Which Software

The Optimist

Junior member
Just starting out in the world of TA. I have read the books, dabled with spreadbetting and now I need some trading software suitable for a beginner. I have noted the vote on which ones are most used, however I do think they are quite advanced systems.

Intraday prices are not required. Some automatic production of sell/buy signals such as "omni trader" would assist in terms of time.

Any suggestions/advice welcome
Hi Optomist,

this is a very subjective question and ultimately you must make the decision.

Here is my input for what it is worth.

For a long time I exclusively used Sharescope with its software and data feed at a low price.

This is a very good entry point in my experience.

If you want more Sharescope can give you a datafeed and captial gains tax calculations plus portfolio management where other non-UK based products are weak.

Going up in price there seem to be 3 main products:

OmniTrader - easy to use, automated signals
Metastock - more flexible and programmable
AIQ - can't comment with authority as I don't have this.

The products are very diifferent and require time and effort on your part to get the best out of them but they all have their strong points and are useful.

Some of the simplest systems can be the most effective and patience and psychology are important. Remember that you cannot but those at any price.

I hope this helps and good luck.

I started off with Indexia in 1994. This has some excellent features but now suffers from lack of further development in recent years. I couldn't honestly recommend it now.

I also use AIQ which I love. It is a good value system which will enable you to get started quickly and easily. It also has some really advanced features which you can grow into, and it has regular free upgrades, the most recent of which is quite awesome. You can get a 30 day fully functional free trial CD with data history and weekly data update from Trendline UK so there is nothing to lose by giving it a try. When you buy the full licnce at the end of the trial you get an excellent set of manuals which you will find exceptionally useful.

With regard to TA generally, there is no short cut to lots of reading. But be selective. The things which work best IMHO are the basics. So for the time being forget
stochastics, Fibonacci, Bollinger and all the derived indicators and get to grips with bar charts, Candle-sticks (if you have them) and volume.

In particular, concentrate on the following :-

1. Support and resistance. Look out for support/resistance which has held on at least 3 occasions. Is there potential resistance just above your
buying price, or support just underneath? The same when selling. If the stock is falling, is there support just below which might make it hold. Or has the price turned on hitting resistance, in which case you may want a quick exit on the basis that it probably isn't going higher.

2. look for trending stocks. Don't bother trying to pick the tops or the bottoms - you'll never do it consistently. The aim should be to take a chunk out of a steady uptrend.

3. Become familiar with classic patterns, especially flags, pennants, and triangles. THESE WORK REALLY WELL. Sorry. Didn't mean to shout! :eek:)

4. Download as many of the threads on this site as your
phone bill will stand. There is some terrific stuff here that you won't find in any text book and its worth keeping.

5. The best book I have come across for basic charting is "How Charts Can Help You in the Stockmarket" by William Jiler. About £12 and a classic. Worth every penny and more.

6. The market is a cruel and expensive place to learn. Check up on some of the ideas from this group . See what works and what doesn't and don't be too eager to throw your hard earned stake at the market. Ghost trade for a while and keep a couple of portfolios. But don't wait too long because you will make different decisions when you trade with real brown beer vouchers rather than pretending .

7. Check regularly which sectors are performing best. Pick your shares from those sectors. It is much easier to select from a group of winners than from a group of losers.

8. Which market index is performing best? Which is worst? This will help you decide whether the action is with large or small caps. Sometimes, as in 1999/early 2000 one index (the small cap in this case) outperforms another by a spectacular degree.

9. Treat moving averages with care. They are a lagging indicator, but useful to confirm trends.

O.K. that's enough for now. Get playing with whichever system you choose and let us know how you get on. I'll be interested to know what the others advise.

Very wise words from RogerM for new people and those already involved.
Find a system that suits you and your lifestyle.

If you work full-time.. you can't daytrade or v short term trade. How can you monitor performance if you cannot be looking at the screen all day.

Likewise, you cannot daytrade with an 'end of day' software package. EOD packages are considerably cheaper than Real Time packages, its up to you to decide what you want to pay.

Be very careful playing with CFD's and spread betting until you are experienced. You can loose a lot of money very quickly due to the gearing.

I particularly like www.charthelp.com You need to register but they have a monthly newsletter with TA methods that is very concisely and well written. Theres an archive of about 15 articles.

good luck
Thank you all for the above. I have bought the book and read it Rodger M and I have also downloaded and read the articles on charthelp.com (thanks Cigar).

I have also been looking at charts on FT.com trying to get used to how the various patterns and indicators work. Essentially I am looking at peoples chat on these bulletin boards and then pulling up the chart to follow through the discussion.

So what's next? - Software

I have also found that I don't have too much time for what appears to be a time consuming activity (no pain no gain I guess). So the software I need will require some sort of filtering so I can home in on the stocks which satisfy certain criteria and are therefore worth further investigation. My understanding of Sharescope is that it cannot do this - correct?

Therefore it will need to be one of the more expensive packages.

I am not sure I like Omnitrader as I think it's automation will reduce understanding on my part. So it comes down to AIQ or Metastock. Any further guidance on which one greatly appreciated. Or is there more reading to be done?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

some ideas to help you decide.

Sharescope has some basic TA filtering functions. there is a free demo version that you can download from the www.ionic.co.uk web site.

Both metastock and AIQ have programming languages for power users. I spent days and days testing ideas out before I was happy with the outcome. (I was already skilled in programming). Some people feel more comfortable that others with programming.

There is a big difference in the price tag on these products.

After many years of learning I now use Sharescope almost exclusively. This was also the first and least expensive product.

I can't say which product is right for you but perhaps you should take advantage of free trial versions to help make up your mind....
Hi optimist...

Do you feel like your name after the markets today!!!!

I have omnitrader. I do not feel that the automation is reducing my understanding of TA. In fact it has grown in trying to make it work!! It is a useful program for those who do not want to put too much effort into it.

I have to admit that I am a tinkerer by nature, and have to say that after 6 months I feel that omnitrader is insufficient for my needs. This is because it is good at considering all indicators together, but not for finding a share that matches criteria such as "if A occurs, followed by B......" etc. I also found that it uses substitutes for indicators such as OBV - which I miss. So it is certainly a good starter program, but one which if you are intent on constructing an automated trading strategy, you will probably grow out of.

Once the studying ends, I will be looking to try AIQ.

Hope that helps,

My votes go to ShareScope and AIQ. My first software program was ShareScope - I got it because it was widely recommended, reasonable in 'running' costs (£11.75 per month incl VAT), and very easy to use.

It does have screening methods contained within the Datamining section. This is ideal for screening on fundamentals rather than chart patterns, although it is reasonably easy to screen for cross-overs of moving averages, etc. There's a support group for datamining at www.ionic.co.uk.

After using ShareScope for about a year I 'progressed' to AIQ. The two are quite different, and therefore I still use both.

What is hugely important, in my opinion, is that AIQ does NOT have any fundamental information. So if, like me, you like the reassurance of basic fundamental information before deciding buys and sells on TA, then you will definitely need to go for ShareScope.

ShareScope is also the cheapest option of the two, so I suggest you start with ShareScope, and then if and when you need any more charting, you can easily add AIQ, or Metastock, as well. ShareScope does seem to be universally liked, which is a great reassurance when you're buying software for the first time.
Thanks for all your advice. Sharescope arrived in the post today so will be loading onto my computer tonight.
For the ultimate in fully automated / robotic stock trading, you have to go with CoolTrade. I turn my system on in the morning and walk out of the house. It picks the stocks and buys / sells (long and short) all day 100% on it's own, then turns itself off after the market closes.

Also, it trades through these discount brokers:

Interactive Broker
TD AMERITRADE ($5 per trade)
MB Trading

Also, the software is free. You pay only for the monthly data feed.

For the ultimate in fully automated / robotic stock trading, you have to go with CoolTrade. I turn my system on in the morning and walk out of the house. It picks the stocks and buys / sells (long and short) all day 100% on it's own, then turns itself off after the market closes.

Also, it trades through these discount brokers:

Interactive Broker
TD AMERITRADE ($5 per trade)
MB Trading

Also, the software is free. You pay only for the monthly data feed.


This sounds very risky.
Tradestation do not recommend that a client does this if fully automating trading with TS8.2, due to the fact that partial fills, non-fills, etc. etc. can and do occur. Tradestation recommend that a client is on hand to oversee their automated strategy/s at all times.
Therefore, IMO the idea of leaving your automating strategy up and running, then heading off to the golf course, while your switched on PC & software does all the work for you, is an UNREALISTIC target/expectation. Certainly not how i would ever dare to trade.
That's funny you should say that. I suppose it's ok that the large institutions have competed with "program trading" against the public for years.

Actually what you have pointed out is the same things I've heard since creation of the automated traders in 2001. People always want to point out the obvious, like what if my electricity goes off, what it the automated traders go crazy and buy millions of shares of stock, what if...

But the fact is, none of that stuff has ever happened, with the exception of an occasional power outage, in which case your are a buy-and-holder for a day. That not as bad as millions of people sitting on stocks and mutual funds for years and watch the prices go up and down and never take any profits.

The automated traders buy and sell (adding and removing shares), going long and short, all day 100% on their own and take profits along the way.

I remember the first time I turned on my first CoolTrade automated trader, I used to drop my kids off at school and then run into the school library to check on my trader over the internet. Now I run 5 live automated traders and hardly ever even look at them. There are so many controls built into he traders, like constant communication with the broker servers, that if anything didn't look right, the traders would automatically shut down. If it even submits an order and doesn't get a good/successful return it would stop.

If you don't go automated now, you will just do it later, or like the original cell phones, if you didn't get one then, you got one now - or your the only holdout missing out on technology that is growing in numbers everyday.

Hi Optimist,

I use Metastock where I can program my scans, based on TA; also there is an ample community of users who will help you with coding and even trading issues, where you can get feedback on some add-in before you buy them.
MS is very flexible, coding is relatively straightforward, but because of this you won't be able to program or backtest complicated strategies.
A good program and yet cheap, is Amibroker, but it is more complicated to program than MS; also on the same lines there is Tradestation, but of course, the price starts shooting up through the roof.
Better try them for a while; both MS and Amibroker have a trial period - see what you think.
...I need some trading software suitable for a beginner.
Any suggestions/advice welcome

Metastock. After you gain some experience you can you move to Tradestation. Amibroker is fine but not as easy to learn as Metastock.