Technical Trading - Part 1 - Tools

Due to the nature of my work, I haven’t been able to trade in the stock market much for the 5 years or so. I have been a long-term investor and hence I did not mind holding on to the stocks from long back.

Past month or two, I have started dabbling again in stocks - and this time, I decided to do a good measure of short-term and even speculative/intraday trading. I am happy to say that I am in good profitable territory so far :)

In UnCharted Waters

After a fair bit of prodding from a friend, I decided to base my intra-day activities on Technical Analysis. I am personally not fully convinced about the ‘logic’ behind many strategies relying solely on technical analysis. I believe that Technical Charts tell a tale - though belatedly.

Much of my technical analysis studies have been using freely available (online and offline) charting tools in conjunction with tools available with the broker trading apps. Unfortunately, none of the free (and very few of the commercial tools) support back-testing strategies. Hence, I started evaluating commercial options.

In this post, I will describe how to setup Amibroker, a popular (non-free) tool for charting and back-testing. It comes with it’s own Amibroker Function Language (AFL) for programming.

I plan to document my experience in a series of posts following this one. Where applicable, I will share some code snippets and files as well.

The Free Tools

For those who don’t want to be bothered with installing new software, you can try out the free tools listed here. Obviously, this list is by no means exhaustive.

Online Tools

  • Economic Times markets
  • MoneyControl - More than just charting, the site has good news, articles etc.
  • Techpaisa
    • The site has some good screeners as well as verbal summary of different indicators
  • Bigpaisa
    • Above link gives us the list of stocks that are probably overbought + crossing the Upper Bollinger Band
  • MarketCalls Excellent site in general. You will inevitably end here if decide to get into AFL programming


  • Technician / ChartIQ Free App, easy to use.
  • ChartIQ PTS Also from ChartIQ. This is a very cool app that allows us to practice our TA skills. Well worth the install.

Amibroker - Getting started

Amibroker has been around for quite a while. And it has a solid reputation amongst Technicians. It does cost quite a bit, especially since many of the features are available in the free tools provided by most brokerage firms. That said, speed and back-testing were two reasons I decided to try this one out.

You can follow along with some help from files I have uploaded to github

  • Download the trial version of the app from here. The trial version does not allow saving of any data, though settings seem to be preserved.
  • Getting your data Since I don’t want to spend money for data providers right away and I am interested in EOD data alone, I decided to configure Amibroker as follows:
    1. Create a New Database for our EOD data using File > New > Database
      • Choose a suitable new directory (create one) and ensure the settings are ‘local database’ and end-of-day data.
      • Get some data from NSE. As usual, I used my scripts to download the bhavcopy data from Since the file contains more than just the equities segment, I filtered out all the ‘non-EQ’ rows from the files. Keep all these files in a different temporary folder (NOTE: NOT the one you created from within Amibroker). I have uploaded a zip file with csv data in github.
      • Edit the import.types file found at “C:\Program Files\AmiBroker\Formats” Add a new line as follows:

    BhavCopy format (.csv)|.csv|BhavCopy.format

    • Copy the new BhavCopy.format file from here into “C:\Program Files\AmiBroker\Formats” folder
    • From within Amibroker, Choose File > Import ASCII and select and import all the csv files from Step-3 Import ASCII screen with the CSV files
    • After a few seconds, you will see have all the symbols loaded into Amibroker. You can search and load a specific ticker for charting using F3 Sample screen with default charts for Bajaj Auto
    • Since the trial version of Amibroker does not support saving of the database, you will need to redo the “Import ASCII” step everytime you launch the app.
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