FAQ   


Membership Questions:


1The software can be launched by an ...online.exe or ...offline.exe executables. Does it make a difference in user experience and execution speed?
It makes no difference, as the online one just installs a JRE once by downloading it.  The offline version has the same JRE built in.

2If I buy the Kindle version of the book, can I still get the four month free trial?
Absolutely! Simply send us the receipt and we will set up your account.

3Is short interest available with the $100/month membership?
There is not short interest available at all.  Sorry! 

4Will Equities Lab run in my corporate environment? If so, what does my firewall need to allow?
Equities Lab is a Java 1.8 program that does backtesting and stock analysis.  In order to run, Equities Lab needs to talk to www.equitieslab.com and/or server.equitieslab.com on port 443 (the standard SSL port).  It sends yaml back and forth, to do data communication.  www.equitieslab.com and server.equitieslab.com both share the same IP address, which is:  96.73.234.108.

Data Questions:

1What markets does Equities Lab cover?
 We cover all US Equities, and ADR’s traded on US exchanges, or on the US OTC markets.  We don’t have ETF’s right now, though that’s on our roadmap.

2Are backtest returns calculated with dividends reinvested?
Yes, dividends are included

3Does Equities Lab support another country's equity market if premium data is purchased from Quandl?
You could pull any given sequence from quandl,  but screening on  those securities wouldn’t work.

4What is your backtest methodology?
We use a Morningstar US Equity dataset that contains delisted and currently traded stocks, and their fundamentals.  The user uses a rebalance period (default is one quarter), and the simulation buys all the stocks that match equally weighted (unless configured to do otherwise).  Each day until the next rebalance period, the portfolio value is updated to reflect changes in price, stocks that no longer trade are delisted, and removed from the portfolio (if the stock looks like it went bust, via a configurable heuristic, it is assumed to have lost a further 99% of its value).  Values of the stocks are then increased by any dividends that have matched the ex-date (as if they were reinvested), and the next day starts.  This continues until the rebalance period, at which point the all non matching stocks are sold, and new ones are bought.  All weights are also set to be equal weight (or whatever the weight strategy is configured to be).  This continues until the end of the simulation, with all trades being logged so the user can see what was bought and sold, examine relevant variables, charts, etc.

5When lines are combined with and, which line is evaluated first, and does it reduces the evaluation of other lines to stocks found true to optimize performance?
The first item is evaluated first, and it is generally worthwhile to put fast terms first, as we TRY to do such optimizations.

6Where can I find Macro data?
Anything found in Quandl.com can be used.  Just copy the permalink into your clipboard, and paste it in, or just type in the whole permalink URL.

7Are there existing fields for Alpha and Beta?
We have both alphas and betas for a number of timer periods. Furthermore, you can change the benchmark, the risk free rate, the standard deviation calculation, etc. within those fields. To access, simply search for alpha or beta within the explorer


Errors:

1What does the Error 'Stock Server Error: Server Error: Exception: Cannot Compare split adjusted quantities to constants:' mean?
In short, you are comparing two two values that should not be compared. If you are comparing a split adjusted value, like close or EPS to a constant number you will get this error.

Software Usability:


1Is it always necessary to add the condition close > 0 ?
No, the Close > 0 is not needed.  That is now controlled via the implicit variable “universe”.  If unset, the variable is initialized to filter out stocks that are dead, or which have less than $500k daily volume, on average over the last quarter, unless the year is 1995, in which case it just looks for a daily volume over $500k (no averaging)

2Is is possible to create sub-folders in the explorer to organize the folder My Stock Screeners ?
 Yes!  Just add a word with a colon, like Category: and the screener/formula/whatever will be put in the Category: category.  If you create a form

3Is it possible to move lines (drag&drop...) or insert a line between 2 lines?
Dragging and dropping lines is easily done with the mouse, and you can also cut and paste them.  You can drag and drop between tabs, and cut multiple times, and paste them back in reverse order.

4Is there a simple instruction to limit the weight or stock number in an industry/sector?
 Try using a rank-across with sector as the second argument.  This will filter out stocks in each sector.  As for a limit maximum weight, I don’t have a simple way to do this yet. 

5Is there a way to export and import screens/formulas in text files (or xml-like)?

 Cut a term, and paste it into a notepad, and you’ll see it’s YAML representation.  If you copy that to the clipboard and paste into EL it will be turned back into a term.  There are rough edges there, but it does work. You can also export screens under the “publish” tab, as well as export results and positions tables for excel.

6S&P 500, S&P 1500, Russell 1K, Russell 2k. Is it possible to code this with parameters of classify as or in an other way?
no, we don’t license the exact constituents of the Russell and S&P universes.  We have workalikes, but they aren’t the same thing.  The only saving grace for this answer is that at least S&P and Russell claim to publish their methodology.

7How would I use Equities Lab to simulate a quantitative investment strategy?
The trading costs are in there — all you have to do is type Ctrl Shift F and type kini, and hit return to import the trading costs.  Or click on the tools menu, type kini, and drag and drop the term onto the new tab button. You could also read through a guide we wrote here – https://www.equitieslab.com/amelia-bedelia-mutual-fund/ 

8Can Piotroski score be used to beat the market?
Follow the below link to read an article around Piotroski.  https://www.equitieslab.com/use-monte-carlo-piotroski-score/ 

9Can we do factor analysis in Equities Lab?
 

Factor backtesting in Equities Lab is easy, and revealing.  Here we analyze the factor total assets / sales, chosen at random because it is late at night :-).
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We see that fewer assets are better:  the two best performing quintiles are the lowest ones.  If you like numbers better than pretty lines, there are a few below — detailing the performance of each quintile.  If you could scroll the scroll bar you could see the yearly performance, but since this is an email, that won’t work…

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We have other displays, to dig into the data more, and when you aren’t doing analysis of five backtests at once, you can see the positions taken by each one, so I suspect we can help you out.  We use Morningstar data, which goes back to 1995, and we are survivorship bias free, covering US equities.

10How do I measure the variable spread between 2 lines
 

Here we measure the ratio between PS and PE.  Since these two ratio are always going to be far apart, but moving in concert, a ratio of ratios seems the best way to go.  We compute price to sales below, because we can. 
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For instance, if we thought that 5% of the accounts receivable was unlikely to be collected, we could simply adjust for that.
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On to the ratio of ratios, we simply compute the ratio of PE / (our adjusted P/S)
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Putting this into practice:
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11How do I create a simple moving average of the fundamental ratio?
 

We’d use the average_within function to do that.  As you can probably guess, nesting and taking averages of formulas is easy.
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12Can I see whether the fundamental ratio has changed due to price, or do to the underlying variable?

If we wanted to see whether the ratio is changing due to the fundamental changing, or the price changing, you could just plot the fundamental directly:
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Here sad sales is just trailing twelve month revenue, adjusted by our very pessimistic assumption that 5% of accounts receivable are uncollectable.  We could even make a variable detect these changes, and spike up briefly whenever some change happens.  
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13Where can I find calculations for Alpha and Beta to use in my screener?
 

 I’ve created the formulas for Alpha and Beta for a variety of time periods.  You can find them in the tools menu, as well as via Ctrl Shift F.  I’d like to schedule a call to go over the last mile — bridging the gap between them being in my system, and them replacing your spreadsheets.  So, pick a time….
Obligatory screenshot of me backtesting two year alpha….
Inline image 1

 I’ve created the formulas for Alpha and Beta for a variety of time periods.  You can find them in the tools menu, as well as via Ctrl Shift F.  I’d like to schedule a call to go over the last mile — bridging the gap between them being in my system, and them replacing your spreadsheets.  So, pick a time….
Obligatory screenshot of me backtesting two year alpha….
Inline image 1


14How do you use a Watchlist?
To use a watchlist within Equities Lab, follow the following link to read our step-by-step blog post. https://www.equitieslab.com/how-to-use-a-watchlist/

15What is NumberOfPositions for?
It counts the total number of positions the screen took on throughout the life of the backtest.

16Does the software model transaction costs?
Absolutely, firstly, you are able to model them directly within the trading rules. This is a basic transaction cost on a percentage of the assets. Outside of that, you are able to create custom trading costs using a variable. Below is an example created by one of our University professors.


17How to uninstall when using JWrapper?
JWrapper has an application that can be downloaded. Through that application, you can simply select Equities Lab and uninstall the application from your computer.
https://jwrapper.com/

18How to uninstall using Java Webstart
To uninstall through this method open a command prompt on your computer and type “javaws – uninstall” Press enter, and it will uninstall the java webstart.