A Review of Metastock Format 8:
Is Upgrading Worth the Money?

By David Jenyns

If you are like many other traders, you have been eagerly waiting for the release of Metastock Format 8 for one reason, and one reason only. The reportedly redeveloped system tester. Metastock Format's one major flaw has always been its lack of back testing capabilities, though previous versions of Metastock Format are head and shoulders above the competition on other fronts.

But whatever criteria you use to trade with, be it moving averages, candle sticks, fibonacci retracements ,or any other trading system, you're going to need to back test it. Everyone needs to thoroughly back test, or simulate, their trading system in ways that can match the conditions you will be trading in. It's something all serious traders do.

Consequently, when Equis International (the makers of Metastock Format) announced “an all-new type of exploration that emulates running system tests over an entire database of securities”, I could hardly wait Metastock Format 8.0's release.

While waiting to receiving my copy of Metastock Format 8.0 I began building trading systems. By the time my copy of Metastock Format 8.0 finally arrived I had about having around 20 systems ready for testing, and couldn't wait to try them out.

However, when I loaded up the software, I was in for a surprise. It looked like nothing had changed. I thought maybe Equis International had kept the same interface and added in greater flexibility and some more features, but after searching in every nook and cranny, I found next to nothing that was new. It looked the same and, except for a couple of small changes, it was the same!

Then I came to the System tester – now called the “Enhanced System Tester”. Here was the major reason for upgrading from version 7.22, and what appeared to be only real difference between Metastock Format 7.22 and Metastock Format 8.0.

After fiddling around with the Enhanced System Tester for a few hours, and testing my 20 systems, I reached the verdict that I had wasted my money . Despite the supposed improvements to the Enhanced System Tester it, like its predecessor, left a lot to be desired.

Even though the Metastock Format 8.0 Enhanced System Tester tests multiple securities in one batch, it treats each security independently of the others. Therefore, when Metastock Format tests the first security, it uses your predefined float and takes the trade over the test period selected. Once that is completed, it repeats the same process for the second security, using the same initial float, with no reference to the first security.

In the end, you receive the same result that you would have if you simply tested each security individually and added the results together. Not only is this process dreadfully slow, but the entire reason for testing your system is side-stepped. When your finished all the explorations, the performance of your trading system is still unknown!

The moral of the story is that if you already own Metastock Format 7, don't worry about upgrading. Simply stick with the version you have and keep your fingers crossed that Equis International gets it right for Metastock Format 9.0.


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