Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

Signs of the Times

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Now that I'm back home, I get to indulge myself in my morning New York Times again. A couple of front-page articles struck me as particularly interesting.

The first, U.S. Loan Effort Is Seen as Adding to Housing Woes, includes these nuggets (emphasis, where added, is my own):

The Obama administration’s $75 billion program to protect homeowners from foreclosure has been widely pronounced a disappointment, and some economists and real estate experts now contend it has done more harm than good.

Critics increasingly argue that the program, Making Home Affordable, has raised false hopes among people who simply cannot afford their homes.

Some experts argue the program has impeded economic recovery by delaying a wrenching yet cleansing process through which borrowers give up unaffordable homes and banks fully reckon with their disastrous bets on real estate, enabling money to flow more freely through the financial system.

The choice we appear to be making is trying to modify our way out of this, which has the effect of lengthening the crisis,” said Kevin Katari, managing member of Watershed Asset Management, a San Francisco-based hedge fund. “We have simply slowed the foreclosure pipeline, with people staying in houses they are ultimately not going to be able to afford anyway.”

It all goes back to what I've long believed – – – letting things run their course, although briefly very painful, is the best approach. All these cutesy little games, continuously kicking the can down the road, will simply lead to ruination. Nature Knows Best. Government perverts what should naturally take place, and it is an abomination.

The article also includes a graphic illustrating how the banks having been doing at modifying loans. Bank of America is a real doozy – out of 1,018,192 mortgages that are eligible for modification, B of A has permanently modified……..98 of them. Well, at least Ken Lewis got filthy rich in the process, bless his heart. We live in a nation of sheep, and people like Ken Lewis have absolutely no shame. Zero.

The other article – which also serves as a nation crystal ball for our own nation – describes how in Japan, unemployed people have resorted to living in coffin-sized "hotels." It seems a fitting companion piece, although Japan, now in its 20th year of a completely squishy economy, started off a heck of a lot better off than the U.S. when its woes began.


For the Small Trader, from a Small Trader (by b2fnow)

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This post is for the small guy. If you’ve got plenty of money in your trading account, you can stop reading right here, unless you are just curious what the perfect setup will be for little or nothing; for the small guy.

Any other small-fry traders out there? Anyone with less than $25,000 trying to day trade is financially challenged. Anyone with less than $5,000 is super-challenged, and a small-fry trader.

I’ve used technologically advanced trading platforms like Realtick through TerraNovaOnline for $300/mo, and many others, and it’s all wonderfully beautiful and complex. But NinjaTrader also has programming capability and back-testing capability and a built-in simulator like some of the premium packages such as TradeStation, and all the features necessary for trading.

I want to help people see that there is a way to trade both the Forex futures and spot market for free, i.e., no data fees, no exchange fees, no platform fees — zero overhead — all free. Maybe you will try it if it costs you nothing. I get nothing out of this, maybe a thank you.

Check out this link to the NinjaTrader trading platform with the free Zen-Fire data feed, and download the 30-day free trial. I’ve seen them extend the free-trial period three or four times.

Here’s a screenshot of one out of five of my NinjaTrader futures screens.

Home Screen

Here you have Level II quotes, the Control Center is slid over to hide my personal info, and on the right is the SuperDom for one-click position entry. It also enters and manages stops, targets, OCO orders, trailing stops, and multiple positions; very intuitive. The Market Analyzer at the bottom is my Watch List (black background), but notice in the last column that it notified me with a number one in the right-hand column (condition True) of a breakout in the eMini, Dow mini, and Nasdaq futures. It also beeped at me to wake me up to do something. NinjaTrader is an excellent alternative to any trading platform you may have that is costing you a monthly fee.

I prefer Mini Dow Futures and Forex Futures, but I'm a small fry, and I'm swinging for the fences with too much leverage because of a small account. I become afraid to hit the button when highly leveraged and miss a lot of trades, get out too early, and generally don't trade my system or follow my plan simply because of the huge swings in my account due to leverage. I tend to trade my account value, rather than the trading plan. Like a lot of you, I'm a day trader, without the option to hold overnight because of the leverage. But with the Forex spot market, you can leverage down to zero, and even the small fry can hold a position when he/she knows when to hold 'em.

For free, I can do this forever. I’m not pressured to overtrade when my trading overhead is zero. Commissions are $6 total per position, so I can jump in and out quickly and more often with only one point necessary to cover commission fees. But I’m still too over-leveraged when trading Futures. So I set up another account, on another computer, and use NinjaTrader Forex to trade the cash currencies in a mini account. And again, all for free.

You think that you might be willing to try trading Forex futures for free? Good, huh? Here’s the great part. I drug out an old 1GHz Pentium III computer with 500MB of memory, added two dual video cards, and it runs NinjaTrader Forex cash currency markets with four monitors just fine. Oh, and did I mention, that for free, I can keep on keepin’ on.

I don’t think you can run both the Futures and the FX currencies on the same machine, because they have two different licenses and conflict. So drag out that old machine; you got nothing to lose.


Yes, you do have to open one or two more accounts and fund them both. But you can start with as little as $1,000 in the futures account and $500 in the FX account, both through NinjaTrader. The broker for the first will be through Dorman, and the latter will be through (forget FXCM). Margin rates for the futures account are all $500 or less for the currencies and index futures. Oil is higher, but who trades oil? At TerraNova, they wanted $2,700 margin to trade the Dow Mini and $3,500 to trade the eMini. At NinjaTrader, they only require $400 margin for either, and I can trade six contracts if I want with the same money I had before. Geez, how much trouble can I get into now?

NinjaTrader only comes with two weeks of intraday historical data, and no daily data. You can download the daily data at the following links for free, and your intraday data will build over time. You can trade stocks through NinjaTrader, but you will have to pay for a data feed; the cheapest I’ve found is $45/mo, but here’s a complete list.

Free Forex historical data:

Free Futures historical data:

As soon as you download the free trial, set up your Market Analyzer first with all the contracts you want to watch to begin accumulating historical intraday data. The charts you setup will also start accumulating data, but you may switch or close the charts. Set up the Market Analyzer to accumulate the data you want.

If you want to see the NinjaTrader Support Forum and all their strategies and indicators you can download for free, go here:

Here’s the NinjaTrader Help and Support Guide

See ratings and discussion for the different Forex and Futures brokers and platforms here:

Forex broker ratings:

Like you, I had to work hard to stay afloat in 2009. The last day, I devoted part of my holiday to the better good of this forum and your success. Don’t waste it; get going and make 2010 a year of harvest. You have everything to gain.


Happy New Year!

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