Chip Anderson

Calling All Testers! Our New HTML5 Version of PerfCharts Need You!

Today marks another historic step in the continuing growth of StockCharts.com.  We are happy to announce the start of Beta testing for our first HTML5 charting tool - Interactive PerfCharts!  Check it out:

Screen Shot 2013-02-14 at 1.26.11 PM

So, I can hear what you are thinking right now.  You are thinking:

       "Umm...  Chip, you've had that exact same tool on your site for over a decade.  What's going on?"

Yes, that's true.  This new version is intentionally identical to our older version with one important exception - No Java Required!

As you may know, Java has become more and more difficult to use and keep up to date.  That trend only seems to be accelerating.  In addition, Java has always caused problems for people inside secure firewalls, etc.

This version of PerfCharts is based on new technology that is build directly into all modern web browsers - HTML5.  You should notice that it loads much faster and that no security warnings appear.  

(As a hidden side benefit, you might also notice that this version can be printed directly(!) - the Java version cannot.)

Anyway, we've tested it on a ton of different browser/OS configurations, but of course we cannot test them all so that's where you come in.  Click on this link, kick the tires, see if everything works just like you expect and then let me know what you think.

By the way, new technology like this requires newer web browsers.  The HTML5 version of PerfCharts works great with IE9, Firefox, Chrome and Safari as long as you have the latest updates.  This new version will not work with IE7 or IE8.  If you are using those outdated browsers, we'll send you over to the old Java version of PerfCharts instead.  (Yes, this is a hint that you need to upgrade to IE9 now.)

(Note to iPad/iPhone users: We are still adding touch support for the slider at the bottom.  It should be ready in about a week.)

We're going to run this Beta test for the next week or so and barring any unforeseen disasters, we'll roll it out to the entire website in 2 weeks.  So please try it out and send me your feedback using the support form on this page.

Thanks for your help!
- Chip

ChartCon Takes a Break in 2013. Will be back in 2014!

We have reluctantly decided to take a year off from ChartCon.  The logistics and effort involved in holding a conference for 400 people is significant for a small company like ours and, ultimately, we decided that we didn't want to hold a conference just for the sake of holding a conference.  We want to make sure that ChartCon is always special and very valuable for all attendees.  By taking a year off, we will be able to ensure that ChartCon 2014 will be even bigger and better.

Please note that we will be holding at least six SCU Seminars throughout the country in 2013 in cities like Orlando, Long Beach, New York, Seattle, and Dallas.  If you like the "training" aspect of ChartCon and you can't wait until 2014, consider attending one of these smaller (50-70 people) seminars instead.

See you in 2014!
 - Chip 

New Method for Creating, Using and Organizing ChartStyles and StyleButtons

We've just released a new, OPTIONAL, method for creating, using and organizing ChartStyles and StyleButtons.  As a quick reminder, ChartStyles are essentially templates for new charts.  StyleButtons are little grey squares that appear to the left of each chart and let you quickly switch the current chart to a different ChartStyle.

StockCharts Members should now see an additional arrow icon located just to the left of the top of each SharpChart.  Clicking on that arrow causes a panel to slide out from the left side of the workbench.  That panel looks similar to this:

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 5.50.08 PM

(If you click on the little (i) icon, you can see that help information.)

First off, notice that each of your ChartStyles is listed and includes a small preview of the style to help you remember what it is.

Second, notice that you can click and drag on the "horizontal lines" icon to re-order the ChartStyles on that panel.

Third, notice that all of the ChartStyles that you drag above the "buttons" line are instantly assigned to a StyleButton.  To unassign a style, just drag it back down below the "buttons" line.

Finally, you can click the "Edit" button to rename or delete an existing ChartStyle.

In addition to the arrow icon, there is now a "+" icon below the last StyleButton.  That "+" icon lets you create a new ChartStyle very easily.

Again, all of this is OPTIONAL.  If you are comfortable using the old links for ChartStyles and StyleButtons, you can still use them just like before.  But please "kick the tires" with the new method and let us know what you think.  Hopefully, this new technique will grow on people over time and make ChartStyles and StyleButtons even more useful!

- Chip

Scan Engine and SCTRs Quickly Find Last Year's Stock Market All-Stars

Here's all you need to know in order to find all-star stocks:

[min(200, SCTR.sp5) > 50]

That Advanced Scan will return all stocks in the S&P 500 that have had a StockCharts Technical Rank (SCTR) of that has been higher than 50 for the past 200 trading days.

Again, our SCTR ("scooter") rankings quickly show you how technically strong a stock is compared to the other stocks in its group (in this case, the S&P 500 stocks).  SCTR rankings go from zero to 99.9.  For a stock to have a SCTR ranking above 50 for 200 days or more is very impressive.

Right now, here are the results of that scan:
SCTRAllStars

(Extra and PRO members can change the 50 to a 75 in that advanced scan and then re-run it to see which one of those stocks has had the best SCTR ranking of all.)

You can also add the historical history of a stock's SCTR ranking to a chart using the "SCTR Line" indicator, like this:

Sc

Combining SCTRs with our Advanced Scans is one of the most powerful things you can do here at StockCharts.com.  Spend some time using that combination and see how easy it is to find your own investing all-stars.

- Chip

 

PctDiff Function Added to Advanced Scan Workbench

Today we're adding a new function to the Advanced Scan Engine called PctDiff. PctDiff will return the percentage difference between two values. PctDiff can be found in the Technical Indicators list on the Advanced Scan Workbench.

 

For example, PctDiff(close, SMA(50,close)) will return the percentage difference between the current closing price and the 50-day simple moving average of the close. Here is what a simple scan might look like:

 

 [type = stock]

and [pctdiff(close,sma(50,close)) < 5]     

Since PctDiff returns the difference between two values, it does not accept time modifiers.  Saying '2 weeks ago' PctDiff doesn't mean anything and thus the Scan Engine ignores any time modifiers.

 

 - Chip

 

 

A Solution for Kaspersky Users with Scrambled/Slow Charts

Apparently, the good folks at Kaspersky - the Windows Anti-Virus company - hate us.  We don't know why.  We don't know what we did to bring on their wrath.  But Kaspersky's Anti-Virus and Internet Security programs have given us - and more precisely many of our users - nothing but trouble for weeks now.  Around that time, we started get reports from people who were seeing something like this on their screens:

Kaspersky1

Whoa!  Who hijacked our charts and turned them into monsters?!

After lots of digging it turned out to be, you guessed it, Kaspersky.  Specifically, their "Web Anti-Virus" feature.  I'll get back to that in a moment, but first I need to clarify an important point.

Several people wrote in to us saying something like "I haven't made any changes to Kaspersky so it must be you guys.  What did you change?"  Security software - all security software not just Kaspersky's - is very complex software that is intricately connected to the "guts" of the computer it runs on.  In the case of Kaspersky, they have to hook into both Windows and your web browser in order to work properly.  The downside of that approach is that they have to update their software frequently to stay on top of everything - the latest threats, the latest changes to Windows and the latest changes to the various web browsers.  Because of that, security software is constantly changing - often without you noticing.  If weird things start happening on your computer "out of the blue", there's a good chance that your security software is the culprit.

The bottom line answer is "No, we didn't change anything - Kaspersky did."  I'm sure they had a good reason and I'm sure they didn't intend to scramble our charts, but that's what happened.  And, it will probably happen again at some point unless you take the following steps.

If you are a Kaspersky user and you are seeing scrambled charts or your charts are loading very slowly, please follow these steps:

1.) Click on the Kaspersky icon to bring up the Kaspersky window.

2.) Click on the "Settings" button on the right size of the window.

3.) Click on the "Web Anti-Virus" entry in the list on the left side of the Settings window.  You should now see something similar to this:

Kaspersky2

4.) Click on the "Settings..." button in the middle of that window.

5.) Click on the "Trusted URLs" tab at the top of the "Web Anti-Virus" window that appears.  You should see something like this:

Kaspersky4

6.) Make sure the "Do not scan web traffic from trusted URLs" is checked.

7.) Click on the "Add" button.

8.) Enter "stockcharts.com" in the "Address mask" box that appears:

Kaspersky5

9.) Click "OK"

10.) Make sure the checkbox beside "stockcharts.com" is checked (like in the picture below) and then click "OK" to close the "Web Anti-Virus" window.

Kaspersky6

11.) Finally click the "Apply" button on the Settings  window to complete the process.

These steps prevent Kaspersky's "Web Anti-Virus" feature from interfering with our website and should eliminate the scrambled/slow charts problems that Kaspersky users have been reporting.

- Chip

Sandy the Trouble Maker

While we, StockCharts.com, are located near Seattle, we are still very concerned about Sandy and what could happen in the northeast part of the US on Monday and Tuesday.

Sandy

First off, we are concerned about all of our friends and users that live in the path of this thing.

In addition, we are starting to get precautionary emails from the data providers and stock exchanges in the NY/NJ area saying that they may have to make "accomodations" for the storm.  While no one is sure what exactly will happen, I wanted to let everyone know that if the storm impacts Wall Street, it will impact us and thus impact you - even though we are out here on the West coast.

Again, here's to hoping that these forecasts are way off and that this thing peters out without causing any problems.

- Chip

Price Increase Coming on November 1st for ExtraRT Members

Our ExtraRT service provides members with realtime data from the NYSE, Nasdaq and TSX exchanges as well as realtime index data from vendors like Dow Jones, Russell, Standard & Poors and others.  Ever since we launched our ExtraRT service back in 2004, we have charged $9.95 per month more than our regular Extra service for that "official" realtime data.  That $9.95 went into paying for the so called "exchange fees" and other fees that our data vendors charge us whenever we add a new realtime subscriber to our service.

In reality, $9.95 has not covered the full cost of the "official" realtime data we provide to ExtraRT members for several years now.  Starting around 2006, data providers - especially index publishers - realized that they could start charging for various kinds of data that was previously free.  Over time, all of the major index providers (and some of the minor ones) started charging us for their realtime data.  Until now, we've been able to absorb those costs.  Unfortunately, with a new batch of price increases coming from several vendors on November 1st, we are no longer able to continue pretending that "official" realtime data costs the same as it used to.

Accordingly, on November 1st, we are going to increase the price delta between our Extra service and our ExtraRT service by $3 per month, raising the cost of "official" realtime data from $9.95 to $12.95 per month.  That will change the monthly price of ExtraRT from $34.90 to $37.90.

I want to emphasize that this change only affects our ExtraRT service.  All of our other services - including our new PRO service - will not be affected by this change.

Now, there are several things that existing ExtraRT members can do to reduce the impact of this price increase.  If you are an ExtraRT member, please consider the following options:

  • Note that this price increase will not affect you until your current subscription runs out.  The price increase only applies to future renewal orders.
  • Also note that this price increase does not go into effect until November 1st.  If you extend your account before that date, you will lock in our current, lower rate.  You can extend your account for up to 2 years by clicking here and then clicking the "Extend" button for ExtraRT.
  • You should review this article to see if our regular Extra service might work better for you.  Our Extra service is identical to our ExtraRT service except that it gets free realtime data from the BATS exchange (US stocks only).
  • You might consider upgrading to our PRO service since the price difference between ExtraRT and PRO just became less.  The PRO service includes the same "official" realtime data as ExtraRT as well as many more additional features unique to PRO.  Click here to see a complete list of PRO's features.

We're never happy about raising prices.  We've only done it once before.  But the reality is that we cannot "turn down" a price increase from a data supplier and, unfortunately, increasing data prices is probably something we will have to deal with again.  That said, we promise to continue working on ways to either keep our prices low or to increase the value of our website to match the prices that we charge.  That's what we've done for 13+ years now and I don't see that stopping anytime soon.

- Chip

Scan Validation, Thicker OHLC Bars, and New Step-by-Step Articles

We've been busy working on a bunch of things during the past couple of weeks.  Today we released several of the smaller items.  (We're saving the really big one for next weekend!)  The updates include:

  • A new button on the scan results that shows you a chart based on your scan's indicators
  • Thicker OHLC and HLC bar charts
  • A whole seriers of Step-by-Step blog articles that will appear over the course of this weekend

Extra and PRO users will now see that a red icon has been added to their scan results in addition to the three icons they were familiar with.  This is actually the return of an old feature we had to remove several years ago.  Clicking on that red icon will show you a chart that contains "all" (well.. "many") of the indicators that you used in your scan.  This will allow you to easily validate that the chart meets your scan's requirements without having to change your default settings or apply a bunch of ChartStyles.

(OK, confession time - there are limits to the kind of indicators we can automatically pull out of Advanced scans.  We may not get them all for complex clauses, but we will be close.)

Here's an example of what the "Thick OHLC Bars" look like (using the new "Spruce" color scheme by the way):

Swn
Click Here for a live version.

Finally, check out our "Step-by-Step" blog for lots of new articles about common tasks that every StockCharts member needs to know about.  Topics include creating Inverted Charts, Printing, Sharing Charts with others, Fixing Login problems, and much more.  We'll be posting new articles throughout the weekend, so check back often.

- Chip