Thanks to John Grady at NoBsDayTradying.com I’ve been looking at trading order flow.
I’ve picked up a copy of Jigsaw’s Depth & Sales Ninja Trader plugin.
I’m in Western Australia, so trading US Treasuries begins at 11pm, or European Bonds at 2pm. I’m self employed so my hours are flexible, but I have a young family which does limit my flexibility at times. Trading the Asia Pacific markets would fit well but I’m concerned with the low volumes and lack of broker support.
AMP Futures, through CQG data feed, seemed to offer the important bonds and indexes. Unfortunately I’ve only come across negative statements regarding AMP Futures. Like these:
I’m most concerned about the customer support issues. If I’m in a position and I lose my connection then I need to get out with a phone call. The out of band connection must be reliable.
Incidentally, I’ve called City Index a number of times and have always got through to a helpful person. Thinking about it now, they’ve probably provided me with the best customer service of any business, especially outside the financial services industry.
Mirus Futures looks good so far, but they don’t connect with the Asia Pacific region. I’ve been running on their demo with Zen-Fire data for a couple of days.
When it comes to accessible markets, Interactive Brokers are seemingly well ahead of other brokers. Their commissions are also very competitive. I know they’re fairly popular among retail stat arb traders which is reassuring. My main concern with IB is that their real time feed is not actual tick data, but aggregated tick data collated 20-30 times a second. I don’t have enough experience to know if this will be a problem or not. I suspect it won’t be a practical issue, but who knows…
Another alternative would be to hook in to a separate data feed, but from my recollection eSignal and CQG were the only Ninja Trader providers connected with Asia Pacific markets. eSignal would cost about $150 a month – probably beyond my 1 lot trading returns for the time being… and CQG supply data through affiliated brokers – AMP Futures in the case of Ninja Trader. I’ve already voiced my concerns about AMP Futures above.
I’ll probably go with IB.
Another, probably unavoidable issue will be connection speed. Given that I’m in Western Australia, we’re a 250ms ping to the US, 130ms to Singapore, and 70ms to Sydney. I’m not sure what affect this will have on scalping but I remember from my Quake World days, lag mattered! Short of moving country, or getting in with a prop firm to trade Asia Pacific markets, I’m stuck here.
In terms of startup costs:
- $400 Jigsaw Depth & Sales
- $1,000 Ninja Trader
- $10,000 capital required for IB
- $1,000 computer
Monthly operational costs:
- $50 Jigsaw Depth & Sales trading interface
- $50 exchange connection costs (generous estimate)
- $50 internet connection
- $10,000 loss of interest (not much today)
I use a Macbook Air as my work computer. I’m running Ninja Trader through parallels which does work, but is not ideal. I’d say a dedicated trading setup is required. Then I need to weigh up a Desktop vs Laptop vs VPS. I’ll leave that for another day.