The financial services industry offers a variety of trading software platforms for day traders, swing traders, and algo traders. As a trader or investor, you’ll often ask yourself how to know what stocks to buy?
These platforms offer charting and technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and trading risk management tools. This set of tools for trading can give you a sharper edge, helping you make well-informed trading decisions based on the latest market activity and investor sentiment.
The platforms also offer transaction processing and access to other markets such as ETFs or cryptocurrencies. We are going to look at the best stock trading software on offer, and the aspects you should consider before committing your cash.
Features to Look for in Stock Trading Software
Analytical Methods and Strategies
Depending on what you are looking for the trading software should offer advanced technical analysis tools, fundamental analysis tools, or a mixture of both. Day traders will mostly be interested in technical tools. While swing traders, and buy and hold traders will be interested in fundamental analysis mostly. You may also want a service where the stocks are picked for you with complete trading strategies. A complete strategy should include entry price, stop loss, target profit, or exit strategies.
For traders looking to use book fundamentals the service should have a stock screener that allows you to filter stocks based on user-defined criteria. These criteria may include metrics such as price/earnings ratio, fastest movers, or market capitalization.
Backtesting Trading Software
Backtesting is used to test the performance of a trading strategy with past market price data. The theory is that the random price movements from the past can be used to predict how the strategy will perform in the future. Particularly useful for algo traders.
Real-Time and Historical Data
Real-time data is of utmost importance to all traders and investors. In particular to day-traders and algo traders, who rely on short time frames to enter and exit a trade. Real-time data should have a minimal delay. Historical data should include several time frames such as 1 minute, 1 hour, and so on. The data should also go back as far as possible to allow for the meaningful backtesting of trading strategies.
Market depth gives traders information on how many buy and sell orders have been placed in the exchange and the volumes at each price. This information is useful to get a sense of the build-up in momentum as more volume is added to one side of the price compared to the opposite side.
Live and Breaking News
Financial markets are traded by humans, and humans are emotional. Emotions are what drive many of the big market moves on the back of an unexpected news headline. It’s important, therefore, that traders have access to live news streams on their platform so they can react to relevant headline news as it happens.
1. Rockwell Trading
Rockwell Trading is one of the veterans in the trading software industry, having opened its doors in 2005. The platform offers cash stock trading recommendations with its PowerX Optimizer and options trading recommendations with its Wheel Strategy.
The trading software is not linked to any brokerage house, so you can use any broker you already have an account with. Rockwell Trading has no minimums for trading. However, they recommend $10,000 to effectively use the PowerX Optimizer and $25,000 for the Wheel Strategy.
The platform will scan over 12,000 stocks and ETFs to find trading recommendations with a high probability of success.
Source Rockwell Trading
- Beginners and Advanced Traders
- Derivatives traders
- More than 12,000 securities
- Full entry and exit strategies
- Top-class educational materials
- Options trading
- No live news feed
- Slightly higher price point than most
2. Stratosphere Investing
Stratosphere Investing is a newcomer to the trading software industry but is already making its mark. The company is experiencing consistent growth in the US and Canada. Their services offer analytics on North American stocks. They also offer premium research, model portfolios, and an active trading and investing community.
The analytics covers the 10-year financials of companies that are downloadable to Excel. The premium research has features such as Insider Moves, which allows you to see if company directors and executives are selling or buying their own stocks.
The platform offers a stock screener that comes with 52 different screening criteria. The range includes price-performance metrics such as 52-week high and low or percentage change over the past 30 days.
The other criteria are divided among dividends, company basics, and balance sheet among others. This product is geared toward long-term value investors, but can also be utilized by traders to inform their positions and find price movements ahead of time.
Source Stratosphere Investing
- Investors and swing traders – beginners or advanced
- Long-term buy-and-hold value investors
- Affordably priced based on SaaS model
- Extensive analytic tools
- Company-specific news feature
- User-friendly platform
- Investment Community
- Stock picks included in price
- Only for North American-listed stocks
- Relatively young and unproven company
3. Zen Trading
Zen Trading offers a subscription service that gives access to automated trading strategies. The company also offers advanced algo-traders the possibility of creating their own quantitative strategies. The service is also available to new algo-traders looking to learn the skills without getting their fingers burnt in the process.
The platform also has a wide array of technical and auto-trading indicators. The quantitative strategies offered by Zen Trading are the same ones used by the quantitative algo fund. The company offers 4 trading strategies that can be used to trade various financial markets.
- Ultimate Trend Following – the strategy captures markets that are in a trend and is designed for investors with a medium-term view.
- Complete Volume Pump – this strategy searches for unusually high-volume changes and patterns. More suited for day and swing traders.
- Extreme Breakouts and Price Action – looks for unusually strong price movements or pattern breakouts to identify long-term investment opportunities.
- Perfect Momentum – this is a contrarian strategy that looks for likely tops or bottoms. When a stock’s price has moved up it will identify where it has most likely hit a top creating a selling opportunity and vice versa
Source Zen Trading
- Traders looking to learn how to automate trades without losing money in the process
- Algo traders looking for customizable scripts
- Day traders and swing traders, advanced and beginners
- Unlimited backtesting for strategy development
- Comprehensive master course for automated algo-trading
- Trading consultant service for expert feedback on your strategies
- ready to go trading strategies
- Only compatible with TradingView
TradeZero offers an online platform for trading North American stocks and options. The platform has a free version with limited access to its features. The monthly subscription gives you access to the stock screener, options trading, real-time NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ Level I, and real-time news.
The platform looks a lot like the type of level of service a professional trader would experience. All accounts get zero-commission trading and access to a trading platform. For a top-tier trading platform, you would have to pay a monthly subscription.
They also are one of the few platforms with 24/7 live customer support via webchat. You can also call them on the phone during New York market hours, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Traders attracted by zero commission trades
- Those looking for a free version
- 24/7 live customer support
- Online platform with Direct Market Access
- Mobile app for real-time prices and trading on the go
- Enforces pattern day trading restrictions, for which accounts must have a Daily minimum balance of $25,000
- The mobile app has limited features
Webull is an online and mobile trading that covers over 5,000 stocks and ETFs, as well as options and ADRs if you are interested in foreign companies not quoted on a US exchange. The platform offers a live news feed, stock screener, and advanced charting tools.
They can also accommodate for Self-Directed IRA accounts instead of a standard brokerage account. They also have level II Direct Market Access for the NASDAQ exchange. There are currently no account minimums to open an account with Webull
- Active traders
- Intermediate and advanced traders
- No maintenance or platform fees
- No charges for opening an account
- User-friendly platform
- Shallow educational support
The trading technologies industry has a lot of value to offer a serious investor or trading. The real-time data and analytics of these platforms are very useful when looking to make well-informed trading or investing decisions.
Choosing the best stock picking service is not easy. We recommend you sign up for a free trial as most services offer this feature. That should give you enough time to try their product and see if it meets your needs.
You may want to access one of these services for your Self-Directed IRA. You can learn more about this type of IRA and the providers that meet the specific needs of self-directed investors in our review of the top SDIRAs in America.