Friday, November 2, 2007

Expert Advisors - For and Against Automating Your Forex Trading System

An expert advisor is a piece of software which works as a plug-in for your trading platform. The purpose of an expert advisor is to automate your own (or someone else's) trading system.

An expert advisor works by monitoring any market for you 24 hours a day, looking to place trades for you once it sees that certain parameters (based on your own, or someone else trading strategy) have been met.

To build your own expert advisor, you need to have a working knowledge of the MetaQuotes Language 4 (MQL4) which is the built-in language for programming trading strategies. There are companies which will (for a fee) automate your trading strategy and build an expert advisor for you based on your own settings. There are also companies which will sell you their own expert advisors.

Most forex expert advisors are developed for the Metatrader trading platform. Developed by Russian programmers, Metatrader had become the standard trading platform for many professional traders and forex brokers.

Once you have built your own expert advisor (usually a file ending in .EX4) or purchased someone elses, the process of setting it up with Metatrader 4 is quite simple. It is just a matter of opening and installing the file into your MT4 platform.


The main advantages of trading with an expert advisor are:

1. The expert advisor has a plan. It sticks to this plan and the settings you have developed into it no matter how uncertain the market looks or how you may feel about the market at a particular point of time.

2. The expert advisor is consistent. It can eliminate the negative human aspects of trading which include fear, greed and inconsistency in trading.

3. The expert advisor frees you up from physically having to watch and analyse the charts to find a signal to enter/exit trades. It does this automatically for you so you don't have to sit in front of your computer all day.

4. Freeing you up from watching charts for entry and exit signals also has the added benefit of giving you more time to spend on actually developing your trading strategies, doing back tests and more and more tests.

5. Finally, the expert advisor (or forex robot) can monitor many markets at once, giving you access to many more trading opportunities than you can physically find and analyse by yourself.


1. The robot (expert advisor) does not and will never have the feel for the human and the soft non-programmable issues. The trader must always look at the bigger picture, the fundamentals as well as the hundreds of other important issues which affect the ebb and flow of the forex market.

2. Many traders also choose to use expert advisors for the wrong reason. They believe that simply by trading with a robot they will automatically have better results or be better traders. Essentially, all an expert advisor will help you with is with trading consistency. It will just free up your time to focus on developing and testing your trading strategies instead of physically having to look for and execute trading opportunities.

by Giselle Sanchez - Learn more about building your own expert advisor, how to set up an expert advisor with Metatrader 4 and choose from over 40 of the best forex expert advisors.

Trading Oil and Gas Contracts Using CFDs

Many traders do not realise that Contracts for Difference can be used not just for stockmarket trading, but also in the forex and commodities markets, and one of the most liquid and exciting markets is crude oil and natural gas. CFDs are usually modelled in the same way as futures contracts, and consequently there are several contracts from which to choose in each category.

It is well known that the crude oil market is normally priced either as either Brent crude or US crude. The current spread between the two is about $3.5, Brent being higher, but this varies according to supply and demand, liquidity and other geopolitical issues.

Different contracts

Within each market, several expiration months are quoted and at the time of writing (June 2007) July, August and September CFDs are available. The difference in prices between the various contracts reflects the cost of carry and other seasonal factors as it would for all commodities.

What this means is that you do not pay financing interest on these CFDs, because all positions are rolled over into expiry and the contract values already price in the cost of carry.

What can you trade?

It is possible to trade various many different CFDs related to oil prices. These include:

Heating oil, for which there is a liquid US-based quote with several expirations

UK Oil and Gas sector CFDs

US Oil and Gas sector CFDs

Individual oil share CFDs including such varied names as Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, Total-Fina, Exxon Mobil and many smaller oil company stocks around the world

US Natural Gas CFDs with various expirations

Calculating the margin on a US crude contract

As we analyse the US crude oil market every day in our US report, it is worth looking at this contract to calculate what margin is required on a trade.

The current most liquid contract is the July 2007 CFD, priced at $65.86 to $65.92

The margin requirement on most commodities is 3% of the total contract value.

The tick size is 0.01.

The contract value is calculated by this formula:

((Quantity) x (Price))/ Point= initial margin

Therefore if you were to buy 10 US Crude Oil CFDs at $65.92

(10 x 49.50)/ 0.01 x 0.03 = $1,978 initial margin.

The exposure per tick is worth $10.

For online traders, CFDs are an excellent way to gain exposure to the oil market as a speculative play, for hedging purposes, or when searching for good arbitrage possibilities. The markets are liquid and spreads are very attractive.

Mike Estrey is the Head of Research for Blue Index, specialists in Online CFD Trading, Contracts for Difference and Online Forex Trading.

Penny Stock Investing and Trading

If you ask anyone in the finance world what they think about penny stock investing or trading , the answer that you will probably get will be: Dont do it. You will lose your money since 90% of penny stock companies are scams. Penny stock companies just want to sell shares and are not interested in developing their businesses. The truth is that investing or trading penny stocks is a very risky business. So here is the most important tip about penny stocks: Invest only money that you can afford to lose.

If penny stocks are so risky then, why do people invest in or trade them? The answer is because you can make a lot of money in a short time if you know what you are doing.

If you are still reading and have decided that you want to trade penny stocks, you need the right tools and good advice to help you survive and even win some money.

Step # 1 Finding the Right Penny Stock to Buy

To discover the right one stock, you will have to do some investigation, or Due Diligence. There are a lot of websites that will help you with your DD and you can find a list of useful ones at

The following points will guide you in learning important information about a company in which you are interested in investing:

1. Share structure: AS (Shares Authorized) and OS (Outstanding Stock) and Float.
2. Transfer agent transparency
3. SEC filing
4. Financial track record
5. Competitive position in its industry
6. Business model
7. Earnings power
8. Valuation or the potential value of the company.

For example, when looking into share structure what you want to see is that there is no dilution. A good sign is when the company has maximized the OS and is close to AS. Watching Level 2 will also give you good indication if there is any dilution from the company. A good strategy is to follow insiders who know the company better than anyone else.

Step # 2 Deciding When to Buy

After finding the penny stock that you plan to buy, you have to find your entry point and how to execute it the right way. Following the trading in that particular stock for a few days together with chart analyzing will give you a lot of valuable information. At this point it is highly recommended for anyone to learn some basic chart reading or at least let others analyze the chart for you. You can ask for help on many of the popular message boards that discuss stock trading and chart analyzing. An important tip about how to execute the trade in a penny stock is: Be very patient and always try to buy at the BID price.

Step # 3 When to Sell or The Exit Strategy

The exit strategy is something very personal to different traders or investors. It is very important to implement your strategy immediately after executing the buy order. In most cases, a good idea would be to set a sell order of 50% of your position at around 20%-30% PPS spike. Another 10%-20% rise of PPS and then sell another 50% of your current position and let the rest ride for a while. In general, your exit strategy should be very flexible and change with news, momentum, and volume. 90% of the time, though, you should sell at the ASK so it wont affect the run.

TIP: Remember always to take profits.

Happy Trading

Ron Kaye is an editor for, Stock Investing and Trading Reports website that publishes stock articles, stock news, stock reports, and shares information on undervalued penny stocks.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Forex Options Market Overview

The forex options market started as an over-the-counter (OTC) financial vehicle for large banks, financial institutions and large international corporations to hedge against foreign currency exposure. Like the forex spot market, the forex options market is considered an "interbank" market. However, with the plethora of real-time financial data and forex option trading software available to most investors through the internet, today's forex option market now includes an increasingly large number of individuals and corporations who are speculating and/or hedging foreign currency exposure via telephone or online forex trading platforms.

Forex option trading has emerged as an alternative investment vehicle for many traders and investors. As an investment tool, forex option trading provides both large and small investors with greater flexibility when determining the appropriate forex trading and hedging strategies to implement.

Most forex options trading is conducted via telephone as there are only a few forex brokers offering online forex option trading platforms.

Forex Option Defined - A forex option is a financial currency contract giving the forex option buyer the right, but not the obligation, to purchase or sell a specific forex spot contract (the underlying) at a specific price (the strike price) on or before a specific date (the expiration date). The amount the forex option buyer pays to the forex option seller for the forex option contract rights is called the forex option "premium."

The Forex Option Buyer - The buyer, or holder, of a foreign currency option has the choice to either sell the foreign currency option contract prior to expiration, or he or she can choose to hold the foreign currency options contract until expiration and exercise his or her right to take a position in the underlying spot foreign currency. The act of exercising the foreign currency option and taking the subsequent underlying position in the foreign currency spot market is known as "assignment" or being "assigned" a spot position.

The only initial financial obligation of the foreign currency option buyer is to pay the premium to the seller up front when the foreign currency option is initially purchased. Once the premium is paid, the foreign currency option holder has no other financial obligation (no margin is required) until the foreign currency option is either offset or expires.

On the expiration date, the call buyer can exercise his or her right to buy the underlying foreign currency spot position at the foreign currency option's strike price, and a put holder can exercise his or her right to sell the underlying foreign currency spot position at the foreign currency option's strike price. Most foreign currency options are not exercised by the buyer, but instead are offset in the market before expiration.

Foreign currency options expires worthless if, at the time the foreign currency option expires, the strike price is "out-of-the-money." In simplest terms, a foreign currency option is "out-of-the-money" if the underlying foreign currency spot price is lower than a foreign currency call option's strike price, or the underlying foreign currency spot price is higher than a put option's strike price. Once a foreign currency option has expired worthless, the foreign currency option contract itself expires and neither the buyer nor the seller have any further obligation to the other party.

The Forex Option Seller - The foreign currency option seller may also be called the "writer" or "grantor" of a foreign currency option contract. The seller of a foreign currency option is contractually obligated to take the opposite underlying foreign currency spot position if the buyer exercises his right. In return for the premium paid by the buyer, the seller assumes the risk of taking a possible adverse position at a later point in time in the foreign currency spot market.

Initially, the foreign currency option seller collects the premium paid by the foreign currency option buyer (the buyer's funds will immediately be transferred into the seller's foreign currency trading account). The foreign currency option seller must have the funds in his or her account to cover the initial margin requirement. If the markets move in a favorable direction for the seller, the seller will not have to post any more funds for his foreign currency options other than the initial margin requirement. However, if the markets move in an unfavorable direction for the foreign currency options seller, the seller may have to post additional funds to his or her foreign currency trading account to keep the balance in the foreign currency trading account above the maintenance margin requirement.

Just like the buyer, the foreign currency option seller has the choice to either offset (buy back) the foreign currency option contract in the options market prior to expiration, or the seller can choose to hold the foreign currency option contract until expiration. If the foreign currency options seller holds the contract until expiration, one of two scenarios will occur: (1) the seller will take the opposite underlying foreign currency spot position if the buyer exercises the option or (2) the seller will simply let the foreign currency option expire worthless (keeping the entire premium) if the strike price is out-of-the-money.

Please note that "puts" and "calls" are separate foreign currency options contracts and are NOT the opposite side of the same transaction. For every put buyer there is a put seller, and for every call buyer there is a call seller. The foreign currency options buyer pays a premium to the foreign currency options seller in every option transaction.

Forex Call Option - A foreign exchange call option gives the foreign exchange options buyer the right, but not the obligation, to purchase a specific foreign exchange spot contract (the underlying) at a specific price (the strike price) on or before a specific date (the expiration date). The amount the foreign exchange option buyer pays to the foreign exchange option seller for the foreign exchange option contract rights is called the option "premium."

Please note that "puts" and "calls" are separate foreign exchange options contracts and are NOT the opposite side of the same transaction. For every foreign exchange put buyer there is a foreign exchange put seller, and for every foreign exchange call buyer there is a foreign exchange call seller. The foreign exchange options buyer pays a premium to the foreign exchange options seller in every option transaction.

The Forex Put Option - A foreign exchange put option gives the foreign exchange options buyer the right, but not the obligation, to sell a specific foreign exchange spot contract (the underlying) at a specific price (the strike price) on or before a specific date (the expiration date). The amount the foreign exchange option buyer pays to the foreign exchange option seller for the foreign exchange option contract rights is called the option "premium."

Please note that "puts" and "calls" are separate foreign exchange options contracts and are NOT the opposite side of the same transaction. For every foreign exchange put buyer there is a foreign exchange put seller, and for every foreign exchange call buyer there is a foreign exchange call seller. The foreign exchange options buyer pays a premium to the foreign exchange options seller in every option transaction.

Plain Vanilla Forex Options - Plain vanilla options generally refer to standard put and call option contracts traded through an exchange (however, in the case of forex option trading, plain vanilla options would refer to the standard, generic forex option contracts that are traded through an over-the-counter (OTC) forex options dealer or clearinghouse). In simplest terms, vanilla forex options would be defined as the buying or selling of a standard forex call option contract or a forex put option contract.

Exotic Forex Options - To understand what makes an exotic forex option "exotic," you must first understand what makes a forex option "non-vanilla." Plain vanilla forex options have a definitive expiration structure, payout structure and payout amount. Exotic forex option contracts may have a change in one or all of the above features of a vanilla forex option. It is important to note that exotic options, since they are often tailored to a specific's investor's needs by an exotic forex options broker, are generally not very liquid, if at all.

Intrinsic & Extrinsic Value - The price of an FX option is calculated into two separate parts, the intrinsic value and the extrinsic (time) value.

The intrinsic value of an FX option is defined as the difference between the strike price and the underlying FX spot contract rate (American Style Options) or the FX forward rate (European Style Options). The intrinsic value represents the actual value of the FX option if exercised. Please note that the intrinsic value must be zero (0) or above - if an FX option has no intrinsic value, then the FX option is simply referred to as having no (or zero) intrinsic value (the intrinsic value is never represented as a negative number). An FX option with no intrinsic value is considered "out-of-the-money," an FX option having intrinsic value is considered "in-the-money," and an FX option with a strike price at, or very close to, the underlying FX spot rate is considered "at-the-money."

The extrinsic value of an FX option is commonly referred to as the "time" value and is defined as the value of an FX option beyond the intrinsic value. A number of factors contribute to the calculation of the extrinsic value including, but not limited to, the volatility of the two spot currencies involved, the time left until expiration, the riskless interest rate of both currencies, the spot price of both currencies and the strike price of the FX option. It is important to note that the extrinsic value of FX options erodes as its expiration nears. An FX option with 60 days left to expiration will be worth more than the same FX option that has only 30 days left to expiration. Because there is more time for the underlying FX spot price to possibly move in a favorable direction, FX options sellers demand (and FX options buyers are willing to pay) a larger premium for the extra amount of time.

Volatility - Volatility is considered the most important factor when pricing forex options and it measures movements in the price of the underlying. High volatility increases the probability that the forex option could expire in-the-money and increases the risk to the forex option seller who, in turn, can demand a larger premium. An increase in volatility causes an increase in the price of both call and put options.

Delta - The delta of a forex option is defined as the change in price of a forex option relative to a change in the underlying forex spot rate. A change in a forex option's delta can be influenced by a change in the underlying forex spot rate, a change in volatility, a change in the riskless interest rate of the underlying spot currencies or simply by the passage of time (nearing of the expiration date).

The delta must always be calculated in a range of zero to one (0-1.0). Generally, the delta of a deep out-of-the-money forex option will be closer to zero, the delta of an at-the-money forex option will be near .5 (the probability of exercise is near 50%) and the delta of deep in-the-money forex options will be closer to 1.0. In simplest terms, the closer a forex option's strike price is relative to the underlying spot forex rate, the higher the delta because it is more sensitive to a change in the underlying rate.

John Nobile - Senior Account Executive
CFOS/FX - Online Forex Spot and Options Brokerage

Forex Mini Account

Forex market has many advantages over other foreign exchange markets and due to its very high profitability potential most of the people around the world are looking for entering into the world of Forex trading. But one of the main worries of the new forex trader is if he needs lots of money in order to get accessed to this Fx market and also start placing trades. It is not necessary that you need to be super-rich or the owner of a big corporation. You just need a few dollars and the right strategy to start profiting from Forex trading. Mini forex trading is an outstanding way for small investors to learn about and take part in forex trading and with the most forex brokers presenting a leverage of 100:1, mini forex trading will allow you to control a $10,000 currency position with a deposit of only $100. Mini forex trading is a great way to get a feel for forex trading and learn the tricks and skills desired to succeed without having to go to great expenditure.

One greater new for the starting of forex trader is that there is no maximum trade volume when you use a forex mini account. Although the standard trade size is 10,000 units, you are not limited to trading one lot. For instance, you can trade 10,000 units or even 200,000 units. You can gradually increase the size of your positions to maximize profits as you become more seasoned and build up your confidence. The ability to customize the size of the trade will allow you to have a better risk management of your money. Once you have entered the world of Forex trading you will be finding it immediately that this field is not just about entering trades into your brokers trading station, but for gaining profits.

The only way for reaching your goal of becoming a profitable currency trader is by finding the best sources to learn forex trading. You can start practicing with a paper trading account, which is highly recommended, and this will give you the feeling of what a real trading account is as you gain the knowledge and skills you need and without the constant fear of losing your money in a bad move you may make. Once you have been profitable with a paper trading account the next natural step would be to open a mini forex trading account, but with real money. But even considering you are risking real money this time, it would be just a few dollars on the table that will be at risk; and on the positive side, you will have the chance of gaining real money from your Forex trading skills, which at the end is the ultimate aim of all traders.

Tamil Selvi is a SEO copywriter for Can contact her at

Rules of Simple IRA Your Business Needs to Know

A Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees plan, better known as a SIMPLE plan, is an IRA-based retirement plan available to employers with fewer than 100 employees.

Under a SIMPLE IRA plan, an employee can contribute a portion of his pay to his SIMPLE IRA account. An employee can make a maximum contribution of $9,000, ($10,500 if age 50 and over), to his SIMPLE IRA account for 2004. You, the employer, are required to make a contribution for every worker who receives $5,000 or more in compensation.

You can match up to 3% of the salary for the employees who contribute to their SIMPLE IRA account. You only have to match for those employees who contribute to the plan. In any 2 years out of a 5 year period, after notification to the employees, you may elect a lower matching contribution percentage but not less than 1% of salary.

Your business also has the option to select a non-elective mandatory company match of 2% of annual salary for every employee. Under the non-elective contribution formula, even if an eligible employee doesnt contribute to his SIMPLE IRA, you must still contribute to his account 2% of his salary.

Advantages of the SIMPLE IRA

  • Less expensive than a 401(k)

Disadvantages of the SIMPLE IRA

  • A special tax penalty of 25% unique to the SIMPLE IRA for withdrawals made within the first two years of opening a SIMPLE plan. (Congress is considering eliminating this tax).

  • A SIMPLE IRA is much less flexible than a 401(k) plan.

  • Employer must make contributions for all eligible employees.

  • No contributions can be made to other qualified retirement plans.

  • All contributions are immediately vested, meaning all contributions belong right away to the employee.

  • A SIMPLE IRA plan can only be terminated prospectively, beginning no earlier than the next calendar year. Contributions must continue until the plan is terminated.

  • A SIMPLE IRA must be set up at least 60 days prior to year end. Thus, October 1, is the last day to set up a new SIMPLE IRA for the calendar year.

  • No loans allowed.

While the SIMPLE IRA make senses under certain circumstances, this plan comes with a lot of strings attached. If your business has no employees and you do not expect to hire employees in the near future, consider using a Solo 401(k) with a loan feature instead of a SIMPLE IRA. And, if you have more than 20 employees, look at setting up a regular 401(k) as an alternative.

To terminate a SIMPLE IRA plan, notify the financial institution that you chose to handle the SIMPLE IRA plan that you will not be making contributions for the next calendar year and that you want to terminate the contract or agreement with it. You must also notify your employees that the SIMPLE IRA plan will be discontinued.

About The Author

Daniel Lamaute, CEO of Lamaute Capital, Inc. ( specializes in setting up retirement plans. You may visit to access a free calculator that will help you estimate what your maximum contribution might be under different plans.

Property In Bulgaria What Is All That About?

Property in Bulgaria has caused so much activity amongst all involved in the overseas property industry that you can easily get dizzy from the amount of information and property available in the region. One thing is for sure Bulgaria as an emerging market that is set to change the former member of the Soviet Union forever

Bulgarian facts

Bulgaria officially the Republic of Bulgaria is a country in Southeastern Europe, It borders the Black Sea to the east, Greece and Turkey to the south, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Romania to the north, mostly along the Danube.

Modern Bulgaria

Bulgaria opened its doors to tourism and foreign investment the early 1990s. Bulgaria's 8 million inhabitants live in an area as large as England and enjoy an attractive mix of landscapes which have made Bulgaria such a popular holiday destination. Its sunny Black sea coast attracts holiday makers in the summer. Its Ski resorts in Bansko, Barovets and mount Vitosha make it an affordable place to ski in the winter. The quiet Bulgarian villages, historic buildings and cosmopolitan cities make it ideal place to visit all year round. Investors tip the Capital Sofia as a sound place to invcest in property abroad.

Property in Sofia Bulgaria

Sofia is getting richer and is definitely on its way up both business and tourism help make the city an attractive place to invest. Businesses are setting up in Sofia and evidence around the city is clear with impressive modern buildings, multi national company offices, BMW and Porsche dealerships to name but a few. Tourists visit the city all year round, helped by low cost airlines flying into Sofia Airport. The impressive architecture makes Sofia a good place to wander around; churches such as the Aleksander Nevski Memorial Church will always attract those looking for a relaxing city break. Property investors buying property in Sofia do not need to rely on seasonal tenants to fill their investment properties. The combination of local and foreign employees and visitors to Sofia make the city an attractive place to invest.

Buying property in Bulgaria the process

Buying property in Bulgaria means in most cases that overseas property buyers will need to set up a limited company. The exception to this is when a buyer purchases a leasehold property such as an apartment. In this case you do not own the land and therefore foreign buyers can buy Bulgarian property without the need to set up a Bulgarian registered company. Entry to the EU in 2007 will hopefully see these rules change

Nicholas Marr is a lifetime property investor and CEO of Marr International Ltd a UK based property marketing company that is responsible for one of the worlds leading overseas property web sites at More information re Property in Bulgaria is at