There are those who say a day trader is only as good as his charting software. While that's debatable, it's certainly true that a key part of a trader's job — like a radiologist's — involves interpreting data on a screen; in fact, day trading as we know it today wouldn't exist without market software and electronic trading platforms. A lot of software applications are available from brokerage firms and independent vendors claiming varied functions to assist traders.
Most brokerages offer trading software , armed with a variety of trade, research, stock screening and analysis functions, to individual clients when they open a brokerage account.
In fact, the bundled software applications — which also boast bells-and-whistles like in-built technical indicators , fundamental analysis numbers, integrated applications for trade automations, news, and alert features — often act as part of the firm's sales pitch in getting you to sign up. Much of the software is complimentary; some of it may cost extra, as part of a premium package; a lot of it, invariably, claims that it contains "the best stock charts" or "the best free trading platform.
There is no single best stock chart, or best stock screener software. There are too many markets, trading strategies and personal preferences for that. But we can examine some of the most widely-used trading software out there and compare their features. Whether their utility justifies their price points is your call. If you are interested exclusively in U. It does not, however, offer automated trading tools, and asset classes are limited to stocks, funds, and ETFs.
It has global coverage across multiple asset classes including stocks, funds, bonds, derivatives, and forex. Available technical indicators appear to be limited in number and come with backtesting and alert features. It's especially geared to futures and forex traders.
However, it offers limited technical indicators and no backtesting or automated trading. And it even offers free trading platforms — during the two-week trial period, that is. Its asset class coverage spans across equities, forex, options, futures, and funds at the global level.
With trading platforms and analytics software that cover different geographic regions for the U. Its program offers comprehensive coverage for common technical indicators across major stocks and funds all around the world. You can often test-drive for nothing: Many market software companies offer no-cost trial periods, sometimes for as long as five weeks. Novice traders who are entering the trading world can select software applications that have a good reputation with required basic functionality at a nominal cost — perhaps a monthly subscription instead of outright purchase — while experienced traders can explore individual products selectively to meet their more specific criteria.
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