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.

The Final Throes of (…no, no, not wave 2….) the Comment System

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Good evening, hard-core Slopers and Slopettes!

The official Tim Knight comment system is nearing its birth, but we need your help as midwives. There have been a number of improvements, including:

+ Elimination of some nasty-ass bugs;

+ Ability to crop your profile picture;

+ Most important, the ability to choose from three styles of updating:

Show in Place – which is the smart kind that keeps that hierarchy intact and apparently drives people crazy

Show Separately – which blithely tacks on new comments to the end

Disabled – which doesn't update automatically at all

There will, in the weeks and months to come, be many improvements to the system, so don't ask for heaven and earth right now. Just help me make sure it doesn't erase your hard drive or anything. Go to the test page here, and leave remarks/bug reports in the comments section of that page.

Thanks every so!

The Death Cross: Is It Credible? (By Ryan Mallory)

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Much has been made of the recent 50-day moving average that crossed
below the 200-day moving average on the S&P. Among individual
stocks, when the 50/200 cross occurs to the downside, many traders take
it as a sign to get out of the stock immediately, or to start a new
short position. With that being said, and the failed attempt, to-date by
the bears to drive this market lower in the wake of a the 50/200 death
cross, I asked myself, is this even a legitimate phenomenon that we
should be paying attention to? Is there a legitimate play that we can
take advantage of when this death cross comes about? So I decided to run
some tests on my own and here is what I found. 

For my testing I looked at all the stocks in the S&P 500 over the
past five years – let me just say that if there hasn't been a
correlation in the past five years, is it really worth trading? So let's

Here are the results for when any stock in the S&P 500
experienced the death cross and the subsequent results over the next
month brought as a result (had you shorted the stock when the death
cross occurred). As you can see not all that exciting at all.

So maybe there is the slightest edge there, but not enough, in my
opinion, to warrant any statistical significance. By the time you are
done with commissions and SEC fees and such, there's probably nothing
but a nasty loss staring you in the face.

But perhaps I wasn't giving the death cross enough of an opportunity
to do something with these stocks, and maybe I should expand my time
horizon to 3 months instead – so that is what I did, and here are the
results had I shorted the stocks during the 3 month time period.

Once again not all that impressive. In fact, the results are pretty
much the same, except there are a few open positions still out there,
that haven't been accounted for since they are still in the 3-month
window, which is the reason for the difference in total trades (but none
of those trades would alter the findings).

So Then I took the inverse of the trades, and looked at what it was
when you BOUGHT the stock on the 50/200 death cross and SURPRISE! The
results were the inverse of shorting the stock, but clearly
unprofitable, just like short trade was. But what obviously stuck out to
me is the fact that 54% of the trades were correct. Same goes goes for
the 3-month Buy Signal. 

Hold for 3 Months

And this time you have an even better winning percentage (55%) and a
slightly better gain/loss ratio. Which made me ask myself, "What if I
put a little risk management in the equation and simply added a trailing
stop-loss of 10% – what would my results be?" (assuming I could prevent
some of those big 50% and 60% losers).

And here are the results…

And LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE HERE! A profitable trading system (on
paper). The winning percentage falls quite a bit, (from a best case of
55% on a 3 month hold to 44% with a trailing-stop), but for every dollar
lost, you earn $1.90. Not bad at all! – And that is with BUYING any
stock on the S&P 500 that has a 50/200 death cross, but also putting
on a 10% trailing stop-loss on every trade.

Finally, what happens when you SHORT any stock on the S&P 500
when the 50/200 death cross occurs to the downside? Your results are not
much different had you just held it for one month or three months. But
your winning percentage drops dramatically (down to 35%).

So what can we conclude from this? That the death cross that has
become a "Sell-Sign" for many traders is nothing more than statistically
insignificant, if not downright dangerous to trade off of. You will do
yourself a lot of good, if you just ignore the death cross when it
happens in individual stocks, as there is no merit to it at all.

Check Out Ryan's Blog at

Bang! Margin Weighted DATR (by Trade Flight Plan)

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A couple months ago, we posted our last analysis of the dollarized
daily average true range (DATR) across the most popular futures
instruments.  With the incredible moves in the markets lately, it's time
for another update.

At the suggestion of another sloper (excellent suggestion by the
way), we revised our analysis to reflect margin weighted
dollarized average true range (mwDATR).

We show the mwDATR as a percentage.  This is the return on investment
percent (ROI) possible in a trading day, based on the dollarized
average daily moves of each futures instrument relative to the initial
margin/performance bond requirements set by the exchanges.  Brokers can
differ in their margin requirements, but we use the exchange margin
requirements for a common baseline.

As an additional nifty feature, we now use Google docs to share this
analysis, so you can further slice and dice to your heart's content. 
Liquid futures instruments favored by retail traders are highlighted in

The margin weighted results are interesting, with the most popular
big indexes ranking toward the bottom.  The Euro, oil, gold, and the
Russell are at the top of the list.  For example, oil has been moving an average of more than $2,000 per contract each trading day.

We firmly believe that in putting our capital at risk every day, the
instruments we trade must be worth the effort, must be liquid, and must
respect repeatable trading strategies.  The opportunity exists for
astute traders to make a small fortune each day.  Of course, this
extreme bang for your buck can work both ways.  We cannot stress enough
the discipline, focus, and diligent trading rules required to trade
these instruments.

Click on the image to access the Google docs electronic spreadsheet.

Originally published on