MetaStock vs. TradeStation

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
March 24, 2020

If you want to get serious about trading, you need to invest in a stock analysis software. Stock analysis software can help you learn how to identify and adapt to market trends, backtest strategies to view success rates and design comprehensive trade or investing plans.

While stock analysis software won’t turn you into an instant pro, it will help you incorporate science and logic into trading. As a result, you’re less likely to rely on emotions like hunches, guesses or fear to make trades, improving your odds of success.

MetaStock and TradeStation offer some of the most advanced stock analysis software and tools on the market. Understanding the services each company offers can help you invest in the right stock software for your needs, making you a better trader and increasing your chances of success.

Disclosure: * Only Entity (non-Institutional), IRAs, Individual or Joint equities and futures accounts with the correct promotional code entered and funded with New Assets (as defined below) greater than $499.99 are eligible for this cash offer. To qualify, you must enroll your existing or new account (the “Account”) either by entering the promotional code on your new account application or by requesting to enroll, via telephone, with a TradeStation Representative. You must fund the Account with New Assets within 45 calendar days of Account enrollment. New Assets is defined as cash or securities held at a financial institution other than TradeStation (assets transferred from an existing TradeStation account do not qualify). Your Account will not qualify for the cash offer if you withdraw or transfer assets from your Account, then redeposit them into the Account. New Assets will be aggregated during the 45-calendar day period following the enrollment date to determine the amount of your cash offer. TradeStation will calculate your eligibility to receive a cash offer by adding all New Assets deposited or transferred into the Account during the Promotional Period, reduced by any withdrawals or transfers from the Account during the 270-calendar day holding period following the last day upon which you funded your Account with New Assets during the Promotional Period (“Qualifying Assets”). Asset fluctuations (up or down) do not affect the calculation of Qualifying Assets. The cash offer will be determined based on Qualifying Assets in the Account as follows: Less than $500 – cash reward of $0; $500 – $24,999 – cash reward of $50; $25,000 – $99,999 – cash reward of $250; $100,000 – $199,999 – cash reward of $400; $200,000 – $499,999 – cash reward of $800; $1,000,000 – 1,999,999 – cash reward of $3,000; $2,000,000 or more– cash reward of $5,000. Your one-time cash reward will be deposited into the Account the month following the end of the 270-calendar day holding period. Customers who receive promotional offers from any TradeStation affiliate may be subject to IRS Form 1099-MISC reporting requirements should the total value of those items exceed $599 in a calendar year. Please consult a tax professional. This promotional offer does not apply to charges associated with overnight fees, regulatory fees or other account fees and charges, including margin interest, if any. Your account will be considered and approved or disapproved based on all relevant factors, including your financial situation and trading experience. Prices, fees, costs and terms are subject to change. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers. Only one offer per client on one qualifying account. Clients who received previous cash offers from TradeStation are ineligible. Additional restrictions apply. TradeStation reserves the right to terminate this offer or change the terms and conditions at any time.

Who is MetaStock for?

MetaStock is a charting software tool that aims to take the guesswork out of trading. MetaStock’s software analyzes stock markets at the sector, industry group and security level, providing traders with a systematic approach for trading securities such as stocks, options, commodities, forex and futures. Founded in 1982, MetaStock’s platform not only provides market analyses, but also allows private and professional traders to access dozens of stock exchanges across international markets.  

In short, MetaStock is an excellent tool for self-directed traders of all levels who want access to real-time news and high-quality technical analysis.  

Who is TradeStation for?

Founded in 1991, TradeStation historically catered solely to financial professionals like stockbrokers or money managers. In recent years, TradeStation began broadening its clientele to include private traders as well. TradeStation offers a free desktop platform filled with stock-trading tools such as customized trading strategies, backtesting and paper trading. Additionally, TradeStation reduced both minimum investments and trading costs to $0, making it more appealing and accessible to regular investors looking to seriously invest.

While TradeStation offers traders multiple platforms for trading securities, TradeStation does not trade forex. Check out this Benzinga article to learn more about forex trading and the popular forex trading platform

Put simply, TradeStation is best for active and advanced traders wanting to trade stocks, options, futures and cryptocurrency.

MetaStock Fees and Commissions

MetaStock’s most popular software platforms are MetaStock, MetaStock Pro and XENITH. In addition to purchasing software, you have the option to purchase additional subscriptions and add-ons, allowing you to customize your research and analyses.

Below are a few of MetaStock’s most popular software, subscriptions, add-ons and its fees. 

MetaStock D/C$499
MetaStock DataLink All-Regions Subscription$1,369/year
MetaStock Pro$1,395
MetaStock Pro Subscription$1,080/year
XENITH New York Stock Exchange Add-On$3.57/year

While MetaStock’s fees may look high at first glance, there also are no additional hidden fees such as per-trade fees. What you see is what you get. Additionally, your ability to customize your subscriptions and add-ons can give you a significant advantage as you trade across markets.

TradeStation Fees and Commissions

Unlike MetaStock, TradeStation’s software is free. However, TradeStation charges a $10 surcharge per trade along with per contract and per side fees. In Fall 2019, TradeStation introduced 2 new pricing plans: TS SELECT and TS GO. Both plans feature commission-free trades, but include per-contract fees that vary by asset class.

Below are some commonly traded assets and its fees under TradeStation’s new pricing plans. 

Stocks and ETFs$0 commission$0 commission 
Stock Options$0 commission+ $0.60 per contract$0 commission+ $0.50 per contract
Futures$0 commission+ $1.50 per contract, per side$0 commission+ $0.85 per contract, per side
Futures Options$0 commission+ $1.50 per contract, per side$0 commission+ $1.50 per contract, per side

While TradeStation’s promise of a free desktop platform and $0 commissions is quite appealing, the $2,000 minimum investment for TS SELECT and per contract or per side fees require substantial trades to offset those costs.

MetaStock Research Offerings

MetaStock’s software offers a host of tools called PowerTools. PowerTools provides professional analyses to private traders. You can either use PowerTool’s pre-built systems to determine patterns in the stock market or create your own system to find a specific pattern of your design.

Within PowerTools you’ll find:

ExplorerScans the market to filter and sort securitiesShows buy and sells signals based on your criteria
Systems TesterAllows you to backtest your strategies to see how it would have performed over time
Expert AdvisorGenerates buy or sell signals based on your system’s selected criteria
FORECASTERUses technology to help you see a clearer picture of the futureSets more precise stops and profit targets
XENITHA professional level system that provides real-time news, data and analysisDesigned to work with MetaStock Pro

MetaStock’s PowerTools allow you to analyze and rank thousands of securities, back-test multiple strategies, gain insights from industry experts and design your own criteria.

TradeStation Research Offerings

TradeStation’s desktop platform provides access to a range of research tools designed to enhance your trading expertise.

TradeStation’s Desktop ToolFunction
EasyLanguageDesign customized indicators and trading strategies using English-like statements.
RadarScreenContinuously monitor and rank up to 1,000 symbols in real-time based on more than 180 customizable technical and fundamental indicators.Create virtually unlimited amounts of your own custom criteria.
Strategy Back-TestingBack-test, optimize and fully automate trade ideas across any stock or future with decades of historical market data.
MatrixCombine a detailed market-depth window, a highly advanced order-entry tool and a precise order-tracking system into one view.
OptionStation ProAccess visual options chains that highlight your strategy’s probability to break even across a series of expirations.
Simulated Trading ModeDesign and test your trading plan, hone your trading skills and execute simulated demo trades with high-quality market data.

Though TradeStation has invested a lot into attracting private investors, its platform and features remain geared toward active, technical traders.

Disclosure: Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

MetaStock vs. TradeStation Bottom Line

Both MetaStock and TradeStation offer world-class stock analysis software and customizable tools that can help you become a more successful trader. So, how do you know which stock analysis software is better for you? It depends on what type of trader you are.

TradeStation’s software is high quality but fairly technical; MetaStock’s software is user-friendly and accessible for traders of all levels. Bottom line: If you are a serious trader with a proclivity for technical trades, then TradeStation may be the best bet for you. If that’s not your trading style, however, MetaStock may be a better fit for you.