symbol with a suffix indicating weekly or monthly or intra-day. The next time you pick GOOGL-W from the drop-down, the program will know you are looking for weekly data.

One little extra that Stock Inspector does for you is create files of price/volume data. These files can be loaded into spreadsheets or other tools so you can do your own analysis. Details on this can be found in the help file.

Hopefully this post has shed some light on loading data into Trade-Radar Stock Inspector. You should be able to adjust the parameters for loading data and understand how all data is stored in a database that is "under the covers" of the Stock Inspector program.

In our next tutorial, we will start looking into the charting functions of Stock Inspector. Be sure to come back for that one and you will learn how are signals are generated and why we are different from so many other stock analysis software products.