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My understanding, in that context, is that signal indicates that you want to hold a share (signal is 1) or hold no shares (signal is zero). Therefore taking the diff will tell you if you want to buy (signal zero to 1, diff is 1), sell (signal 1 to zero, diff is -1) or do nothing (signal stays at zero or stays at 1, diff is zero).


Note: Assuming you're a bit of a beginner trying to learn the ropes of how this whole process works at a high level, I can definitely make a couple recommendations (if I'm interpreting that wrong then I apologize if the explanation below isn't what you're after). If you're trying to learn some basic backtesting fundamentals, while QuantStart is an amazing ...

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