If you scroll down you will see that there is a lot of stuff that will help you with your trading here. In addition, we’ll add more as the trading landscape changes and new resources become available. You can click on the logo to the left of the text to open a new tab featuring whatever is being discussed.
Think or Swim
This platform was purchased by TD Ameritrade a number of years ago and is one of the most sophisticated options trading platforms available today. You can also trade stocks and futures with them. If you are into options it is extremely worthwhile to open a small account with them so that you can use their option analyzing tools. In this area, they are well above all but the most expensive option tools out there.
Tradestation has been around for a long time and is well known in the industry. They offer some of the best charting software in the business. You can enter orders right from the software and they support many different order types. You can also trade futures and stocks from the same account.
These guys are geared toward the active semi-pro or professional trader. You can do all your trading from a single Lightspeed account whether you’re trading equities or options, trading to multiple destinations, or trading for multiple funds. Lightspeed is an introducing broker to Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing, and Wedbush Clearing and Execution.
An excellent broker if you know what you are doing. Their customer service used to have a bad reputation but seems to improved significantly in recent years. They offer very competitive pricing and do expect you to be quite knowledgeable. They are a good choice for experienced active traders. Their commission structure allows easy scaling in and out of positions and they have an extensive set of order type choices.
This broker tries to combine low commissions with good tools and customer service. They feature $4.95 stock trades and $0.65/contract option fees with a $4.95 ticket charge added on. They started out with the idea of fostering a trading community and claim focus on customer service by offering knowledgeable staff who answer the phone quickly as well as easy access to chat and quick responses to e-mails.
Fidelity has traditionally been more geared toward the investor than the active trader, but over the past five years or so they have also catered more to active traders. While not a direct access broker, their commissions are very competitive if you trade a large amount of shares at once. They also offer more robust customer service than most direct access brokers.
E*Trade is well known for it’s ubiquitous advertising. They have been around for a while and are probably a safe place to have your money. Their commission structure is not particularly good relative to some of the less expensive brokers mentioned here, but if you make over 30 trades a month they drop the cost down to $4.95 per ticket and an additional .50 per contract for options trades. They claim to cater to all types of traders and have a special platform they call eTrade Pro for active traders.
Tradezero is an offshore broker which allows small accounts to daytrade. There is no commission on limit orders that add liquidity. They clear with Vision Clearing. They offer 6 to 1 leverage. You can read the FAQ here. As with many brokers, you might want to use them for trade executions but use a separate charting package for your charts.
Tastyworks is a relatively new brokerage started by Tom Sosnoff who was instrumental in starting thinkorswim and sold it to TD Ameritrade. They offer a competitive commission structure which you can check out here. You can use a small cash account to daytrade options and start each day with your settled funds balance as your buying power for the day.
Robinhood is a mobile app that allows you to trade stocks, ETFs, options and crypto. A major feature is that the trades are “commission free”. It looks like they now do their own clearing. You can read about that here. There are some distinct disadvantages to trading off of a phone, but you can also use a full featured platform along with robinhood to help you analyze the market.
The TradeStation platform has been around for many years and originally started out as Omega Charts. For a long time they were way ahead of the competition and likely pushed the evolution of trading platforms forward. They have integrated trading into most aspects of their software, so you can easily trade from the platform which is a very good feature. If you are into backtesting and system building, they have a programming language called EasyLanguage® which allows you to build and test systems. They also provide you with an extensive historical database to facilitate backtesting.
MultiCharts is a charting and trading platform with a robust set of features. The platform allows backtesting and indicator creation with EasyLanguage. As with many of the better software packages you can do market replay which allows you to practice your trading risk free. It is a very customizable package so you have a lot of flexibility to set up your workspace in a way that suits your trading style.
The TC2000 platform has very good clean, sharp looking charting with many added features. The watch lists are also very configurable. Another favorable aspect of this package is that you can add trendlines, etc. and they will still be there the next time you go to the chart.
The following is from the TC2000 website: Scan and sort through 1000’s of stocks per second. Screen from hundreds of indicator & fundamental criteria customized with your parameters and time frames. Just follow the step-by-step wizard to build your custom conditions. No programming is required, but you can optionally write condition formulas to refine your results. TC2000 helps you find the charts you are looking for in real-time.
eSignal has been around for a long time. They are one of the more pricey packages. Their charting is quite clean looking and their data is pretty good. They used to be at the forefront of charting packages, but others have caught up to them in recent years. You can check out their promo video here
Amibroker has been around for almost thirty years. It is a charting and back-testing package that is extremely powerful and fast but not especially intuitive. It’s user base is fiercely loyal, but a large percentage of them are quite code savvy. For the average user, there will probably be a steep learning curve. All that would be well and good, except for the fact that the user manual is a bit much to decipher and the tech support is done mostly by e-mail and a yahoo message group of all things! Here is the user database. I would highly recommend this software if it had more user friendly support. The pricing is very reasonable.
Jerry Medved is a programmer who developed and founded “QuoteTracker” years ago and eventually sold it out to TD Ameritrade. QuoteTracker was an excellent charting program that was very reasonably priced and could be had at a discount through various brokers. When Jerry sold it out to TD Ameritrade, he apparently was not able to compete with them for a set amount of time. It appears as though the non-compete is expired because he recently came out with Medved Trader. In the spirit of QuoteTracker, Medved Trader is a full featured, reasonably priced, well put together trading software package. Here is a demo of Medved Trader done by Jerry himself. You can get it for free from some brokerages including TradeKing and Tradier brokerages.
NinjaTrader’s platform is a capable charting package with numerous valuable features. You can add indicators and trade off the charts if you like. It facilitates back-testing as well. Here is the platform purchase page. You can download and try out simulated trading for free in order to get to know the platform. It can be configured to work with a number of different brokers and comes free with a NinjaTrader account if you do a certain volume of trades per month.
These guys provide one of the best free scanners available on the net today. It’s so good, as a matter of fact, that you don’t really have to sign up for their paid service if you don’t want to. Although it seems as though they are geared toward the lower priced stocks when you look at the landing page, you can click on the screener section and set the parameters to your liking. It’s a great tool for getting quick background news and other info on stocks you are interested in. Simply click on the ticker and you’ll get a page with much of the pertinent fundamental information as well as recent news and a daily chart. For more info and intraday charts, you can subscribe for a very reasonable price.
This service is a sort of artificial intelligence trading helper. You get to program the scans according to criteria that fits your scan ideas. If you get stuck, this software has many pre-frabricated scans that you can mix and match. The scanning is very current and you will get as many alerts as you can handle provided you give it enough to look for.
Your Broker’s Stock Scanner
Don’t forget to check out your broker’s scanner. Many brokers license commercial scanning software either in whole or part. You might be surprised how close the results are to those of software you would pay a significant extra fee for. I highly recommend that you check this out first before spending extra money on a paid service.
MarketWatch is a subsidiary of Dow Jones and Company, the same company that owns the Wall Street Journal and Barrons. Although the news is not timely enough for active day trading, it offers a lot of useful news covering all sorts of things and can give you an overall look at what is happening in the Market. It has a lot of entertaining and fluff news as well.
As you already probably know, CNBC is a financial news network covering current events related to the world markets. It is up to you to decide how useful the information presented here is. There is no doubt that there is a lot of “hype” on this station, but they do cover breaking events that are important to daily trading activities. You can find the pertinent info faster with subscriber news services, but a lot of people enjoy watching CNBC for entertainment purposes as well.
Yahoo Finance Economic Calendar
The Yahoo Economic Calendar is a good place to get the run down on what important market related announcements are coming up. If you don’t have this info elsewhere, it’s worth checking out before the market opens. They don’t update the results fast enough for active day traders, but at least you can be aware of when important reports are coming out and adjust your trading accordingly.
Allstocks.com is a funky little website that features a lot of useful information for traders. The main page I use on this site is the world charts page which shows a time delayed read out of how the world markets are doing. It’s a quick way to get a snapshot of what occurred overnight around the globe.
Trading is (And it should be fun).
Yaba Daba Doo!
Rebate trading is an equity trading style that uses ECN rebates as a primary source of profit and revenue. Most ECNs charge commissions to customers who want to have their orders filled immediately at the best prices available, but the ECNs pay commissions to buyers or sellers who “add liquidity” by placing limit orders that create “market-making” in a security. Rebate traders seek to make money from these rebates and will usually maximize their returns by trading low priced, high volume stocks. This enables them to trade more shares and contribute more liquidity with a set amount of capital, while limiting the risk that they will not be able to exit a position in the stock.