Most brokerage firms today offer free or premium trading software applications to individual clients when they open a brokerage account. The bundled software applications, offering a wide variety of trade, research, and analysis functions, are used as a prominent sales-pitch to the trader client. They also boast features like in-built technical indicators, fundamental analysis numbers, integrated applications for trade automations, news, and alert features. We will examine some of the most widely used, based on features (not price point):
- MetaStock Trader: One of the most popular stock trading software applications, MetaStock Trader offers more than 300 technical indicators, built-in drawing tools like Fibonacci retracement to complement technical indicators, integrated news, fundamental data with screening and filtering criteria, with global markets coverage across multiple assets.
- Worden TC2000: If you are interested only in US and Canadian stocks and funds, then TC2000 offers a good solution. Features include charts, watch lists, alerts, instant messaging, news, scanning, and sorting. TC2000 offers fundamental data coverage, more than 70 technical indicators with 10 drawing tools, and an easy-to-use trading interface, as well as a backtesting function on historical data. It does not, however, offer automated trading tools, and asset classes are limited to stocks, funds, and ETFs.
- eSignal: Another popular stock trading system offering research capabilities, eSignal trading tool offers various features depending upon the package one selects. It has global coverage across multiple asset classes including stocks, funds, bonds, derivatives, and forex. eSignal scores high on trade management interface with news and fundamental figures coverage. Available technical indicators appear to be limited in number and come with backtesting and alert features.
- NinjaTrader: An integrated solution providing end-to-end solution from order entry to execution with customized development options and third-party library integration compatible for 300+ add-on products, NinjaTrader platform is one of the commonly used trading and research platforms. Apart from the usual technical indicators (100+), fundamentals, charting, and research tools, it also offers a useful trade simulator, enabling risk-free trade learning for budding traders.
- Wave59 Pro: Offering advanced level products for experienced traders, Wave59 offers high-end functionality, including "hive technology artificial intelligence module, market astrophysics, system testing, integrated order execution, pattern building and matching, the Fibonacci vortex, a full suite of Gann-based tools, training mode, and neural networks."
- EquityFeed Workstation: One prominently highlighted feature of the EquityFeed Workstation is a stock hunting tool called "FilterBuilder"– built upon huge number of filtering criteria that enables traders to scan and select stocks per their desired parameter. Level 2 market data is also available, and coverage includes OTC and PinkSheet markets. However, it offers limited technical indicators and no backtesting or automated trading. Product specific screeners like ETFView, SectorView, etc. may be good for users looking for specific info.
- ProfitSource Platform: Targeted at active traders for frequent trading, ProfitSource Platform claims to have an edge with complex technical indicators, especially Elliot Wave analysis and backtesting functionality with more than 40+ automated technical indicators built-in. Its asset class coverage spans across equities, fore, options, futures, and funds at the global level.
- VectorVest: Offering trading and analytics software platforms through country wise package offerings (for US, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Europe, Hong Kong, India, and South Africa), VectorVest offers comprehensive coverage for common technical indicators across major stocks and funds. VectorVest also offers strong backtesting capabilities, customization, real-time filtering, watch lists, and charting tools.
- INO MarketClub: For users specifically looking for charting tools INO’s MarketClub offers technical indicators, trend lines, quantitative analysis tools, and filtering functionality integrated with a charting and trading system.
The Bottom Line
A lot of software applications are available from brokerage firms and independent vendors claiming varied functions to assist traders. The deciding factor to select the right product should be based on the product functionality best fitting one’s trading needs. Novice traders who are entering the trading world can select software applications that have a good reputation with required basic functionality at a nominal cost, while experienced traders can explore individual products selectively to meet their more specific criteria.