Managed Series – Part 1 Point and Figure

Most trading platforms can draw multiple charting styles – bar chart, candlestick, line, square, etc. For the more advanced ones, you can even plot point and figure charts, renko, kagi, momentum bars, volume bars, etc. Of course, NeoTicker can do all these charting styles, with the ability to varies the underlying data series through our superposition technology. The problem is, such charting styles can involves the use of retraction that retracts the bars that are already drawn, due to the fact that the latest price update is not the actual last price print for the underlying data series. For a visual trader, that is not a problem at all, because they already understand that retraction can happen and it is expected. For a system trader, however, that affects the fundamental operation of a trading system because the data series retract. Managed Series is our solution to this issue.

What is Managed Series?

Managed Series are custom series created within an indicator instance. These custom series that you have created can be referenced as if they are normal data series, and you can even apply indicators onto them. Unlike the custom series created through the SetSeries method, the managed series have their own time frame, and complete open, high, low, close, and volume information. That enables the indicator designers to embed customized series within their indicators easily and utilize the information anyway they have ever wanted.

There are two methods in the ItSelf indicator object that you can use to create and update a managed series.

SetManagedSeries is responsible for updating the series, while ManagedSeries is useful for gaining access to a managed series. Details of these 2 methods are available in the Help file Object Reference.

Programming Managed Series

Programming managed series is like updating a virtual data series. Every time SetManagedSeries is called, it can either update the last bar in the series, or, adding a new bar to the series. The first price you set for a new bar is the open price for that particular bar. Subsequent updates will modify the high and low prices of the bar accordingly. The last update to a bar is also the close price of the bar.

You can call SetManagedSeries as many times as you want within each call by NeoTicker in updating your indicator.

Applying indicators onto a managed series is similar to applying indicators onto compressed series. There is no special requirement at all. Just remember that the time frame you have assigned to the managed series will give it the ability to be compatible with other series having the same time frame.

Our First Example – Point and Figure Managed Series

I have written an indicator example that demonstrate the use of managed series. This indicator is called Point n Figure Managed Series. What it does is showing the content of the virtual point and figure series stored inside the indicator.

Here is a chart with a 1-minute emini S&P series on a regular time chart, a point and figure series based on the same data using 3 x 0.5, and the Point n Figure Managed Series indicator.

20060529 chart1

Notice the managed series is displayed after a new point and figure bar is created, thus the display is delayed by one or more bars. In real-time usage, however, the managed series contains exactly what the point and figure series should have, without the uncertain updates coming from the last bar of the underlying data series.

Advantage of Using Managed Series

If we write a trading system based on a point and figure data series, we will have to tackle the issue of retraction. Due to the need of updating the point and figure series in real-time tick by tick, the point and figure series has to make the assumption that the tick just arrived is the last tick for the current data bar. Unluckily, that is not true most of the time. Thus, when the next tick arrived and that does not warrant the creation of, or, extension to the current point and figure series, then NeoTicker has to retract the modifications to the series since the previous tick arrival. This is called retraction.

Trading systems in general do not like history that it depends on being modified. Thus retraction is one of its worst enemies.

Now, by using managed series, you get the best of both worlds by having access to the latest data, while the correct and updated point and figure series is available on hand. Thus you can safely issue system orders without worrying about the retraction issue any more.

Another advantage of managed series is the ability to let a single indicator hosting multiple managed series at the same time. That gives the trading system designer the flexibility of combining multiple customized series for trading signal generation. For example, the managed series can be 34-tick bars and 55-tick bars which cannot be combined easily onto a single chart using other methods.

There is one disadvantage in using managed series. That is, you cannot see what happen to the managed series visually, making it harder to work with.

Integrating Update By Tick with Managed Series

The indicator I have presented here is designed to work with Update on Bar Completion only. Usually that is the preferred method for point and figure series construction because you can easily adapt the indicator onto any other time frames for backtesting.

On the other hand, there are times that you may want to have a more consistent way to construct the managed series. For example, you may want to have a tick based point and figure series instead of one that is based on the primary data series. In that case, you need to take into account the effects of Update by Tick so that the managed series can be updated correctly. Such indicators will require the use of Tick Replay to properly construct its historical data.

If an indicator with managed series is designed with update by tick in mind, it will function properly no matter what time frame the primary data series is. That can save a lot of memory if you like to backtest will tick data.


Using managed series is probably the best solution for trading systems that are designed to work with superposition data series if the issue of retraction is a main concern.

If you are interested in programming point and figure trading system, then simply modify the indicator I have provided. It makes coding systems based on point and figure much more accountable due to the fact that you can manage positions directly with the underlying data series.

I will post more examples in using managed series in the future.

Complete Indicator

Point n Figure Managed Series.

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