If you are looking for an online broker with excellent stock trading software, Ally Invest is a great option. They have an excellent platform that runs on all devices and amazing tools to find research for trading. New customers can earn up to $3,500 in cash bonuses and trades as low as $3.95.
Trading software, a set of computer programs that facilitate trading in financial instruments such as stocks and currencies, also helps improve stock-picking decisions through fundamental and technical analysis features. Some software also allows transaction processing.
Brokerages offer the trading software either for free or for discounted pricing. Sometimes it is offered as an incentive to elicit a certain quantity of trading volumes. Independent vendors also supply software to assist traders.
Quick look – the best stock trading software
For technical analysis, backtesting, and more
- What to look for in trading software components
- Things to consider before you create an account
- Best stock trading software for buying stocks
- 1. Ally Invest
- 2. E-Trade
- 3. TD Ameritrade
- Best stock trading software for technical analysis, backtesting, and more
- 1. TradingView
- 2. MetaStock
- 3. QuantShare
- Final thoughts
What to look for in trading software components
Historical and real-time data
Real-time data is data and information instantaneously provided or with a short delay from the time of dissemination of information. Although many websites promise free real-time quotes, they invariably might be delayed by up to 20 minutes. Real-time data is important for traders, as even a small variance between the quote and the actual price of the security may lead to trimming of profits or even a loss.
Historical quotes are also important, as the price of a security moves in identifiable patterns and trends which tend to repeat over time.
Analytical methods and strategies
In active trading, as opposed to the long-term buy-and-hold strategy, traders use several strategies, including day trading and swing trading. In day trading, the position is closed out within the same day.
Swing trading involves holding a security for one to several days in a bid to profit on the swings or price changes. Usually, swing traders use some set rules drawn up based on fundamental or technical analysis, or both. Trading software offers traders the power to control and manage open positions. Some of the order types are market order (buy/sell at current price) or pending order (where transaction goes through at a predetermined price). A pending order can be a buy limit, buy stop, sell limit or sell stop. A trader can also attach a stop loss or take profit order to a pending order.
Live and breaking news
The market is fickle and it moves on a host of developments, including economics, geopolitics, and corporate news. Since stocks are highly volatile, so profit-making requires traders to react instantaneously to market-moving news through a live news source.
Stock screeners are tools used by traders to filter stocks based on some user-defined criteria.
This allows testing of a given trading strategy using historical data, which serves as a method for verifying the effectiveness of the strategy. It is simulating the trading strategy over a specific period of time and then analyzing the results from the perspective of return and risk.
Things to consider before you create an account
Specific trading needs require you to answer a few questions about yourself. Are you a long- or short-term investing/day trader? A swing trader/quantitative trader or scalper using automated trading software? For the most part, some things remain consistent needs:
- Features that are easy to locate
- Functionalities that are sufficient for your trading needs
- Stability of the platform (ensuring that it works on your computer without crashing)
- Ease of use
- Good support from the software vendor
Best stock trading software for buying stocks
The best stock trading software doesn’t stop with in-depth research tools, analysis, screeners, and spreads. Traders also need the best performing online stock brokerages in order to make the best possible trades.
1. Ally Invest
Ally Invest consistently ranks as one of Benzinga’s favorite online stock brokers. The brokerage offers some of the lowest stock and ETF trading prices in the industry at $3.95 per trade with volume discounts available. Options trading is affordable as well and sits at around $0.50 per options contract.
The platform streams quotes, charts, market snapshots, and historical data online and across all of your devices with the Ally Invest mobile app. The brokerage also offers retirement accounts, managed funds, and an online banking service if you’re looking to consolidate your investments, checking, and savings into one spot. Plus, the customer service is no joke. There’s live 24/7 support and it’s not a sham. Every time I’ve contacted Ally, they’ve been quick to respond and answer any questions.
- Mobile traders
- Traders looking for research and data
- Investors looking for retirement planning guidance
E-Trade isn’t just a stock trading platform. It ranks among some of Benzinga’s favorite stock trading brokerages for a number of reasons, namely its access to real-time data, research, and analysis in its brokerage platform. After all, nothing is more powerful than historical and real-time data that empowers you to act on the best stock trades possible. E-Trade also offers an array of educational resources: webinars, blog posts, and news.
The brokerage isn’t the cheapest, but its commissions aren’t the steepest either. Stocks trade start at $6.95 with volume discount available, options start at $0.50 per contract, and the brokerage even offers hundreds of commission-free ETFs.
3. TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade is beloved by beginner and seasoned traders alike for one reason: it has absolutely everything you need to trade stocks with success. The brokerage offers traders real-time quotes, third-party research, Yahoo! Finance news streaming, social sentiment tracking, and planning tools on its web platform.
Outside of its web platform, thinkorswim packs a mighty punch. It gives traders access to advanced tools like market scans, thinkManual and tutorials to make sure you get the most out of the platform. You don’t even have to pay for another subscription service for thinkorswim model. And no, it’s not another freemium model masquerading as a free service, it’s absolutely free for account holders.
One might consider TD Ameritrade‘s stock trading costs as steep – a flat $6.95 per stock trade with zero volume discounts.
Best stock trading software for technical analysis, backtesting, and more
TradingView’s takes the cake in this category. Their charting package offers 100+ built-in technical indicators for market analysis, which covers most popular trading concepts and indicators. It also offers 5,000+ custom-built indicators. The programming language TradingView allows you to create and share custom studies and signals, as it facilitates modification of any study’s code and can create any custom indicator from scratch.
Apart from fundamental data on companies, TradingView also provides economic data, both domestically and globally, and also facilitate a comparison of economic data.
Socially, it also has a fully-integrated chat application, chat forums and a provision for sharing your analysis with others that work with a single click. The platform allows you to connect to millions of traders from all over the world.
Price-wise TradingView costs per year are $9.95, $19.95 or $39.95, depending on whether you purchase Pro, Pro Plus or Premium. But, you can join for free.
MetaStock is another great option, offering economic data, watchlists, and more. Its technical analysis tool offers 300 intraday indicators and built-in tools. Unfortunately, MetaStock doesn’t allow social elements.
MetaStock’s costs vary depending on the platform purchased. MetaStock D/C costs $499 for software and $299/year for Datalink for North/South American stocks and mutual funds. MetaStock Real-time costs $100 per month.
QuantShare tops the list in terms of its backtesting software, with a wide range of possibilities for designing and backtesting trading systems. Its Portfolio Backtester is touted to be one of the most advanced and fastest in the market. You can also access resources shared by QuantShare’s members and the platform offers great customer support.
You can try QuantShare for free, but it does come at a price – between $245-$595 for a lifetime license, depending on how you finance your subscription.
As with anything, ultimately, the choice boils down to a trader’s specific needs. Identify what’s most important to you and act on your priorities – whether it’s price, functionality, data or anything else. You want your software to work for you; you’ll be able to make the best possible trades, act swiftly, and, hopefully, make money.