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If you want to know where money is flowing in the stock market, you must become a master of volatility. Informed investors can use volatility to make money whether a stock goes up or down, and sophisticated investors always understand how volatility affects a portfolio.
Get started with our list of the best volatile stocks.
Overview: Volatile Stocks
The coronavirus pandemic created a level of unprecedented volatility in the stock market. At the beginning of the pandemic, stock market circuit breakers were triggered 4 times between March 9 and March 18, 2020. Circuit breakers halt all trading if an index falls by 7%. The last time they were triggered at all was in 1997.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average also suffered a single day record 1,031-point loss on February 25 — a record it broke the very next day with a 1,100 point loss. Unlucky stocks such as Exxon (NYSE: XOM) also triggered individual circuit breakers for themselves with huge selloffs.
The VIX, an index that measures market volatility based on option premium pricing, shot up to record levels. The closing level on the VIX reached 82.69 on March 16, 2020, breaking the record of 80.74 set on November, 21, 2008. To give context, the VIX usually falls in a range between 18 and 35. It’s known as the “fear gauge” and spikes during times of crisis.
Consumer activity usually falls in volatile market corrections, and the pandemic response was no different. Unemployment levels rose to 13.0% from 3.8% in 4 months with 14 million people suffering loss of employment.
Price volatility historically produces a more emotionally-driven market and larger dissociations between stock price and company value. Companies with cash flow shortfalls may not be able to survive a severe impact, especially the retail companies most severely affected by drops in consumer spending. Brands like JCPenney (OTC: JCP), Hertz (NYSE: HTZ) and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) all filed for bankruptcy within weeks of each other. Surprisingly, all 3 stock prices received huge boosts despite the news — with Chesapeake briefly spiking to $77.50 on June 8.
Some analysts make a living trying to explain volatility and its effect on the market. For example, JPMorgan Chase tried to quantify the effects of President Donald Trump’s tweets on the market. But no one has a simple answer about how to use volatility to trade successfully. Savvy investors understand the different ways to measure volatility and which philosophy to apply to a market scenario.
Best Online Brokers for Volatile Stocks
Succeeding in a wild market means good execution. Your execution depends largely on the broker you choose. Here is a list of the best online brokers for volatile stocks.
If you want to specialize in volatile stocks under $5, you may need to consider a broker that specializes in penny stocks. Not all brokers provide access to over-the-counter (OTC) markets and pink sheets.
Webull, founded in 2017, is a mobile app-based brokerage that features commission-free stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trading. It’s regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Webull offers active traders technical indicators, economic calendars, ratings from research agencies, margin trading and short-selling. Webull’s trading platform is designed for intermediate and experienced traders, although beginning traders can also benefit.
Webull is widely considered one of the best Robinhood alternatives.
- Active traders
- Intermediate traders
- Advanced traders
- No account maintenance fees or software platform fees
- No charges to open and maintain an account
- Intuitive trading platform with technical and fundamental analysis tools
- Does not support trading in mutual funds, bonds or OTC stocks
Moomoo is a commission-free mobile trading app available on Apple, Google and Windows devices. A subsidiary of Futu Holdings Ltd., it’s backed by venture capital affiliates of Matrix, Sequoia, and Tencent (NASDAQ: FUTU). Securities offered by Futu Inc., regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Moomoo is another great alternative for Robinhood. This is an outstanding trading platform if you want to dive deep into smart trading. It offers impressive trading tools and opportunities for both new and advanced traders, including advanced charting, pre and post-market trading, international trading, research and analysis tools, and most popular of all, free Level 2 quotes.
Get started right away by downloading Moomoo to your phone, tablet or another mobile device.
- Cost-conscious traders
- Active and Advanced traders
- Over 8,000 different stocks that can be sold short
- Access trading and quotes in pre-market (4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET) and post-market hours (4 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET)
- No minimum deposit to open an account.
- No chat support
It seems like new digital investment management platforms are sprouting up left and right, and for good reason — there’s a great need for easy, straightforward investment management that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg in fees or to get started. If you’re new to investing or an old hat who wants to make the switch to a virtual manager, deciding which features you need can be confusing if not overwhelming.
If you want a no-frills financial management platform, Axos Invest (formerly WiseBanyan) takes a traditional but sophisticated approach to automated online investing.
- Traditional investors trying out an automated investor for the first time
- New investors that want to take a hands-off approach to portfolio management
- Straightforward automated investing
- Relatively low account minimum and automated investing fee
- A solid roster of available investment account types
- Not a stand-out from other services if you’re someone who likes all the bells and whistles with your digital financial platform
- No direct relationship with a human financial advisor
This latest groundbreaking technology is IBKR GlobalAnalyst, a new trading tool that helps investors compare the rate of PEG or price-earnings growth valuations and provide more immediate and comprehensive financial metrics of stocks, globally.
Recognizing that stock selection can be challenging for investors to compare the valuations of domestic and international stocks, Interactive Brokers created GlobalAnalyst to offer investors a simple, yet powerful tool to easily evaluate investment opportunities around the world.
Using GlobalAnalyst, investors can search for stocks by region, country, industry, market capitalization and currency to uncover undervalued stocks worldwide. The resulting table displays the current market and financial metrics, including the PEG Ratio. The PEG Ratio is the PE ratio divided by the three-year compound earnings growth rate, and smaller PEG Ratios typically indicate undervalued companies.
- Price earnings growth valuations
- Easily evaluate investment opportunities
eToro is a broker that offers access to over 25 of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies, forex and over 1600 stocks. They have a few unique education and useability tools. Traders can begin buying and selling in as little as 10 minutes.
eToro’s unique CopyTrader feature allows new investors to “copy” the buy and sell orders of professional investors, while the company’s eToro Club feature provides investors with a range of additional education tools and resources.
- Traders looking for an easy-to-use platform
- Traders who want to practice their trades using a virtual account before entering the market
- Simple platform that is easy to master
- CopyTrader feature that allows new traders to copy the same strategies used by professionals
- Virtual dummy account that gives you $100,000 to practice trades
- High non-trading fees
Features to Look for in Volatile Stocks
- Put-call ratio. You can tell how the market expects a stock to move through the number of puts versus the number of calls on a particular date. A larger proportion of calls to puts means a bullish sentiment and vice versa.
- Most active by share volume. Huge spikes in the number of people buying or selling a stock may point to a trend you can take advantage of.
- Most advanced or declined. Many people like to look for stocks that went up or down by the highest percentages on the day. Ideally, individual volatilities will revert to the market mean for the day, giving an investor the chance to profit from a turnaround.
Uncertain Markets, Certain Profits
Volatility must be welcomed at a time like this. And although fundamentals seem unimportant in a volatile time, this may be exactly the time to trust them.
Someone will take home profits from every market, no matter how volatile. Patience, study and more patience will make you more likely to be a winner.