Stock trading software is a set of computer programs that facilitate trading in financial instruments such as stocks and currencies. But it can also help improve you 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.
Start with our guide to compare stock trading software programs and find a platform to work for you.
Best Stock Trading Software:
- Best for Retirement Savers: E*TRADE
- Best for Day Traders: TD Ameritrade
- Best for Active Investors: Webull
- Best for Technical Analysis: TradingView
- Best Charting Tools: TrendSpider
- Best for Alternative Data: Yewno|Edge
What to Look for in Trading Software
Not sure where to start? Take a look at our must-have criteria for the best stock trading software.
- 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 profit trimming 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 a 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 screener. Stock screeners are tools used by traders to filter stocks based on some user-defined criteria.
- Backtesting software. 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.
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:
- 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. Best for Retirement Savers: E*TRADE
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.
2. Best for Day Traders: 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, 3rd-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. You might consider TD Ameritrade‘s stock trading costs as steep — a flat $6.95 per stock trade with 0 volume discounts.
3. Best for Active Traders: Webull
Webull is a brokerage that is accessed through its mobile app. It features commission-free stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trading.
The broker is tailored towards intermediate and experienced self-directed investors and traders. It is most well-known for its commission-free structure which allows active traders to save a considerable amount on commissions compared to others.
Webull’s platform allows you to analyze recommendations, revenue and historical earnings per share data. You can also access key statistics, insider trades, stock information such as earnings, dividends and stock splits and news feeds.
It offers trading on more than 5,000 U.S. stocks and ETFs in the United States. However, Webull doesn’t support stock options, over-the-counter stocks, mutual funds, bonds or cryptocurrencies, which is somewhat limiting
4. Best for Technical Analysis: TradingView
TradingView’s takes the cake in this category. The 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.
5. Best Charting Tools: TrendSpider
TrendSpider is a new, innovative charting tool, with a wide range of possibilities for designing and testing market trend lines. Its automated trend line tool is touted to be one of the most advanced in the market, and pairs well with TrendSpider’s automated dynamic price alerts.
TrendSpider’s tool is built for both professional and beginner traders looking for top of the line charting tools. You can try TrendSpider’s tools with a free 7-day trial, but it does come in at a price, between $59 per month or $117 annually for all assets, and a discount for particular securities (i.e. crypto & forex or stocks & ETFs).
Yewno|Edge is the answer to information overload for financial professionals and individual investors alike. The AI-driven platform aggregates both fundamental and alternative data to give traders actionable insights. That means less time reading through hordes of data and news articles, and more time trading.
The platform allows users to evaluate a company’s exposure to abstract and ill-defined concepts like “data privacy” and “autonomous vehicles”. It also build portfolio strategies around such concepts. Users can also leverage the platform to set up alerts, as well as conduct enhanced company research that reflects data beyond what a company reports itself.
Find Your Stock Trading Software Now
Determine your trading priorities, and use our guide to compare stock trading software options. The market offers a platform to fit every need. Start with our top picks to find your stock trading software today.