I use a variety of stock trading software to assist my research, chart viewing, and trading. I have programmed and developed some of the software myself. I also use open source and other freely available software packages. Some of the tools I use are included with my broker, Ameritrade.
Software a trader must have:
- charting software with technical analysis charts
- a stock market screener – set your search parameters and find stocks that fit your criteria, such as price ranges, volume scans, and technical analysis indicator signals
- watchlist generation software – list of stocks that fit my criteria
- that I want to watch carefully
- real time news feed – real time news is a must have for a serious stock trader
- execution of orders – a good interface for buying and selling quickly and efficiently
Software I use:
- Ameritrade’s included charting application
- Yahoo! Finance charts
- enhancedcharts.com – charts I am building myself using a combination of open source software and my modifications and additions
- I wrote my own screener to find analysis criteria I am interested in. My screener was designed for my personal tastes and features some trader friends have asked for. Check out my Enhanced Stock Screener.
- Another free stock screener is the Yahoo! Finance Stock Screener
- I also generate my own watchlists from my screens. These watchlists contain the results of my screener narrowed down further by specific things I look for in trades and stocks. One thing I look for his the previous 5 day charts and price history. Sometimes I look for certain patterns in the ticker’s 5 day history.
- You can use the results from your screener to form your watchlist. Some screener results will return many stocks that fit loose criteria, but you can refine your searches to keep narrowing down the list. Then, during trading you can watch this list real time, looking for good trading action.
Real Time News:
- I use Ameritrade’s real time news application since it is included with Ameritrade Apex accounts.
- I also watch CNBC throughout the trading day and as a recap of the top business and financial news, with updates and alerts. I highly recommend watching CNBC.
- I constantly read RSS feeds and online news websites, such as Google Business News, Yahoo! Finance news, and Newsvine
Order Execution Efficiency:
- I have been somewhat satisfied with Ameritrades order system. It has been good to me, but I have some trading friends that dislike it. One complaint is that it takes too long to buy or too long to sell using the interface. Ameritrade recently overhauled their website and order placing, saved order preferences, and interface have improved immensely.
- I have been thinking about opening an InteractiveBrokers account because they have the ability for programmers to interface with their trading system directly. Then I can write my software to place orders in a way that would be most efficiently for me.
Open Source Software:
I use a variety of open source software to assist my research and enhance my trading capabilities. Here’s some of the software I like, and some projects I contribute to: