The emergence and development of stock trade software to the levels of sophistication that it now occupies is something that must be welcomed by financial traders. But the sheer number of such programs available, all claiming to be able to regularly select profitable trades, makes it that much more difficult to pick one that’s going to work for you.
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. You can find a few programs that are free, but most cost between $20 and $500. If you are serious in your efforts to generate substantial profits from financial trading then you should not skimp on the software you are going to use. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve tested out dozens of them and can recommend any to you (though I’ll tell you the package I use myself in a moment), but I will show you what to look for in any program you are considering.
1. Scope of Data
As a serious financial trader, you need access to data covering all sections of the market, from company stocks to foreign exchange. Make sure that lesser known instruments such as Unit Trusts are included. All the companies listed in the stock exchange you trade on should be included in the data available. The “All Sectors” companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, for example, number nearly 8,500, and the number of instruments available to trade is nearly 22,000. And there are over 320 indices.
Unless you day trade, which personally I do not recommend, you do not need up to the minute data. The previous trading day’s closing prices are quite sufficient. (This will be welcome news as it invariably works out quite a bit cheaper.)
2. Depth of Data
Make sure the data you can obtain for any share, index, commodity or other financial instrument includes not only a price history going back years but also charts, with a facility to make your own simple moving averages, and news feeds. The latter is particularly important if you include fundamental analysis as well as technical analysis in your method of making trading decisions.
3. Reliability of Provider
Check out how long the provider of the software and service has been in the business. Find out what you can about the package and the provider from online forums and by doing a search on your favorite search engine. You’re looking for easy access to help and technical support by telephone and email, as well as recommendations for accuracy and integrity.
You’ll also want to satisfy yourself that you can understand the user guide and that it covers the program comprehensively. If there is a demo version of the software available then download and use that before deciding if the program is for you.
Finally, get to know how to use the software thoroughly. It’s surprising the number of times software of any description is purchased and then simply not used to its full potential, or even not at all. Personally, I use software called Sharescope. This is aimed at UK customers (I live in the UK) and covers basically everything that’s traded at the London Stock Exchange, plus the forex market. It doesn’t purport to pick winning trades, but then I don’t mind that as I don’t have much faith in programs that do.