Trader: A Futures Trading ToolTrader and Futures Futures and Commodities

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Older but Still Useful Trader©

Trader is a trading, trade tracking program. I use it to conduct a futures trading simulation for neophytes during a four month period. It is an Excel task bar driven program and spread sheet experience is minimal since Visual Basic does most of the heavy lifting. If you have patience, discipline and want to learn futures over time, this one is Software Rating.

What Does Trader Do?

Trader calculates daily and cumulative gains and/or losses from futures trading. Tracking different commodities is possible and about 50 participants are now allowed, but the number could easily be expanded. Daily prices may be entered manually from any of commodities chosen by either the individual or a game administrator. No, charting is not included, but I have included a few charting routines, which contain some of the more basic technical indicators.

How Do I Use Trader?

Trader would probably be rated in the medium degree of difficulty to use. While it is menu and task bar driven, several tasks on several different pages must be completed. In addition, the price chart must be kept up daily. The best place currently to do this is at Jack Carl brokerage. Carl also has daily and historical prices. There is provision in the program for cutting and pasting from this site into Trader. Historical data can also be utilized. My favorite is Anne Burden's site. I have included historical charts from two interesting periods which illustrate the volatility of the futures market. Another site for historical data is at Richard Potts Teleport site. If you know how to handle spreadsheet ready data in a CSV format, go to Jack Carl's daily CSV data site.


A complete help system is on line and I suggest you spend a bit of time with it before using the program.

How Do I Get Trader?

Download the program from this site. It is packaged in a self extracting zip file and contains four files, three of which are necessary if you use the help system. The program will extract to c:\program files\trader unless you change the drive and path. If you wish to unpack to a floppy, change the default extract path to a:\. I would not recommend trying to run the program from a floppy

Down Load the Program

The Trader Download Download Trader.EXE (277 KB)


Other Programs and Data Sets

A broad variety of commercial sites are available providing insight as to the workings of the futures market. Beginning traders or hedgers should first get familiar with contract specifications. A good clearing house site for links to domestic and foreign exchanges, contracts offered and contract specifications is Bridge News. Bridge also offers proprietary, for-sale services. Most of the exchanges have tutorials on the mechanics of trading. Managers should be interested in futures as a mechanism for managing risk. Remember, you are after information, not someone else's judgment. Several sites are available with tutorials involving the use of futures and options for managing risk. Try the University of Missouri's EBBS as a beginning. Although it is hogs-corn oriented, keep in mind basic principles are what we are after here.

A variety of sources are available offering advice (usually for fee) and analytic services. One of the most well known is at INO.COM. Another very interesting site belongs to Equity Analytics, particularly if you are interested in definitions, tutorials and information on technical trading.

Futures Tutorial Slide Sets

Two tutorials are now available on Power Point slide sets. The first set, {short description of image}Futures_Intro.ppt is comprised of 26 slides and deals with futures basics including: managing risk, contract basics, interpreting quotes, calculating gains and losses from trading and principles of convergence between cash and futures. The second set is {Intro to Hedging with Futures}Futures_Hedging.ppt and consists of 22 slides and explains long and short hedging; in addition, it introduces the subject of basis.

These slides may be used for self paced study or as part of an integrated teaching package if Trader is used in a classroom or workshop teaching situation. As in the case of Trader.exe, the files are extracted to c:\program files\trader unless the user specifies otherwise.

Just added in a Powerpoint format, Options Tutorial a new options trading tutorial . The tutorial considers basics of options trading, compares options with futures for hedging purposes and evaluates basics of writing covered and naked puts and calls.

Futures_Intro.exe Download Futures_Intro.EXE (142 KB)

Futures_Hedging.exe Download Futures_Hedging.EXE (265 KB)

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