Saturday, August 04, 2012

An options workshop and other miscellany

I confess I have always found it hard to trade options. This is despite having read some of the "bibles" of options trading, including Lawrence McMillan's Options as a Strategic Investment and Euan Sinclair's Option Trading: Pricing and Volatility Strategies and Techniques. Partly that is because I prefer simple strategies, and options strategies are rarely simple. Partly that is because I was brought up on stocks, but stock options are depressingly illiquid. Most successful options traders that I know of prefer to trade index options instead, an area that I unfortunately have no intuition at all. Papers and books written by options professionals on this topic tend to be dense with equations, and worse, they seldom focus on the practical side of trading.

That's why I am pleased to learn that Larry Connors, whose books I enjoy due to their simplicity of exposition, is presenting his first ever quantitative index options trading seminars. Interested traders can register for his free preview webinars on August 9 and 15 here, or a pre-recorded preview here.


Speaking of seminars, readers in Asia may be interested to know that my own workshops on Backtesting and Statistical Arbitrage will be held in Hong Kong on October 2-5. The same workshops will be held in London on November 19-22.

(I enjoy giving those workshops very much, because many of the participants are institutional traders whose knowledge and points of view are very much at the cutting edge. Past participants include quants and traders from, in no particular order, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of America, UBS, Societe Generale, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan, Barclays, Citigroup, Blackrock, and various other Asian and European hedge funds, energy companies, banks, and asset managers.  I humbly submit that the in-class discussions are sometimes more interesting than my prepared materials.)


I wrote some time ago about those FX brokers or ECNs where algo-traders can colocate their trading programs to lower latency for a reasonable price. There are also similar options for futures algo-traders. For e.g. Optimus Trading Group provides a market data service called Rithmic which is colocated at the major futures exchanges, and traders can colocate with Rithmic to reduce latency. Of course, traders can also directly colocate at the new CME data center in Aurora, IL. I suspect, though, that the cost of the latter option will be considerable.


Finally, as a quant trader, I nevertheless read macroeconomic analyses occasionally, if only to figure out why some of my strategies suddenly start to fail. One website that provides interesting analysis of the energy markets is In particularly, this interview with economic commentator Mike Shedlock is unusually detailed and thoughtful.