University News

Ag Professor Creates Unique Futures and Stock Trading Program

October 31, 2007

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MACOMB, IL -- What started as a student-driven project almost two decades ago has resulted in a new market trading program perfected by a Western Illinois University agriculture professor.

Tom Drinka, who has been with the WIU agriculture department since 1982, created the The Profile Directional (TPD) Index™, based upon the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Market Profile®, which was jointly developed and disseminated by J. Peter Steidlmayer ( and the CBOT in the early 1980s.

"Since its development, Market Profile® has been used extensively by floor traders at futures exchanges located in Chicago," Drinka said. "By watching trading activity using the Profile Graphic®, you can easily see that they're using it."

According to Drinka, TPD Index™ is unlike any other technical indicator.

"The traditional Profile® -- which gives traders an idea of whether price will be higher or lower the next day -- gives traders a day-to-day view of how the market is reacting to buying and selling pressure," he explained. "TPD Index™ utilizes information from the traditional Profile® to provide traders with trading signals. There's nothing else on the market like this."

It all began in 1990, when one of Drinka's students approached him with a vision of using the Market Profile® theory to create a technical indicator. The student diligently worked on the indicator and, two years later, returned to Drinka with preliminary results.

"It was the neatest thing I'd ever seen. The next several years, we worked on refining the program; then in 1999, the student had had enough and walked away. In 2000, I took his preliminary results from 1992, and started from scratch in Microsoft® Office Excel using the basic premise," he said.

Drinka finished beta testing the TPD Index™ in 2003. After 13 years of "blood, sweat, and tears," it was completed.

"I began searching for a partner four years ago. A commercial entity was needed to program and market the Index. Finally in the spring of this year, I was e-mailed by a customer of MarketDelta® (; he had been visiting my website, and encouraged me to approach the CEO of MarketDelta®, a Profile®-based vendor of market information," Drinka added. "I e-mailed a white paper describing the concept to Trevor Harnett, and he jumped on it."

Utilizing Drinka's spreadsheet, Harnett had it programmed for MarketDelta's® customers, and began marketing the program in October. TPD Index™ is now for sale through MarketDelta®, which has exclusive rights, and will soon be available as a plug-in for TradeStation, according to Harnett.

"The TPD Index™ is a tool to help hedgers and speculators make money in the futures and stock markets," he said. "Simply, it marries Market Profile® to a database in such a way that traders can evaluate how the market is behaving during the trading session."

In addition to helping the trading world more accurately forecast futures and stock markets, Western students also have the opportunity to learn the Index first-hand, directly from the creator. Market Profile® has been a part of Drinka's curriculum since 1987, and his courses, which take place in a real-time trading room on the WIU campus, is the only academic curriculum globally that offers students training in, as well as real-time experience with, the CBOT Market Profile®. He began teaching the TPD Index™ this fall; in Spring 2008, students will have the opportunity to use the Index in the department's trading room.

"What distinguishes TPD Index™ even further is that the program also allows users to change the timeframe [that is, daily, 60-minute, 30-minute and so on], generate trading signals and examine a chart revealing the recent performance of the Index's buy/sell signals," Drinka pointed out. "Nothing else does this. It's a big deal. And without the support of Mr. Steidlmayer, the CBOT and CQG which vends Market Profile®, none of this would have been possible."

For more information on TPD Index, visit Drinka may be reached at

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing