Nice, free options tool from the CME

Discussion in 'Options' started by Brighton, May 8, 2013.

  1. Brighton


    I came across this a few days ago and signed up for the free 'essentials' version. The company also offers trials to their several paid versions.

    So far, I'm impressed. It has a clean layout, it's intuitive and it includes the CME serials, weeklies and short-dates that are sometimes hard to find. And the skew feature is nice - multiple months on one chart or you can select a single month and scroll back through time to see how the current skew compares to a day ago, a week ago, etc.

    The free version appears to be end-of-day for volatility data: the ATM table, straddles and skew - but I think the individual option prices update at the exchange-mandated delay.

    Anyway, might be worth a look. I'm going to keep poking around and maybe I'll demo one of the paid versions. I haven't looked at the spread or pricing tools but was pleasantly surprised to find the ATM tables and skew graphs for free.

    P.S. I have no affiliation with the CME or with QuikStrike but I hope they keep this stripped down product available for free. It's the least they (the CME) can do after taking down their nice energy spread page. :p
  2. what do the costs look like?
  3. Brighton


    Of the versions I might be interested in purchasing - Personal Edition is available in standard and professional flavors at $100/mo and $300/mo respectively.

    I haven't done much research or feature comparison yet, but it looks like this company's forte is market makers and institutional traders. My guess is that they're trying to expand into the retail/small independent trader market and maybe retail brokers as well (they mention several times that a particular version offers the ability to 're-publish' for clients).
  4. Doesn't appear to offer anything over what your front-end/broker/etc. would have, or what one can build in a simple spreadsheet. Also, it doesn't seem to include data for individual equities. But if you trade those products, then maybe it could be of some value. I would just opt for a data feed and excel.
  5. Brighton


    Doobs - You're right, it's futures options only and since they have a branding or distribution deal with the CME, they don't carry any ICE products.

    I've looked at it more closely and compared to free or low cost programs (usually ad-supported) or a basic program offered for 'free' by a broker, I think it's a higher quality product.

    That said, I'm coming to the conclusion that their 1st and 2nd level paid versions may not be such a good deal, at least for my needs. At $100/mo you're still getting delayed data, you can't export long-term IV and HV data, and until they reach an agreement with ICE, you're not getting any ICE products. At $300/mo you can export data and keep your portfolio in their program, but I don't think that's worth $200/mo.

    Conclusion: Unless the CME is paying them a hefty fee, I think they're giving away too much in the free Essentials version and they don't offer enough (or their price point is too high) in the paid versions.
  6. Brighton


    Here's an update/review:

    I spent a lot of time going through this application and I recently started a demo of the paid versions. With a demo, you can switch at will between Personal Standard Edition ($99/mo) and Personal Professional Edition ($299/mo). I'm interested in the Standard Edition, so that's where I spent my time and that's what the table below refers to.

    *Green/YES items should be self-explanatory.

    *Yellow/NO items are small things that can probably be added or fixed with a minimal amount of development effort. Since this is a web-based subscription, I think (hope) changes can be made quickly.

    *Red/NO items are more important and I think they need to be addressed soon, especially documentation and historical volatility. Documentation is not that important to me now, but it would have saved me time had it been more complete. The HV issue is odd; it seems fundamental to an options analysis package and I have no idea why it's been left out.

    PRICE of ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTS: You can get similar capabilities for 'free' through some brokers but even if those applications handle futures options (not all of them do), if you're an active trader, you may be paying a steep price for them via higher commissions. Another route is to get something like Options Oracle, OptionStar or Hoadley for a one-time fee of $0 to $200 and DIY, but I believe the first two products are unsupported, and from what I've read, you may need to buy a data feed to get good/complete futures options data.

    CONCLUSION: I've been looking around for a while and already had most of what I needed, so QuikStrike faced a tough test. I was viewing this as a $1200 purchase and approaching analysis paralysis. Then I learned it can be purchased month-to-month and the decision to give it a try became easier. It has some data I need, it has some graphs I want (and won’t have to generate in Excel) and the spread building, analyzing, editing and tracking capabilities will save me time right now and help me expand beyond vanilla spreads in the near future. All that for $100/mo and if it doesn't measure up, I’m not out much money.