Share Trading Software: Your Questions Answered | Finder Canada

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Your guide to share trading software

Detailed charts and technical analysis can help you decide which shares to buy and sell. See if stock trading software is right for you.

Share trading software can help you identify rising shares for short-term trading and sustained income shares for long-term investments. It provides guidance on which shares to trade, but past performance is no guarantee of future results and the applications do have limitations.

What is share trading software?

Also called technical analysis software, share trading software provides research and analysis tools that allow you to investigate the shares you’re interested in buying and selling. It can give you information about the past and present performance of a company, live share updates and recommendations about which shares to trade. Trading software also includes technical indication functions (indicators) that look at patterns in the past to predict future performance. And some software has additional tools like advanced charting and custom tax reporting.

You can use the software to help create your trading strategy. A trading strategy sets out when you want to buy and when you want to sell securities. It includes criteria for buy and sell orders, including risk management measures like stop loss orders, that are designed to meet your investment objectives.

How does it work?

Online trading software works by filtering the best shares for you to trade based on predetermined criteria. You can use share trading software no matter your investment strategy, but it’s especially favored by day traders looking to take advantage of price movements before the market closes.

What are the benefits of using share trading software?

  • Backtesting. Backtesting is a share trading software feature you can use to test your trading strategies without spending a dollar. Your chosen trading strategy is tested against past performance of securities and different investments to give an indication about future performance.
  • Notifications. Software can send alerts to your mobile phone when your trading signals have been met so you can execute your trades.
  • Education. Software applications feature educational tools you can use to learn about the software itself as well as different trading strategies and indicators.
  • Updates. Software developers are constantly improving marketing analysis software so you’re always up to date.
  • Product testing. Most share trading software packages include a free trial period or free level of service. You can even ask the software provider for a list of the package’s recommended trades over the last couple of months if you want to assess the performance of the software’s technical indicators.

What are the risks of using share trading software?

  • There is no perfect system. There’s no guarantee you will make money using market analysis software. Government regulators advise investors to steer clear of any software promoted as a foolproof way to make money on the share market. Online trading software can help you make a best guess about which shares to trade, but the economy and the markets are unpredictable. While we can see market trends over time, these movements can be difficult to spot without the benefit of hindsight. Major international events such as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis or the global coronavirus pandemic can completely disrupt market trends.
  • Backtesting limitations. While backtesting is a major benefit, it has limitations. For example, backtesting can provide false signals during periods of high volatility.
  • Active trading. Share trading software has simplified day trading for everyday investors. Although there’s potential for quick profits, day trading is a high-risk investment strategy. Day traders can invest in securities, forex and commodities to take advantage of price movements before the close of the share exchange.

What features should I consider when choosing software?

Some software is expensive, though there are affordable alternatives. It’s important to research share trading software before you commit to making a purchase so you can be sure the features offered are the best you can get for your budget. Consider:

  • Cost. How much are you willing to pay? Compare ongoing costs against one-time fees to narrow down your options.
  • Speed. Speed is of the essence when it comes to trade execution. Check customer reviews for speed-specific red flags.
  • Accessibility. Does the software you’re considering integrate with the hardware you plan to use? Some software only works on Windows computers — others are web-based and require an Internet connection.
  • Analytics. Decide which features and analytics matter most so that the software you select best meets your needs.
  • Demo account. Look for share trading softwares with demo accounts so you can familiarize yourself with the platform before committing to a purchase.
  • Indicators. Different software applications make use of different indicators. Indicators are algorithms which help you decide which shares to trade. For example, one software may provide the RMO trading indicator, something that isn’t available with other software.
  • Free trial. You can request a free trial of most share trading analysis packages so you can test the features on offer before you buy the software.

Is trading software the same thing as a share trading platform?

No. A trading platform acts as an intermediary between you and a share exchange so you can make trades. Although some packages can automate trades, share trading software is not designed to place trades for you, but rather to help you with market analysis.

Compare share trading platforms

Once you have your trading strategy in place, you’ll want to sign up for a platform that lets you purchase shares, options and whichever investments you plan to use. Compare platforms to find one with the investment choices and features you’re looking for.

Name Product Available asset types Stock Fee Option Fee Account Fee ETF Transaction Cost Feature Table description
Questrade
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities, Precious Metals
$4.95-$9.95
$9.95 + $1 per contract
$0
Free
Get $50 in free trades when you fund your account with a minimum of $1,000.
Opt for self-directed investing and save on fees or get a pre-built portfolio and take some of the guesswork out.
Interactive Brokers
Stocks, Bonds, Options, ETFs, Currencies, Futures
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
$1.50 min. per order
$0 (if monthly commissions are greater than or equal to US$10.00)
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
Extensive trading capabilities and global investment tracking.
Access market data 24 hours a day, six days a week and invest in global stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds from one single account.
Wealthsimple Trade
Stocks, ETFs
$0
N/A
$0
Free
Deposit and trade $100 and get a $50 bonus.
Pay no commissions when you trade Canadian stocks and ETFs with Wealthsimple Trade.
Qtrade Investor
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
$6.95 - $8.75
$6.95 - $8.75 + $1.25 per contract
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $25/quarter
$0 - $8.75
Trade 100 ETFs free of charge.
Qtrade Investor offers low trading commissions and an easy-to-use platform with access to powerful tools and a wide selection of investment options. Trade 100 ETFs free of charge and thousands more for $8.75 or lower.
Scotia iTRADE
Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities
$4.99-$9.99
$9.99 + $1.25 contract ($4.99 + $1.25 contract if completed 150 trades or more a quarter)
$0
$9.99 ($4.99 if completed 150 trades or more a quarter)
Pay no annual account fees.
Buy, sell and trade ETFs, Equities, Options and more with competitive commissions.
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Bottom line

The right share trading software can help you manage and backtest investment strategies. Compare your options with multiple software providers before you make a decision which is best for you. When you have your trading strategy in place, compare share trading platforms that will allow you to purchases shares and make trades.

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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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