Stock Trading Analytics and Optimization in Python with PyFolio, R’s PerformanceAnalytics, and backtrader

DISCLAIMER: Any losses incurred based on the content of this post are the responsibility of the trader, not me. I, the author, neither take responsibility for the conduct of others nor offer any guarantees. None of this should be considered as financial advice; the content of this article is only for educational/entertainment purposes.

Introduction

Having figured out how to perform walk-forward analysis in Python with backtrader, I want to have a look at evaluating a strategy’s performance. So far, I have cared about only one metric: the final value of the account at the end of a backtest relative. This should not be the only metric considered. Most people care not only about how much money was made but how much risk was taken on. People are risk-averse; one of finance’s leading principles is that higher risk should be compensated by higher returns. Thus many metrics exist that adjust returns for how much risk was taken on. Perhaps when optimizing only with respect to the final return of the strategy we end up choosing highly volatile strategies that lead to huge losses in out-of-sample data. Adjusting for risk may lead to better strategies being chosen.

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Transaction Costs are Not an Afterthought; Transaction Costs in quantstrat

DISCLAIMER: Any losses incurred based on the content of this post are the responsibility of the trader, not the author. The author takes no responsibility for the conduct of others nor offers any guarantees.

Introduction: Efficient Market Hypothesis

Burton Malkiel, in the finance classic A Random Walk Down Wall Street, made the accessible, popular case for the efficient market hypothesis (EMH). One can sum up the EMH as, “the price is always right.” No trader can know more about the market; the market price for an asset, such as a stock, is always correct. This means that trading, which relies on forecasting the future movements of prices, is as profitable as forecasting whether a coin will land heads-up; in short, traders are wasting their time. The best one can do is buy a large portfolio of assets representing the composition of the market and earn the market return rate (about 8.5% a year). Don’t try to pick winners and losers; just pick a low-expense, “dumb” fund, and you’ll do better than any highly-paid mutual fund manager (who isn’t smart enough to be profitable).

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