The internet is a fast moving place. New companies spring up all the time. Some go out of business. Services and offerings evolve, usually for the better. Because of the ever-changing nature of trading services on offer, I set up this page as a way of listing resources that I believe are of use to traders and would-be traders.
Rather than fill my book with links that end up becoming out of date a month after publication, this page should (hopefully!) be relatively up-to-date.
I’ll add more resources here as and when they come to my attention. If you are a representative of a resource you think would be useful to smart traders, feel free to contact me to request inclusion, but please bear in mind I won’t list any firm here unless I have had a chance to get some personal experience with it first.
Resources, Not Recommendations
Please note that none of the products or services linked here are recommendations. I re-iterate the advice I give in How To Day Trade Stocks For Profit when I say that chosing brokers, data providers and so on, is a personal matter. What’s right for me might not be right for you. There are many so variables (where you live, what you trade, your budget, your expectations, how much assistance you might need now and in the future, your trading style, etc) that each person’s needs are slightly different. There is no one-size-fits-all broker or software vendor.
My only recommendation therefore, is to look at what’s available, take trials where possible, and then choose what’s best for you.
Before you can place a single trade, you’ll need a broker account. The selection here stand out in terms of service or unique offerings. It is by no means an exhaustive list, and of course you should do your own research before opening any account.
These guys have a rather unique selling point. Because of their geographical location, they have managed to circumvent the Pattern Day Trading rules. That means instead of needing to deposit $25k to trade more than three times a week, you can day trade with as little as $500.
To get around the rules, the brokerage is not allowed to directly solicit trade from US Persons. In other words, they can’t advertise directly to people in the States. That doesn’t mean you can’t open an account though, it just means they can’t actively sell you one!
Other points worthy of note: 6:1 leverage (higher than normal, and this can be a double-edged sword – take care), phone and live-chat support, and multiple routing options.
They offer a free $100k demo account, so it costs nothing to give them a spin.
IB have been around, relatively speaking, for donkey’s years. Their major selling points are very competetive commissions – particularly for frequent traders – and extensive stock selection and routing options. You’re never likely to find a short trade unavailable here.
Although plenty of first-time traders start out with IB, do be aware that they are not the most ‘newbie-friendly’ broker. These days there are web-based offerings that are easier to get to grips with and have better help and support. However, when you know what you’re doing, IB are hard to beat on price and speed.
This is another ‘grand-daddy’ firm that has been around since the beginning of internet trading. TradeStation is an all-in-one platform offering a brokerage, charting, and trade entry software all rolled into one. That tight integration means it’s easy to get started, and you never have to worry about trades getting lost between software from one vendor and a back-end from another.
TradeStation evolves to encompass new technology, and they now provide ‘apps’ for smartphones and tablets, though I would personally not recommend using these as a primary tool. Trading is a job, not a game to be played whilst waiting in line. However, I can see a use for these apps as a backup to your regular trading computer.
I must admit, I hesitated to include eToro on this page for one simple reason: their whole business is based around social trading, which is to say, following other traders. I’m a big believer in the old maxim that if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day, but teach him to fish, and he’ll never go hungry. Following other traders can be a lazy way to make money from the stock market.
It’s easy to get sucked into just copying the trades of a successful individual, but what happens when they have a bad day? Or a bad run? Or when they decide to stop trading altogether? Copying another person’s trading decisions is, to my mind, much the same as having a regular day job. You’re dependent on a third-party if you want to get paid.
However, I also believe that anyone who has read my book is surely intelligent and discerning enough to make up their own mind about who to trade with and how.
There are, undoubtedly, certain advantages to watching others trade. You can without doubt, learn from more experienced players in the market. And if you make some money while doing so, then that’s no bad thing. Just be careful about getting hooked. Smart traders use this site to learn and become independently profitable, weaning themselves off their dependence on others as soon as possible. The smartest of all get followed themselves, and earn extra commissions.
Some brokers, like TradeStation, include full-featured charting packages as part of their platform. If yours doesn’t, here are some options for third-party charts.
Professional grade data and charting. For many, eSignal could be considered a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It does just about everything you could possibly imagine, and even has ‘apps’ that expand its functionality even further, Yes, that does mean it could be seen as overkill. But eSignal has been around a long time, and their biggest feature of all is their experience. It is a rock-solid platform with a ton of development time behind it. Institutions trust it, and they’re dealing with more money in a day than you or I might see in a lifetime.
eSignal’s not the cheapest software out there by a long-shot, but if you trade professionally, then you need pro-level tools.
Unfortuantely this is Windows-only, but Mac users can run it either using Boot Camp, or in a virtual environment like Virtual Box or Parallels.
I like FinViz a lot, and it gets more than one mention in my book. They have some great visualisation tools and can be a very useful and fast way to find good trade candidates. The basic free service with delayed data is good enough for that purpose (if you use it in the way I do), but they also have an ‘Elite’ paid service which includes charts.
The charts are highly customisable and allow you to set price alerts which, whilst not a substitute for doing your job for you, can be a handy backup. As they’re web-based, they’ll work on Macs and PCs alike.
As a bonus, an Elite subscription at FinViz gets you a bunch of other good stuff like backtesting tools, real-time data in the stock screener and visualisation tools, as well as the charts.
This is the cheap-as-chips option. You can pair Sierra Chart with a third-party data provider, or use their data, it’s up to you. Whilst not as heavyweight in terms of features as something like eSignal or TradeStation, it covers everything most individual day traders are ever likely to use.
Another Windows-only product, Mac users must turn to virtualisation or Boot Camp.
If free is your bag, then this might be what you’re looking for. You can try it without registering, although if you want to save layouts or settings then you’ll need to create an account.
Because freestockcharts.com is web based (using a Microsoft browser plugin) it works on both Macs and PCs, though not tablets or smartphones.
There’s a ‘Premium’ version if you want to get rid of the ads and save your own custom layouts, and you get some scanning and alert functions for the price, too.
I’m always wary of entirely free offerings. There’s some truth in the old adage that ‘if it’s free, you’re the product’. However, the paid tier means the service isn’t entirely dependent on flogging ads to keep going.
The all-in-one broker and charting platform offer a full-featured simulator. It requires an account, but the advantage of using this solution is that when you move from simulated to real trading, you’ll be trading with the exact same platform.
Another paid option, eSignal has a paper trading function. You can design your own order entry interface and use it to make simulated trades.
You can use IBs demo account to make simulated trades. It’s free, but the data is not real time, and is not entirely accurate as it actually uses delayed snap-shots of market activity. As a means of getting your feet wet and getting a feel for what trading is all about, it’s not a bad way to go, but it is not representative of real trading.
A simulated trading environment that’s set up as a competition among “players”. If you have a facebook account you can log in without creating a separate account here.
You do check at least two economic calendars for the day ahead before you sit down to trade, don’t you? Good. In case you need a new one, here are some good free calendars.
A comprehensive calendar with a scoring system showing which events are most likely to move the market.
A clear and simple calendar.
Bits and bobs that don’t fit anywhere else.
I know, I talked about them above in relation to their charting. But FinViz has some great tools so is worthy of a second mention.
When it comes to picking stocks to trade each day, there are plenty of ways to get the job done. My methods are already covered in the book, and they include the sparing use of scanners. The ability to quickly see stocks that are generating unusual volume, or are outperforming their sector, for example, can be a handy tool indeed. FinViz has some unique windows onto this kind of data.
I firmly believe that the difference between success and failure in trading comes from managing your mind. Knowing what to do is easy; having the presence of mind and the willpower to do it is hard – especially when doing the right thing can mean exiting a losing trade.
The single best method I know of for getting a grip on the ‘head stuff’, is meditation. Daily calming of the noise inside your head is like a fitness regime for your mind.
I’ve meditated daily for more years than I can remember, and I have absolutely no doubt it plays a massively important role in my trading.
If you want to give meditation a go, and short-cut the learning curve, then these MP3s are a good way of doing so. Try and ignore the overhyped nature of the website, the product is good and it works. There’s a free demo you can download, so it costs nothing to try.