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Top 9 managed futures newsletters in 2009

December 28, 2009

 

With 2009 coming to an end in just a few days, and the airwaves filled with the obligatory lists of the best movies, books, and songs of the year, we couldn’t help but get in the end of the year spirit ourselves and do our own Year’s Best list….

Please find the Top 9 newsletters of 2009 below (as rated by readers and Attain staff)

1. What's ailing managed futures in 2009?

2009 has less than half the number of trending days 2008 had, and is well below the average number of trending days across the last several years. It is likely not a coincidence that the last time we saw low readings such as this were in 2004 and 2005, when managed futures posted smaller than normal returns. Read More

2. Managed Futures Spotlight: Mesirow Financial Commodities Mgmt.

Mesirow provides access to a tried and true commodity trader who has a knack for controlling risk, and at what we feel is a bargain price (either in cash or the nominal minimum amount).  While there are other programs which can provide the background, the low risk, or the bargain price – it is rare to have all three in a single program. Read More

3. Gold Exposure through Managed Futures Accounts

Holding Gold warehouse receipts in your futures account is a more efficient and cheaper way to get Gold exposure than buying Gold bars and mining stocks, and you can use the value to margin other trading. There are also managed futures managers who can give you ‘smart’ Gold exposure by going long/short/flat depending on market conditions. If you’re looking for Gold exposure, do it the smart and efficient way. Read More

4. Trading System Spotlight: BAM 90 ES

Like many systems that look to pick tops and bottoms, BAM 90 ES has proven to be most successful during periods of market consolidation.  The perfect trade setup is when the market trades in a limited decreasing trading range before heading back in the opposite direction. We are excited to add BAM 90 ES to the stable of available trading systems at Attain to see just how it can do moving forward. The system has proven to be unique and has seen successful hypothetical results in the current market conditions where some other trading systems have struggled. Read More

5. Now is the time to diversify, not after stocks crash again

If you berated yourself for most of last year for NOT diversifying your stock market holdings, here’s your second chance. What was a disaster in early March is now much, much better – meaning you can reallocate some assets out of stocks into other asset classes at prices roughly 2/3 better.  Don’t be the normal “lemming-like” investor, who looks into diversifying his/her stock holdings AFTER a big sell off. Diversification works much better BEFORE you need it. Read More

6. Hedging Currency Risk: 4 Options for the Plummeting Dollar

If you are a non-US investor, you can hold your account in Euros, Swiss Francs, British Pounds, or Japanese Yen. If you are a US investor who doesn’t like the sound of your assets losing value relative to the rest of the world, you can convert a portion of your account to a foreign currency (usually the Euro or the Aussie Dollar). Why not hold 25% of their account in Euros, they say; and another 10% in Aussie Dollars or something else. Similar to how Coca Cola and Proctor and Gamble diversify their profits by earning them all over the world in different currencies. Read More

7. Managed Futures Spotlight: Dominion Capital Mgmt. Sapphire Program

….our impression of the Dominion Capital Management Sapphire program is quite favorable.   It will be hard for individual investors to find a better pedigree in a short term manager than Scott and his team, and the avoidance of risk is evident in the low drawdown in the track record. [past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results].  Add to that their very short, 2 day average hold time; and there is a lot to like about Dominion either as a standalone managed futures investment or component to a portfolio of commodity trading advisors. Read More

8. What if this bear market mirrors Japan's 20 year sell-off?

If you want to see some scary stock market statistics, consider what has gone on in Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index over the past 30 years or so. The Nikkei is down close to 80% from its all time high in December of 1989.  That’s a 20 year long bear market for anyone who’s counting. Or consider that it is at roughly the same price it was in 1981, so investors who bought nearly 30 years ago and held this whole time are even on their investment (ignoring dividends).  If 30 years of flat performance doesn’t scare you into diversifying money into asset classes such as managed futures which can do well in a down market, you may be beyond helping. Read More

9. Trading System Spotlight: Compass S&P

…the venerable Compass trading system may be worth a look. Now in its 10th year of being traded in actual client accounts, with an unbelievable 108 month history of actual client fills (the longest such record for a publicly available trading system we know of). In an industry that at times relies too heavily on unrealistic hypothetical track records, here is a system that you can see the exact fills clients trading the system received going back over 9 years! Read More

We wish all of our readers a happy and prosperous New Year!

Please look for a new Attain newsletter format reflecting the reader comments posted via our reader survey in September coming in the first few weeks of the New Year, as well as the following content:

 

- 2010 Managed Futures Outlook

- Semi Annual ‘Attain’s Top 15’ listing

- Managed Futures 2009 CTA by CTA reviews

Thanks again for subscribing to our newsletter.

IMPORTANT RISK DISCLOSURE


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Feature | Week In Review: Stocks hit new 2009 highs once again, Crude Oil rebounds, Gold stops free fall

Overview

Market activity remained mixed during the past week as position squaring ahead of the holiday season was a main feature amid light volume. Mostly stronger U.S. economic readings and the U.S. Senate passage of the Healthcare reform bill and some deals involving foreign investors buying struggling parts of U.S. automakers aided investor optimism in some sectors The uneasy mood from Mideast debt issues continued to subside which helped pressure the U.S. Dollar that in turn aided rallies in some hard commodity areas. European news was a bit more favorable last week with the biggest news being the EU giving a positive response to a new Irish banking revival plan.   Asian headlines were again fairly constructive for the marketplace, although China indicated it was looking into possible scenarios that might curb real estate speculation while pointing to reserve ratios for lenders as an important tool to gauge such events. U.S. economic reports were light last week although most exceeded early analyst predictions.  The report schedule for the last week of the year is fairly light with the headliner being consumer confidence. For the week the Russell 2000 futures +4.58% led advancers followed by the tech heavy NASADAQ futures +3.38%, Mid-Cap 400 futures +3.26%, S&P 500 futures +2.21% and Dow Jones futures ended +1.90%. 

The energy sector continued to find strong underlying support from a potential Iran/Iraq showdown over oil production along their border areas along with news of more internal unrest in Iran itself. Supply and demand scenarios remained on the mend with more draws in weekly supplies. Crude Oil futures +4.88% led the rally followed by RBOB Gasoline +4.88% and Heating Oil +4.10%. Natural Gas -2.25% was under pressure from heavy supplies in the U.S.             

Trade in Metal futures was fairly active during the past week, although results were mixed with the industrial metals stronger from an expected growth surge in emerging markets and the precious metals being capped by ideas of a possible end to the assault on the U.S. Dollar.   For the week Palladium +5.91% led the way up followed by Copper +4.91%, Platinum +2.75% and Silver+0.69%.  Gold finished -0.60%.   

Constructive developments in the U.S. economic sphere was not enough  to aid activity in the U.S. Dollar -0.03%, although light holiday volume did show up in the currency sector the most. The Japanese Yen -1.26% and British Pound -1.25% were both under the weather for poor economic data for each respective country. In other currency action the Euro +.17% and Swiss Franc +0.26% eked out a rally on the subsiding pressure from the Dubai debt issues.

The rate sector remained under pressure due to another round of better economic reports along with news of poor auction figures. The 30-year Bond futures ended -2.55% and 10-year note future shed -1.67% for the week.     

Commodity and Food products were mixed to lower with continued news that larger southern hemisphere crops could be on the horizon capping activity in some sectors, but stronger growth ideas helped spur price appreciation in the some soft markets. In the grains for the week Soybeans -1.18% and Wheat -0.68% were pressured by larger production indications for the upcoming crop year. Corn price activity +2.72% was aided by constructive figures on a monthly USDA report. The livestock sector was mixed to lower as poor demand and heavier supplies sparked pressure with Lean Hogs -2.03% and Live Cattle -0.12%. Higher activity in the soft sector was led by Sugar +2.81% followed by OJ +0.71% and Cocoa +0.62%. Coffee -4.10% and Cotton -2.17% were hampered by reports of better production in the southern hemisphere growing regions.    

Managed Futures

Heading into the last week of December and 2009 most managers are expecting slower market conditions to prevail.  Assuming a quiet week, it appears that Option Trading Managers will end up as the most consistent sector once again in December with most strategies in the black as of last Thursday.  December’s top performer is currently Ace Investment Strategist which is ahead an estimated +3.01%.  Ace routinely places “Option Strangles” at varying strike prices and expiration dates on the S&P 500 futures options with the end goal of the options expiring worthless.  Other Option Trading manager estimates are as follows: Cervino Diversified Options +0.70%, Cervino Diversified 2x +1.44%, Crescent Bay PSI +1.68%, Crescent Bay BVP +1.47%, FCI OSS +2.40%, FCI CPP -0.13%, HB Capital +2.69%, Oak Investment Group +0.48%, and Raithel Investments +1.33%.

The Diversified Multi Market sector has had a much less consistent road in 2009 and December is shaping up to be yet another down month, which will mean down years for many following a banner year in 2008 when the majority of other asset classes struggled.  One exception for December has been the discretionary trading of Dighton Capital USA who is ahead an estimated +11.39% after having entered long the US Dollar incrementally over the past few months – the US Dollar is up approximately +3.8% in December. 

Other Multi Market manager estimates for December are as follows: APA Strategic Diversification Program -3.76%, APA Modified -11.34%, Clarke Global Basic -9.67%, Clarke Global Magnum -15.34%, Clarke Worldwide -11.95%, DMH Capital +2.0%, Dominion Capital +0.75%, Futures Truth MS4 -1.71%, Futures Truth Sam 101 -4.98%, GT Capital +1.17%, Hoffman Asset -5.35%, Integrated Concentrated Program -5.68%, Mesirow Absolute Return -1.07%, Mesirow Low Volatility -0.33%, Quantum Leap -0.04%, Robinson Langley -6.01%, Sequential Capital -0.51%, and 2100 Xenon Managed Futures (2x) Program -3.23%.

We would like to point out that many short term Multi Market managers have seen much less volatility than their longer term counter parts in 2009 – investors looking for trend exposure on a short term basis should consider taking a closer look into strategies like Dominion, Mesirow, Sequential and the trading of GT Trading.

Specialty manager performance continues to be mixed in December with the agriculture trading of Rosetta leading the estimates +1.68%, NDX Shadrach +0.22%, NDX Abednego flat, and Emil Van Essen multi market spread trading falling -0.51% for the month.

Finally, the Short Term Index trading of Paskewitz Asset Management has been one of the least volatile strategies in 2009 (past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results) and is currently ahead an estimated +0.93% for December and was +1.41% through November.

Trading Systems 

System trading was extremely thin last week with futures markets nearly at a standstill ahead of the observance of Christmas on Friday at nearly every futures exchange in the world. The only futures exchange of note that was open on Christmas Day was TOCOM (Tokyo Commodity Exchange), all others were closed.

This week day and swing systems will be pooled together based on their results, which are skewed towards the positive side. On the winning side, results were as follows: ATB TrendyBalance v2 Dax +€1,192.5, Rayo Plus Dax +€300, Upper Hand ES +$52.5, Waugh CT ERL +$130, AG Mechwarrior ES +$132.50, Jaws US 400 +$1,595, MoneyBeans S +$470, Strategic ES +$357.50, Strategic v2 SP +$775 and Ultramini ES +$102.50

In the minority last week, losing systems include BetaCon 4/1 ESX -€50 and Compass SP -$634.62. Expect slow, choppy conditions to continue throughout the remainder of 2009.

IMPORTANT RISK DISCLOSURE
Futures based investments are often complex and can carry the risk of substantial losses. They are intended for sophisticated investors and are not suitable for everyone. The ability to withstand losses and to adhere to a particular trading program in spite of trading losses are material points which can adversely affect investor returns.

Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. The performance data for the various Commodity Trading Advisor ("CTA") and Managed Forex programs listed above are compiled from various sources, including Barclay Hedge, Attain Capital Management, LLC's ("Attain") own estimates of performance based on account managed by advisors on its books, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

The dollar based performance data for the various trading systems listed above represent the actual profits and losses achieved on a single contract basis in client accounts, and are inclusive of a $50 per round turn commission ($30 per e-mini contracts). Except where noted, the gains/losses are for closed out trades. The actual percentage gains/losses experienced by investors will vary depending on many factors, including, but not limited to: starting account balances, market behavior, the duration and extent of investor's participation (whether or not all signals are taken) in the specified system and money management techniques. Because of this, actual percentage gains/losses experienced by investors may be materially different than the percentage gains/losses as presented on this website.

Please read carefully the CFTC required disclaimer regarding hypothetical results below.

HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS, SOME OF WHICH ARE DESCRIBED BELOW. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY ACCOUNT WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE PROFITS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN; IN FACT, THERE ARE FREQUENTLY SHARP DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND THE ACTUAL RESULTS SUBSEQUENTLY ACHIEVED BY ANY PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM. ONE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS IS THAT THEY ARE GENERALLY PREPARED WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT. IN ADDITION, HYPOTHETICAL TRADING DOES NOT INVOLVE FINANCIAL RISK, AND NO HYPOTHETICAL TRADING RECORD CAN COMPLETELY ACCOUNT FOR THE IMPACT OF FINANCIAL RISK OF ACTUAL TRADING. FOR EXAMPLE, THE ABILITY TO WITHSTAND LOSSES OR TO ADHERE TO A PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM IN SPITE OF TRADING LOSSES ARE MATERIAL POINTS WHICH CAN ALSO ADVERSELY AFFECT ACTUAL TRADING RESULTS. THERE ARE NUMEROUS OTHER FACTORS RELATED TO THE MARKETS IN GENERAL OR TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANY SPECIFIC TRADING PROGRAM WHICH CANNOT BE FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE PREPARATION OF HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND ALL WHICH CAN ADVERSELY AFFECT TRADING RESULTS.