And so to the challenge....


Legendary member
I have read everything about Naz, L2, TA, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. As an impartial judge and jury, here are my findings:

1: There are those that will never do anything but trade UK stocks. They feel at home, comfortable and at ease with what they are doing. They understand and recognise symbols such as BARC, MONI,LOG etc. and can relate to them.The wiser among them will just trade those stocks that have minimum spreads.
2: There are those that trade FUTS and Indies, perhaps including DOW and COMPX, because they understand those indices and they actually mean something to them.Spreads are generally good, DOW typically being 5-10 pts @10,000.
3 There are those that, for one reason or another, have seen the light, and switched their trading to US stocks/indices only.

I am assuming, that as this is a UK based BB, and that all active members/traders are UK resident and trading from a UK base.( in general).
Here are my thoughts as to why people don't / won't get the message.
Naz provides powerful reasoned arguments as to why we should all trade US and not UK. Broadly ,I agree with those arguments. The one exception is that you do NOT need to be a L2 wizard to trade US stocks.There is absolutely NO reason why those that use UK TA can't switch to US TA and continue their trading style. The main point here is that everyone has their OWN style of trading, be it scalping,swing, short term etc. In my opinion, to ask someone to alter their trading style is wrong, and can only lead to tears. That is not to say that with careful indoctrination ( as some have experienced already on this BB) one couldn't be persuaded of the virtues of US L2.
The real problem, as I see it, is that we are BRITISH and suffer from the BRIT syndrome . WE HATE CHANGE. I thought I hated cars with automatic gear change until I tried one. Now I think it's a dream. I'm convinced the problem is change and fear of the the "unknown". I know it is for me :(
So here is the challenge:
For those in the know, how about getting an "information pack" together, so that anyone who seriously wants to give it a go, will have an smooth ride. There are forms to fill for "non resident" etc. blah blah- most daunting. There are brokers to chose and setup. Accounts to organise- are they UK or US based? There is dealing software to sort out. There are EOD charts to sort out. It goes on.
So maybe we should have a new Heading on the BB- HOW TO TRADE THE USA
Is this the route to conversion and better prosperity :)
An excellent post Chartman looking at the overall picture as you did.Of course everyone trades the US differently and perhaps a new heading would allow people to view the different options available to everyone.

I would just like to say one thing if you want to trade Nasdaq level 2 just dont even think about it unless somebody teach's you.

My e-mail is [email protected] if anyone wants a quiet chat.
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"I would just like to say one thing if you want to trade Nasdaq level 2 just dont even think about it unless somebody teach's you."

You must stop reading my mind, Naz! ;-)
Learning Package

You're both right.

I look forward to seeing the Information package referred to by chartman posted soon.


I think this pack would be a great idea!

I have come accross a few brick walls when trying to open accounts in the US that are able to show me the L2 quotes as I am not a US resident. I am not going to go and jump right in - just spend a couple of weeks testing the water and studying the movements of the L2 screens.

The nearest thing I am to getting these trial L2 quotes are downloading and finding a cheap source that is available to the UK

Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated :D
Something that I'm finding very useful in learning level 2 is the DirectAccessElite trial platform. Instructions for downloading can be found at

So far I've found this to be a very good platform and very educational. When using the platform I've felt that I was "in control" of my trading. As Chartman and Naz have said, it is a very good idea to get a bit of education behind you before you start using level 2 in your share trading

Glad to see ''that many traders have seen the light'' Mr Charts, and have moved over to the leaves the field free for me to trade the UK.Whether trading the US leads to more prosperity I'm not so sure but have never tried it.
''British don't like change''....possibly true........personally I like to finish my trading by 16.40 and have every evening free.
Having been at the NWLondon meeting I feel that possibly many experienced traders are not fully aware of what the UK has to offer.
Good Luck regardless but I thought I'd put in a word for us ''uk traders''!!
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Have you ever stopped to think how much easier it is to access to UK based information? For example it didn't take a genius to walk along any busy high street the week before xmas and see that W.H Smith were deserted with only a handful of people buying newspapers, whereas Woolworths were packed. How can you rate Walmart vs Costco like that? or realise from reading the UK press that the next rate hike has to be up? sure we all know the Americans love a weak dollar, it's election year, higher imports are slightly inflationary which suits- but which US stocks does a weaker dollar suit? fcked if I know- but I DO know that Signet ( hate to keep using retailers as an example ..sorry) earns over 50% of their profits in the USA and are getting fcked by the weaker dollar.

So it's a little disingenuous to claim that everyone should trade the US. Still I guess if I made a living from teaching courses that taught "how to trade the Athens exchange" i'd be pushing "why you should trade the Greek markets" as a posting..!

I trade the US for the following reasons:

1) Smaller bid -ask spreads
2) No stamp duty
3) A much larger number of high volume stocks to trade
4) A large number of stocks that move by more than 100 points daily
5) Cheaper, more reliable and a greater number of datafeeds
6) Much cheaper exchange subscription costs
7) Access to much more meaningful level II data
8) Cheaper commission costs

From your previous posts you appear not to be a technical trader and trade on instinct however as most on here do trade by TA and as such there are more reasons for them to consider US based trading than not to.

Each to their own

Trader333, interesting points....apart from the stamp duty one which is frankly the case in the uk as well.
Instinct is far more enjoyable than TA surely!!Can't think of anything more boring than TA.
As you say , each to their own!!
Good luck.
Trader 333 trades the US for the same reasons I do.

I'm sorry though, I do think it's a little short sighted to say x is better than y whether its a country, instrument or time frame.

Its all about personal choice and where the individual feels comfortable with x or y.

For instance, what if I was to say that everyone who doesn't trade futures is missing out on huge leverage and therefore profit? Especially if you want to day trade, but dont have $25k required in the US stocks. Both 'valid' statements, but day trading futures is a sure way to the poor house if you don't know what you're doing.
nobrainer said:
.......personally I like to finish my trading by 16.40 and have every evening free.

Absolutely agree - but the opposite!

This really is a horses for courses situation. My own personal schedule means I'd much rather set aside say 14:30-15:30 and 19:00-21:00 each day for trading, leaving the rest of the time for other (equally interesting) activities.

Quite apart from the higher liquidity, greaster choice, small-to-no-spread with DA, higher 'inside' visibility....

I speak as an ex-UK stocks/indices/options trader.
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CityTrader said:
it didn't take a genius to walk along any busy high street the week before xmas and see that W.H Smith were deserted with only a handful of people buying newspapers, whereas Woolworths were packed.

Good point - if you're into long-term investments over a period of weeks/months/years. In fact, this was the very method used by those (who were they - grannies investment club that wrote 'that' popular stock picking book) ladies in the US.

But for short-term/intraday, surely that info is of little-to-no practical use. NASDAQ LII offers a far greater depth of view of the instantaneous depth of the market.
nobrainer said:

''British don't like change''....possibly true........personally I like to finish my trading by 16.40 and have every evening free.

I also trade the US and for much the same reasons that Trader333 has listed. I never trade past 16:30 and am usually finished by 15:30, and have my mornings free too. Last time I looked there wasn't the same opportunity to capture the same size moves in about 1 hours trading on the UK stock market. But as others here have said, each to their own, you have to be comfortable with what you are trading or you will never make it work.

The bramble , crossroads

Hi ,

I am in the process of doing my due diligence on nasdaq etc.,
and setting up my dat broker, may I ask which one you are using and what plusses or minuses you have encountered.

Triplepack, hi, I use Interactive Brokers ( Plus points would be low commissions, usually a good range of shortable stocks, and the ability to plug things into their software if you don't like their trading interface. Minus points, their customer service is lacking, but then the only time I needed to deal with customer service was during the account opening procedure so it's not a big deal. I'm new to this board, but looking around and reading some of the posts here it seems they are quite a popular choice.


Thanks for that, yes IB do seem to be a popular choice, I have been put of ib with the customer services issue. One of the things I am also wary of ,is that if for some reason I want to get in quickly and close/ hedge a position going against me and my direct access isnt working I want that phone to be answered quickly and an instruction effected asap.
I've looked at tradestation they appear to have that feature that I am looking for. Oh well time will tell. (Proof of the pudding etc.)
As u are trading the Nasdaq, when you are taking a position which way do u try to enter, ie buy on bid or go Market order for the offer? Do find the stocks u trade liquid enough to get in and out when u like ? Or do you find that even with direct access u get slippage equal to the spread ?

tp - I'm also in due diligence stage. IB looks a good option along with TS for the front-end/scanner facilities - but I've not finished investigating all my options just yet.

I wouldn't let the customer service aspect of IB put you off. As stated elsewhere, that is only an issue (if any issue at all) in the start-up with forms etc.

As for your DA not being available - I don't know how likely/frequent this is.

Any others care to comment. My gut feeling is that is just doesn't happen. Unless of course your local ISP has an outage etc. etc. etc. But by the time you've put any contingency into place you could well have lost control of your trade(s) anyway.

Good point though. Contingencies to losing DA anyone?
Triplepack, yes I trade Nasdaq. I don't think IB have proper Level 2 Direct Access in the true sense, I'm not a Level 2 junkie though so I could be wrong there. I enter on Limit orders, I normally set a Limit price a few cents away from the best bid or ask. Yeah it means sometimes a little slippage, but I'd rather be in the trade than see it go shooting off without me. I only trade very liquid issues, at least 1M shares a day, so never any trouble getting in or out.

On the customer service thing, IB have a special number you can call to close a trade if you lose the TWS. They make a $30 charge to your account for the service, but that is better than taking a loss. I wouldn't like to say how efficient it is because I've had no cause to try it.

IB will only make a charge if the fault lies with you. If the problem is their end. No charge.

Dependent on time of day, you could end up talking to a chap in Switzerland to get your trade stopped. happened to me when their platform froze up after placing a order. Everything else was working okay and they didn't charge. Though I'm fairly certain the problem lay with my computer at the time of not having enough processing power. With a decent computer and decent hook up you shouldn't have any problems. I haven't had any since that time and that was over 2 years ago. running the comp from 7.30 in the morning to late evening.

I always had wide emergency stops in place just in case. They never ever got actioned. Just remember to cancel the stop.