ATR Stops calculates stop losses based on the Average True Range (ATR) of a stock. These are volatility-based stop losses. It will also compute and display daily True Range measurements. It doesn't require any advanced math on the part of the user. You only have to enter the stock's date and price data and the numbers 1, 2, or 3, to tell ATR Stops how to compute a stop loss. Stop losses can be computed relative to the high, low, or closing price.
Most recent day's high minus the most recent day's low
Absolute values are used because direction (+ or -) is not important. Wilder wanted only to calculate the distance between two points.
To calculate a 14-day Average True Range (ATR), for example, a person would make the above calculation for each of the most recent 14 days of price action and then average those computations.
Our ATR Stops calculator uses the same approach to data "smoothing" as that specified by Wilder's formula. Many if not most ATR calculators use a smoothing approach that was not recommended by Wilder. They may be quick and simple ways to average, but those procedures were not recommended by Wilder.
The Average True Range measures how much fluctuation or "noise" there is in a trending stock's behavior. If a person wants to place his stop loss outside this envelope of noise, then he will multiply the ATR by a factor greater than 1. For example, he may multiply the ATR by 1.5 and use the result to calculate his stop. This would help prevent getting stopped out prematurely and will also limit his risk in the trade. Some will prefer a stop that is a greater distance outside the noise envelope and multiply the ATR by a number greater than 1.5.
Note the layout of rows 4 and 5 for columns A through I. Cell D-4 is where a person can enter a "Multiplier." For example, if a person wants computations to be based on twice the Computed True Range, he or she would enter 2 in cell D-4. It is also possible to enter decimals. For example, if a person wants calculations to be based on 1.25 times the computed True Range, he or she would simply enter 1.25 in cell D-4.
ATR Stops incorporates tremendous flexibility in its design. For example, a person who is "long" a stock would enter the number "1" in cell D5, or he would enter a "2" if he is short the stock. If the user enters "2," then the program would add the ATR to the lowest high, low, or close reached by the stock since its purchase.
For example, if person wants to instruct the program to subtract the ATR from the highest high reached by the stock since its purchase, he can do so by entering the number "3" in cell B-5 (second column, fifth row). To subtract the ATR from the highest low reached by the stock since its purchase, he would enter "1" in B-5, and so on. ("1" means low, "2" means close, and "3" means high). Column "L" rows 10, 11, and 12 lists these options as a reminder to the user.
If the user does not want to see the red-letter alerts "Sell Alert!" and so on that appear in column H, he can enter the number "3" in cell D-5 to turn that function off. The stop losses will still be generated but the red notices will not appear.
Column I shows the stop loss setting. If a person is long, the stop loss will trail the stock up as the stock climbs. New stop loss settings will appear only if they are higher than the previous stop loss setting. This makes the output less confusing than if every computation were displayed. The latest stop loss showing will be the highest stop loss since the first date of data. The same thing is true for short positions, but in reverse. That is, if you are short a position, the result of the latest calculation will show only if it is lower than the lowest stop loss before that calculation. To clarify, if the stop loss has not risen for 5 days, the last stop loss showing will be the one computed 6 days ago. That way, you don't have to search through all the computed stop losses to find the highest one. It will be the last one showing. The old stop loss will still show, but the last one showing will always be the latest and highest (or latest and lowest if calculations are for a short position) .
Sometimes a person will want to see the actual True Range calculations. To do this, he would enter the number "1" in cell D-4 and the number "1" in cell F-5. The entry "1" tells the program to display the True Range. The number 1 is entered for the "Multiplier" so that the program will display the basic True Range. If you want to see 1.5 times the True Range, you would enter 1.5 in cell D-4. If you delete the entry in cell F-5, the data displayed in column "G" will vanish.
ATR Stops employs thousands of equations to make calculations whenever data is changed, and many of these are dependent on the output of other equations. All equations are recalculated even if a change modifies the output of only one equation. However, instead of making the user wait for calculations to finish every time data is entered or changed in a cell, ATR Stops will not recalculate until the user presses the f-9 key. Then, all calculations will be completed at the same time. To save time and to work more efficiently, we recommend that users make all entries and changes for all stocks before pressing the f-9 key. Some computers require the user to press the "fn" key while pressing the f-9 key.
Note: NEVER delete or enter anything in any of the cells in rows 1 through 6 unless the cells are goldenrod in color. Many cells that are not goldenrod in color have hidden formulas that would be damaged if they were deleted or if something is pasted over them and saved. The functionality of those cells would thereby be destroyed. In the white cells, you may enter or delete data only in the first five columns (columns for the Date, Open, High, Low, and Close). Any white cells to the right of the first five columns may have hidden formulas. Entering anything in those columns will probably damage the calculator. IF you make a mistake, press the "Ctrl" key and the "Z" key to reverse the last action or close the calculator without saving the changes and then re-open it. The image below shows the goldenrod-colored cells. The first of these is cell A-3, where the current date must be entered each day.
The above is an image of the top left portion of ATR Stops. ATR Stops will not function until you do four things.
2. Enter the Four "Operational Codes" provided by StockDisciplines.com. The codes are entered in Column L rows 3, 5, 6, and 7 (the cells in the image are labeled "Enter Code 1," "Enter Code 2," and so on). These codes access and control various funcions and computational modules within the program. The program will not operate without them. Each set of codes will work for about 3 months. Unless you cancel your license, you will continue to have access to new codes as the old codes expire.
3. Enable ATR Stops to import information from StockDisciplines.com. To do this, click on the "Options" tab to the right of " Security Warning Data connections have been disabled." and enable all items displayed. This "warning" may not appear if you clicked on "Enable automatic refresh" when the gray box appeared earlier that said "This workbook contains queries to external data that refresh automatically."
4. Press the f-9 key. Instead of numbers in columns G and I, you will see "#VALUE!" until you press the f-9 key. Wait until the "#VALUE!" alerts disappear or convert to numbers. If the "#VALUE!" alerts do not disappear or convert to numbers, press the "Ctrl" key, the "Alt" key, and the F5 key (all three together). Then, press the F9 key again.
The four "Operational Codes" are interdependent, so you could think of them as a single complex 60-digit code that controls various operations. Modifying a single digit in any of them can cause subtle changes for certain combinations of settings or shut the program down entirely. In other words, do not tamper with the codes we provide, because altering them in any way could make the program unreliable. That is, corruptions can occur in output that are not obvious (stop losses generated could be quite wrong relative to the volatility of the security being tracked). The codes we provide have dashes to make it easy for the user to keep his place while entering the numbers. When a person enters his codes, he must not enter the dashes, because they are not part of the codes. They are inserted by the program after the numbers have been entered. The dashes appear after entry to make it easier for a person to compare the code entered with the original when checking for accuracy.
So you can get a “feel” for how various settings affect the stop loss, we have provided a "Lab" where you can experiment to find the settings that best suit you and your investment strategy. We suggest that you spend a little time conducting experiments here before you use ATR Stops to track real positions. Your tolerance for risk and your preferred investment time-horizon will have a big impact on the settings you use. For example, if your goal is to capture most of a 1-month move, your stops will be much closer to the current stock price than if your goal is to capture most of a 6-month move. The potentially much greater returns of shorter-term investing come at the cost of greater trading activity. Longer-term investing will generally require less trading activity and allow more downside volatility (greater risk). The trade-off in using this more “relaxed” approach is the high liklihood of a significantly smaller return. We searched for stock charts to use in the "Lab" that have sufficient twists, turns, and trends to enable you to evaluate different combinations of settings. You can get to the lab quickly by clicking on "LAB" in the yellow box at the top. We have provided five charts in the lab and arranged them vertically. You can see more than 5 years of charted price action by scrolling down.
Testing for Compatibility
You must have Excel 2007 (or later) installed on your computer, and be able to open an Excel spreadsheet with macros in order to use ATR Stops. To test your system, click on the following link. It will enable you to download a file with a macro (ATR Stops has a few macros). If you can enter a number and cause the macro to work and the file to recalculate, then you should have no trouble using Stops on your system (unless you have a Linux or Apple system, and those may or may not work depending on configuration).
Ordering and The License Agreement
Read the License Agreement for details before ordering. To read the License Agreement, click on
Agreement. An order cannot be transmitted to us unless you acknowledge that you have read the License Agreement.
When you place an order, we will send you the address on our Website where you can download ATR Stops (and the password that will enable you to gain access). When you try to open ATR Stops, you will see a message indicating you need a Registration Key before you can open the program. Send the automated request to us, and we will send the Registration Key. You will also be given instructions on how to access the four Operational Codes necessary to make the program work. When we post the Operational Codes, they are good for about 3 months. When you get access, those codes may last a day or 3 months, depending on when you order. If they last only a few days, you may simply return to that page when the codes expire and get the new codes. If you cancel your license, your access to new codes will be terminated immediately, and there will be no refund for any unused portion of the month. However, the codes you have installed will enable you to continue using Stops until they expire. Therefore, if you get new codes and then cancel, you will be able to use Stops for about 3 months after your cancellation. If you have cancelled, and you decide you want to use Stops again, you cannot simply reactivate your previous account. Instead, you will have to place a new order. For more information, go to ATR Stops
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