If you're ready to start buying and selling stocks from your computer, stock software is a great option for independent investors. The best stock software has clear and affordable fees, simple investment tools and resources to learn how to improve your trading strategies. Stock trading software is more competitive than other online programs, so you'll have to focus on the specialties that set each one apart. You may think that commission fees are the most important feature, but trading and analysis tools can be more important to help you reach your investment goals. If you don't trade very often, you'll want to avoid stock software with transaction minimums or trade quotas.
Some of the stock software products we reviewed are best suited to professional investors and trade advisors. These complete stock management software options help you track multiple markets and test several portfolios at a time. Most of these products appear on the second page of our lineup. However, if you want to trade from your computer, the products on the front page give you the simple tools you need to start investing and offer a variety of training resources.
We tested an array of products and found many great resources for independent investors. Based on our criteria, the best trading platforms are optionsXpress, OptionsHouse and TradeKing. We have also written several articles about stock software to further your understanding.
When looking at the top stock picking software, you'll notice that many offer the same tools and features. In fact, many have the same fees and commission prices. Therefore, when searching for the best stock software, you should base your decision on the features that will be meet your investment goals. We picked the best programs based on the following criteria:
Fees and Commissions
Pricing becomes a complicated discussion, and there isn't a simple formula to figure out how much you'll pay for most stock software. Some brokers require minimum investments and account balances, while others do not. Sometimes the services offer tiered fee schedules, where more active traders will enjoy lower fees but have to meet much higher investment quotas. Finally, some trading programs will charge an inactivity fee. These fees are not a secret, though you may have to browse through the fine print to find them. However, good investors know that research is the most important part of any trading strategy.
Stock software should help you create a diverse portfolio. In addition to stocks, you can choose between options, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Many programs offer fixed-income investments including retirement accounts and education savings plans.
Trading and Investment Tools
To bolster your success as an investor, you should find stock software with many trading tools, such as real-time quotes, alerts, research, watch lists and charts. You should also consider the trading platform and its availability. Some programs are completely online, while others require you to download the program to your desktop or allow you to trade from a mobile device.
Ease of Use
One of the key features of stock trading software is the simplicity of its tools. Stocks are confusing and complex, so if the broker's tools are clear, you'll have a better chance at implementing a successful investment strategy.
Support and Customer Service
In addition to educational resources, the best stock software offers several support options including telephone, email, live chat and user forum. We also looked for programs with 24/7 support.
Whether you are a seasoned investor or just starting out in the stock market, stock software gives you the resources you need to implement a successful investment strategy.