Cesar Alvarez — Building quantitative trading systems to trade the stock market

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Smarter Trading Podcast Episode 11

Our guest today is Cesar Alvarez. From 2004 to 2013, Cesar was the Director of Trading Strategies at TradingMarkets.com and Connors Research. Cesar has developed strategies for private equity funds, authored multiple books on trading, and was a Software Engineer on the early versions of Microsoft Excel. He is well known in the quant community nowadays for his blog, Alvarez Quant Trading.

In this episode we talk about what it means to be a systems trader. Why Cesar willingly leaves money on the table in order to be fully systematic, and why it’s so important a traders personality matches their trading strategy.

We then get Cesar’s research process, how he finds ideas, develops systems, and then maintains and reviews those systems.

Please enjoy this episode with professional trader Cesar Alvarez.

This episode is sponsored by Investor’s Business Daily

I don’t need to tell you that the key to succeeding in the stock market is having a system and sticking to it. That’s where Investor’s Business Daily comes in. IBD has helped investors navigate every market cycle with their time-tested methodology for over 35 years.

Right now Smarter Trading podcast listeners can get their first 2 months of IBD Digital, a subscription service that gives you access to IBD’s proprietary market analysis and top trade ideas for only $20 by signing up at investors.com/evan.

Watch the interview in video here

Episode show notes and Cesar’s book recommendations

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Key learning points & timestamps

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 2:50 Cesar’s background and how he got started
  • 6:30 Director of research with Larry Connors
  • 9:18 Why Cesar moved on from discretionary trading
  • 12:50 Cesar’s current philosophy and way he approaches trading
  • 15:05 Why Cesar knows he’s leaving money on the table being fully systematic
  • 19:10 Research piece: how often does a 5% pullback turn into 10% or 20%
  • 25:20 Research piece: trend versus momentum trading strategies
  • 28:15 What is “good enough” for Cesar to use as a trading system
  • 32:05 Classifying trading systems: mean reversion, trend, momentum, rotational
  • 35:05 Matching personalities and trading systems
  • 37:20 Mean reversion strategies and stop losses
  • 39:45 strategy review and thinking about system optimization
  • 43:30 Seasonality as a factor and intraday trading strategies
  • 45:55 New quant traders and learning how to code

Highlight clip: How often does a 5% pullback turn into a 10% pullback?

Enjoy what you listened to? Share it below and be sure to tag @thetraderisk.

Evan Medeiros

Evan is the founder of the Trade Risk. With 25 years of coding experience and a B.S. in computer science, Evan brings a systematic discipline to investing in the stock market.

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