Portfolios Update: Changing Platforms

trading platforms

trading platforms2014 is here and the trading is live. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to be trading. The four longer-term trend following strategies I’ve been tracking combined for a total of ZERO transactions this week.

While there were no changes in any of the portfolios, there was one major change in the platform I am using to track these strategies. The end of 2013 marks the end of my free access to the TradeStation platform. Since I am not going to come close to their 50 trade minimum, they are going to start charging me $100 / month for access to their platform in addition to the $50-60 / month I am already paying for different data packages.

I did a little googling on Monday and discovered that TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform offers all of the features I need with no activity or data fees. I was able to open an account without even making a deposit and I have really enjoyed my initial interaction with the software. I have also emailed their tech support twice this week with questions and recieved an almost immediate response each time.

While switching platforms was an interesting topic to annoy my wife with this week, it doesn’t change the returns of the actual portfolios. Let’s dive in:

Weekend IBD Trend Following Strategy

I’ve been on a break from listening to podcasts, but I am sure that my man, GaryK, was referring to Monday and Tuesday as “end of year window dressing.” I’m sure he would also agree that whatever you call it, those gains still count.

The Weekend IBD Portfolio grabbed a bunch of big gains as 2013 came to a close. The portfolio, which was up 1.53% last weekend, is now up 3.12%. I am taking this as further proof that all of the transaction costs associated with starting this strategy really set it back pretty far. Moving forward, it looks like the transaction costs will be less of a factor as the positions appear to be longer-term.

With two positions sitting on profits over 35%, and five more positions in double digits, it is becoming clear that this strategy is doing a great job of cutting losses and letting profits run. I expected that part, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the high percentage of positions that have been successful. I am taking this as a strong indication that my theory of using IBD 50 stocks as a universe was a good idea.

Here’s what the Weekend IBD Portfolio looks like this weekend:

trend following

Weekend S&P / Russell 3000 Trend Following Strategy

The one problem I did run into with switching platforms was actually more of a solution than a problem. The new platform doesn’t appear to have the S&P 400 Midcap Index as an option, which was a big portion of the current portfolio. However, it does have the Russell 3000, which is what the strategy was originally supposed to be traded on. I was only using the S&P indexes because Tradestation didn’t have the Russell 3000 as an option.

Any future positions will be based on applying the strategy to the stock that make up the Russell 3000, but I am going to let the open positions run their course.

The S&P / Russell 3000 Portfolio was down 2.72% last weekend, and it improved to being down only 1.28% this weekend. While this portfolio hasn’t performed as well as the IBD Portfolio to date, I expect that it will be more resilient whenever the market runs into a rough stretch. However, this portfolio has so far posted dramatically lower winning and profit percentages compared to the IBD Portfolio.

Here is what the Weekend S&P / Russell 3000 Trend Following Portfolio looks like this weekend:

trend following


Ivy Ten Portfolio

This was supposed to be a big week for both of the Ivy Portfolios. However, when I did the calculations on New Year’s Eve to determine what changes needed made for January, there weren’t any. The same three ETFs came out on top again this month, so the strategy simply sits tight and continues riding the big trend in US equities.

The Ivy Ten Portfolio was up about half a percent last weekend. This weekend, it is floating right around breakeven. Obviously, these are pretty disappointing results for the first month, but one month isn’t that big of a deal and we’ll see what happens over the next few months.

Here is what the Ivy Ten Portfolio looks like this weekend:

ivy portfolio


Ivy Twenty Portfolio

The Ivy Twenty Portfolio had the same experience as the Ivy Ten Portfolio this week. When I sat down to calculate the changes, there weren’t any to make.

Much like the Ivy Ten Portfolio, the Ivy Twenty Portfolio backed off slightly this week. It is currently up 0.71%.

Here is what the Ivy Twenty Portfolio looks like this weekend:

ivy portfolio