Aroon Indicator / Oscillator AI / AO  Backtest Results and Implementation Issues
Discusses basic issues and results when attempting to backtest the AI and the AO indicators
Data: S&P500 Emini Futures
Futures Contract Rollover: Arbitrarily set on second Friday of every Mar, Jun, Sep and Dec
Period: 28 Dec 2008  31 Mar 2012 (Hourly Chart)
VBA Code: Method B of
Code
Excel Version: 2010
Note: When I wrote the post for the Aroon Indicator VBA code, I wrote it in the context as though the Aroon Indicator and Oscillator can only be used on a daily basis. This is not necessarily always the case. In this case, I used the Aroon Indicator on the same hourly data as with all other backtests.
Click
here for background information, formula, calculation steps and the entire VBA code.
There are multiple variations on how to apply an indicator. I seek your understanding that the work done below are experiments and are for information purposes only.
Summary of Results
While the Aroon Indicator has been described as a "trend" type indicator, I found that it behaves more as a price reversion indicator in the context of hourly data. Like the
adaptive price zone (APZ) indicator, commonly known applications of the Aroon Indicator turned out to be loss making, requiring an inversion of the trading rule. While the Aroon Indicator (and the final trading rules used) is profitable before transaction costs, the key challenge lies with tweaking it to be profitable AFTER costs. Average profit per trade is only 0.2 index points per trade.
Procedure in Brief
Pasted the code into Excel with changes made as per comments in code to direct application to ranges with input data (High, Low, Close columns). Screen Shot 1 shows the output (the last two columns).

Screen Shot 1 
Detailed Findings and Results
Period is set at 5  This means that the formula looks at only the last five hours of data in the calculation of current hour Aroon Indicator value.
Summary of Trading Rules 
1) If Aroon Up is larger than Aroon Down at the end of each hour, SHORT in the next hour
2) If Aroon Down is larger than Aroon Up at the end of each hour, LONG in the next hour.
3) Otherwise, carry forward previous hour's position.
This set of trading rules generated 869.5 index points of profit (before transaction costs) on a large set of 4,146 trades. Average return per trade is 0.210 points on a standard deviation of 6.328 points. The success rate of this strategy is very high. 63.9% of the trades were profitable (before transaction costs and slippage). The profit trajectory of this indicator and trading rules is shown in Chart 1.

Chart 1: Aroon Indicator Cumulative Profit (Before Costs) 
Conclusion
This set of trading rules and the indicator used generated a lot of trades. As a result, the standard error of the mean return is very small due to the formula used, which is standard deviation of returns of each trade divided by the number of trades. In turn, standard statistical distributions, such as the student tstatistic and normal zstatistic are significant when computed for this strategy.
However, I have my doubts over the significance of these statistics. Due to the long tail nature of financial data, standard distributions may not correctly present the distribution of the returns of this strategy. Maybe this statistical significance will disappear when the correct statistic is used.
Furthermore, I have repeatedly emphasized that the returns I calculated exclude commissions and slippage. I believe that this naive strategy on its own may not be profitable once I incorporate these costs.
The Aroon Oscillator measures the difference between the Aroon Up and Aroon Down indicator. As such, my trading rules are a form of the application of the Aroon Oscillator.
Further research, in my opinion, can be in the application of these naive trading rules to larger time frames, e.g. daily, halfdaily charts, which are more likely to generate less trades and lower trading costs. However, at larger time frames, the behaviour between price movements and the Aroon Indicator may change and may require the trading rules to be adjusted.
Any suggestions or comments are welcome.
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