Tried to change from Tradestation to MultiCharts but gave up

Discussion in 'Trading Software' started by Robert Weinstein, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. I have been having issues with TS and found MultiCharts in the process of looking for a replacement.

    Upon reading about how it can use easy language and has a better screener (more symbols) I thought perhaps I had found something that may actually replace TS.

    I have also tested out Ninja and blocks. Ninja appears to have been made for futures with stock trading as an afterthought. As someone who trades setups and price action of a large pool (1K+) symbols ninja just could not do it. I did talk to Ninja while at the Vegas traders expo and it appears that they will have a new upgrade in Q1 09.

    Blocks appears to be able to do what I want with the right computer and I just put blocks on a dual xeon 3.4 with 4 gig of ram and SCSI hard drive in hopes that it will do what I want. So far so good.

    Getting back to multicharts - My experience has been that it is not able to take the same easy language straight from TS and work. I have had to make changes to the code to make it work.

    Next thing I found out is that the process of adding stocks into the watchlist is very difficult and tedious. Even with an optional procedure that they offered after I asked its still a pain. It would at best take at least an hour to add a list of stocks the first time.

    Support doesn't appear to be what I would call 'bad' but it sure isn't great. From my experience you can chat with customer support before noon CST but expect it to be very slow and I felt like I was bothering them by asking questions. This could be part of a language barrier but a language barrier should not be the cause of long waits between sentences.

    As I write this MultiCharts is offering a discount if you want to buy it. The offer ends on 12/31/08. I contacted them today and asked if they would extend it as I have not fully been able to test out the program. I was told that I needed to buy it now or not only would I not get the discount but the price may actually be going higher.

    It may very well turn out to be my loss but I don't respond well to software sales pitches that say you need to buy now or lose out on the deal.

    If you know you want to buy MC now appears to be the time to do so. I just have not been able to figure out if I want to buy it or not and from what I have experienced it WILL be a great program but is not yet.

    Perhaps after a few upgrades in making the product more user friendly for what I want to do it will be worth the current price or even more.
  2. Robert,

    Thanks for the info. I too am a TS user that is currently looking for an alternative. I am currently pushing RadarScreen to its limit with 1k symbols and would like to add more but am seeing TS getting somewhat unstable.

    I tried MC several times over the last two years and have come to same conclusions as you - MC is not built for serious portfolio trading. I would be hesitant to use for auto trading in general.

    That and they do awkward sales specials and the customer service hours leave a lot to be desired. At least TS usually will always answer the phone no matter the time of day...

    Let me know how your quest goes and what software you eventually settle on.

  3. Mike,

    I have the same issue with TS and the 1K limit of symbols.

    I just loaded blocks on a dual xeon system and for the first day it appeared to run great but I also know it was a very low volume day.

    Next month should be a good test for blocks.

    I also agree that the tech support from TS is really well done but the radar needs to be updated to allow for multi core / CPUs so that serious work can be done with it.
  4. TS2000i will run 5000 symbols.
  5. JB3


    You need to get higher up, and talk to someone who's got more pull. I'm sure you can still get the discount, just have to talk to the right guy and let them know you are serious. Were they at the convention?
  6. Dear Robert,
    Is it possible to attach the EL code that didn't work for you?
    I'm really surprised, because MultiCharts compatibility is very high with EL. We don't support NoPlot command, because it is easy to substitute, but all other things should work in Real-Time Market Scanner.
    That's true. This why we’ve added a new feature to fix it. Now you can copy and paste the list of symbols and it will be added to the grid.
    What took lots of time before now takes a few seconds.
    It was a problem for me as well and I'm sure it is a valuable feature.
    It will be available in MultiCharts 5 Beta 3 which will feature lots of great improvements. It will be released in 3 weeks.

    I assume it was a pre-holiday rush and our representatives just couldn’t process all requests timely.
    Normally we work till 4 PM EST and it is reflected on our home page.
    I appreciate your comments and Happy New Year!
  7. Dear Mike,
    Could you specify the problems of MultiCharts portfolio trading? As far as I know Trade Station doesn't portfolio trading features at all. Does MultiCharts under perform or you are just hesitant to use it?
    I can tell you that hundreds of customers use autotrading on daily basis and don't report any series issues. So I would be really happy to see what we can improve to make you happy and see among our customers.

    BTW, MultiCharts 5 Beta 3 will have Multi-Symbol/Multi-Resolution portfolio Backtesting.

    It will allow you to create portfolios by drugging and dropping symbols, custom symbols lists, strategy signals and use up to 4 information symbols (like $INDU) for each tradable security.

    Moreover it will allow you to see performance breakdown by symbol or strategy.
    The next step is to provide real-time portfolio trading where you can use real portfolio limitations/constrains to trade a basket of symbols algorithmically and automatically.

    We work 6:30 AM to 4:00 PM. However you should expect that each issue you have will be analyzed carefully. We provide individualized support and this is our edge.
    Thank you for the comments. It is really valuable for us.
  8. I would still be using TS2k if I could add and remove symbols easily. It seemed to be set up for DTN satellite where you collected virtually all symbols. I loved the TS8 Radarscreen but I went to futures trading, Ninja and all of them really are fine for futs, few are up to speed in the stock trading world at all...
  9. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the response. TradeStation allows one to use the RadarScreen freature to trade up to 1000 syms using the .PlaceOrder Macros. This is the equivalent of portfolio trading and the main advantage is not having to construct 1000 charts with a strategy enabled on each (I traded like this for a while and it is not worth the effort). I believe that MC requires a chart based strategy to be used for each symbol in order to trade multiple symbols. I do not think this is practical as I'm not going to setup and enable 1000 charts and make sure they all boot up correctly every morning. The ability to do portfolio trading simply and effectively is my #1 priority and TS has an OK solution.

    I'm sure you have a very robust and effective auto-trading solution that is chart based for 1 symbol at a time, however, this is very limiting. What would attract my interest would be the ability to streamline this process, or, somehow improve and/or replicate the TradeStation RadarScreen/PlaceOrder functionality and not have to have an open chart for each sym.

    Regarding the hours of operation, I am a demanding customer and I have problems accessing TS even when they claim 24 hour service.... that and I trade on the west coast which means that you closing at 1pm PST is right when I start doing the majority of my software related work (I am actively trading during the hours you are open).

    You have a good product that I used with success for a few months, however, I found it limiting for my needs. The most attractive feature was the EasyLanguage Portfolio backtesting, which, I will still use your product to do from time to time. However, I do not yet see an adequate solution to trade a portfolio of stocks on an intraday basis.

  10. Dear Mike,

    Thank you for your comments. You are saying:

    Could you please explain how the above can be considered an equivalent of portfolio trading? In real trading you always have limitations on capital that is available for trading. This means that at any given moment you need to know how many positions you have open and what your realized/unrealized profit/loss is. If you do not have that kind of information at any given moment of time, you cannot take or ignore a new trading opportunity. Furthermore, when it comes to trading 1000 stocks, the situation is aggravated by the fact that the number of trading opportunities is too great, thus trading needs to be automated. Consequently it is necessary to automatically calculate the amount of money that can be invested in yet another position.

    However, all this cannot be done in RadarScreen because it does not have global profit and number of open positions. Hence, I would like to know how you could use RadarScreen for portfolio trading.

    “I believe that MC requires a chart based strategy to be used for each symbol in order to trade multiple symbols.”

    Yes, the above is true for the current version of MultiCharts. However, MC 6.0 will allow autotrading portfolios taking into consideration portfolio constraints. No charts will need to be created for that. All you would need to do is add the required symbols into your portfolio.

    Thank you once again for your response and comments.
    #10     Jan 7, 2009