FXCM's Trading Station trading platform has a variety of features for developing and employing sophisticated signals and trading strategies that can help traders move toward meeting their goals.
Manual Trading And Automated Trading
Generally, traders can approach strategies in two manners and by implementing:
- Hands-on manual trading strategies or
- Automated trading that will detect pre-defined market conditions and work automatically when they arise.
Trading Station allows traders to work in either of these modes.
Upon opening the Trading Station platform and Marketscope charting package, traders will find a number of resources for building and storing strategies for later use. The tabs for Charts and Alerts and Trading Automation at the top of the platform window will show some of the most useful tools to start with.
Under charts, traders can open stored charts and create custom chart layouts to obtain visual aides for testing strategies. The Trading Automation tab contains a strategy dashboard to help manage and store strategies that are archived for current or later use.
Once a preferred strategy has been identified and included in the strategy dashboard, traders can set the strategy parameter to "Allow Trading" and put the strategy into automated use.
Strategies And Alerts
Trading Station and FXCM's Marketscope charting package features an archive of strategies and alerts to use in trading activities. These can be found under the Alerts and Trading Automation tab. Traders who want to employ a manually-operated strategy can set up predefined "alerts," which gives signals to buy or sell when certain price levels or market conditions are reached.
Traders employing automated trading can activate pre-defined "strategies," which will also automatically go into effect when given price levels or conditions arise. The strategies that come pre-loaded in Trading Station include:
- Divergence on MACD signals,
- MA_Advisor, which activates a moving average strategy,
- a MACD sample
- and the Fractal Alligator system developed by Bill Williams.
Among several pre-loaded alerts in the system, you can find Keyrev, Macross, Pivot Signals, Margin Alert, Price Alert, RSI and stochastic.
Watch Order And Watch Trade
The system also features Watch Order and Watch Trade functions that monitor for specific orders and trades and trigger an alert when they are executed.
Under the "Insert" tab on Marketscope, traders will find the "Add Indicator" option. It opens an archive of several indicators that can be added to charts and employed in devising and refining trading strategies. These include a series of indicators covering moving averages, trend strength, oscillators, pivots, Bollinger Bands and more. Additionally, there are indicators such as simple and exponential moving averages, the adaptive relative strength index averages, regression lines and others.
The Insert tab also includes options that allow traders to draw lines and add shapes and labels onto their charts in order to make strategy analysis and interpretation easier.
The Marketscope 2.0 charting package comes preloaded with some classic analysis techniques. These include channels, Fibonacci and Gann retracements, fans and arcs.
Developing Original Strategies
Traders interested in programming strategies for trading on FXCM will need to download the
Indicore software development kit (also known as SDK). The Indicore SDK is based on the Lua programming language, which is frequently used for games, animation and scripting functions, among various other applications.
Traders who know this or other, similar languages will have an advantage. However, those interested in taking the time to learn Lua can find information within various books in addition to online tutorials and videos.
To download the Indicore SDK, they will need an FXCM account and an integrated development environment or text editor that runs LUA, such as SciTE.
Generally, indicator development will require coding for at least three functions. These are the Init() function to initialise general data on the indicator; and a Prepare() function to initialise a particular instance of the indicator. With the addition of a prepare function, the trader will want to identify data streams to be used in the indicator. Finally, the code will need an Update() function that performs calculations each time price data is updated.
Traders who want to use existing strategies can take recourse to FXCodebase.com, which has an archive of trading strategy program files that have been placed in public domain by independent contributors for Trading Station users.
Traders can import the files through the Add Indicator dialogue box, or copy them directly from the FxCodebase. Its archive includes more than 1,900 custom indicators, signals and strategies for traders to import into Trading Station for use in strategy building.
Once traders have chosen or developed the strategies they want to employ, they can refine them by using Trading Station's optimisation tool.
By clicking on the option "Optimise Strategy" under the tab "Alerts and Trading Automation," traders can alter the parameters used in each strategy to try to obtain the most profitable results for a given trading situation or over a given time period. The tool will show the profitable and unprofitable trades in color-coded tables and charts.
With the backtesting tool also included under the "Alerts and Trading Automation" tab, traders can verify the efficiency of their chosen strategies over an existing historical database of real market conditions. Once you have chosen a currency pair, strategy and test time frame, traders can select a "run test" option to reveal how the strategy would have performed in past situations.
Trading Station and its accompanying charting package, Marketscope, are specifically set up to aide in the analysis of pre-loaded and custom-built trading indicators, and flexibly incorporate them into the platform's trading environment.
Traders who can't find a preloaded strategy in the platform can build their own strategies with some coding knowledge, or seek out already-available indicators, signals and strategies. Once the desired strategies have been loaded, they can be optimised and backtested with tools provided in the platform.
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Russell Shor (MSTA, CFTe, MFTA) is a Senior Market Specialist at FXCM. He joined the firm in October 2017 and has an Honours Degree in Economics from the University of South Africa and holds the coveted Certified Financial Technician and Master of Financial Technical Analysis qualifications from the International Federation…