August 13th 2007
The Day Trader’s Toolkit: 100 Free Online Apps for Professionals
Nothing beats direct access to a trading desk for day trading success, as instantaneous trade executions can be important for day traders who seek arbitrage opportunities that last second. Large amounts of capital and leverage and expensive analytical software are also important for the individual or institutional traders who seek easy profits that can be made from arbitrage opportunities and news events. While we can’t provide you with the ability to bypass a broker or pass on wads of cash for trading opportunities, we can supply you with a list of free apps that can help you gain a day trading edge.
The "free" part of this list is a bonus for day traders who seek to eliminate any dents in profits. You can gather free news, analytical tools, screeners, charts, and professional advice from this list. Plus, we’ve saved you time (and time is money!), as this list provides you with a handy alphabetical directory with direct access to the means for your future success.
Upgrades and downgrades on any given stock can make or break your trading day. The following sites offer news about analyst ratings and also offer news and opinions about these analyses and other tools, so look around each site to learn more.
- B4UTrade: Give yourself the institutional advantage with free tools offered by this site. You can view daily upgrades and downgrades, but you can also learn about earnings "Flashes, and "movers and shakers" on separate free lists.
- Briefing.com: Because Briefing.com does not take any market positions and makes no money through financial market transactions; this news source maintains an objective and unbiased approach to its analyses.
- InvestorGuide Stock Analysis: Read through opinion and analyses, and also gain free access to information that covers online brokers, stock information, and a comprehensive list of publicly traded companies (including home pages, research, and discussion).
- Yahoo’s Analyst Performance Center: Want to learn more about an analyst? Visit this site to read scorecards that represent a summary of StarMine ratings for each analyst. The Earnings Estimate Accuracy Rating, displayed as 4 or 5 blue stars, represents StarMine’s proprietary metric for earnings estimate accuracy or "Relative Accuracy Score" (RAS).
- Yahoo’s Report Screener: More of a report base than a screener, this tool can help you find analyst reports so you can learn more about the reasoning behind the decisions.
There’s no way to list all the blogs focused on day trading, so the following list is a smattering of sites that focus on short-term or day trading. If you plug "day trader blog" into any search engine, you can find many, many more sites.
- Bespoke’s Think B.I.G.: Users gain access to some of the most original content and intuitive thinking on the Street at this site for free.
- Knight Trader: Browse through stock market news, breakouts, swing trades, stocks in play, mojo plays, position trades, options and day trades. Combine this site with The Visual Trader, another site by the same author. The second site emphasizes breakouts and technical analysis of chart patterns.
- The Big Picture: This blog provides a macro perspective on capital markets, the economy, geopolitics, technology, and digital media.
- The Kirk Report: This blog isn’t totally free, as Charles E. Kirk (an individual investor who has been investing & trading stocks for over 12 years) would like a donation before you can access certain areas of the site. But, there’s not cap or lower limit to that donation. Free information would keep anyone busy for days.
- Trader Mike: Michael Seneadza’s trading diary, where you can learn how one day trader thinks.
- TraderFeed: Brett Steenbarger, author of Trading (Wiley, 2003) and Enhancing Trader Performance (Wiley, 2006), helps readers with an interest in using historical patterns in markets to find a trading edge.
- Trading Goddess: Is this for real? You bet. The Trading Goddess provides humor as well as some interesting takes on stocks and Wall Street.
Charts and Quotes
We don’t know traders who don’t use charts. This list contains sites that focus specifically on charts and quotes, although some may contain news and commentary. Take your choice among those listed below for free.
- Big Charts: BigCharts contains comprehensive and easy-to-use investment tools such as interactive charts, quotes, industry analysis and intraday stock screeners, as well as market news and commentary.
- Clear Station: ClearStation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of E*TRADE Group, Inc., offers investment education and the essentials of technical analysis, fundamental analysis and community discussion to deliver a comprehensive "Three-Point Investment Approach."
- FreeRealTime: Without registering, you have access to free real-time ECN quotes, delayed market quotes, news, charts, insight, and much more. However, you will need to enter in the stock symbols each time you wish to view that company’s information. When you register, you gain access to other tools such as watchlists, portfolio tracker, and you can view your FreeRealTime watchlist on your WAP-enabled device.
- InvestorTech: Much of the information contained on this site is free to use, but you must register to gain access to a free trial of their real time information.
- Prophet: Gain access to free applet charts that you can detach and "float" over your browser window. You can also draw trendlines and save the chart for future reference.
- StockCharts: The four free charts offered by StockCharts provide tools that help you to filter out insignificant price moves, or to create candlestick, bar, or line charts for any stock, index or mutual fund in their database. You also can scan large collections of stocks quickly to spot various signals in one unique graphical display.
Economic research is the backbone of any trading effort, as it can help you to determine how the markets might flow during any day, month, or quarter. Investors use economic data to interpret current or future investment possibilities and to judge the overall health of an economy.
- AEI Research: The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare. You can find economic policy reports here that focus on various sectors.
- Bureau of Economic Analysis: The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) promotes a better understanding of the U.S. economy by providing the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic accounts data in an objective and cost-effective manner. You’ll find reports categorized by region and across the country, international reports, and accounts by industry.
- CIBC World Analysis: CIBC World Markets is the wholesale and corporate banking arm of CIBC, a leading North American financial institution. You’ll find a mix of North American and Canadian economic data at this site.
- Current Economic Data: Martin Capital advisors maintain this site, where you’ll find economic and financial charts and data updated on a daily basis. This is an easy-to-use list with accompanying charts that are easy to comprehend. They also maintain a list of economic charts and data that you might find useful.
- Economic Indicators: The mission behind this governmental site is to provide timely access to the daily releases of key economic indicators from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see #12) and the U.S. Census Bureau.
- FedStats: FedStats provides access to the full range of official statistical information produced by the Federal Government without having to know in advance which Federal agency produces which particular statistic. The site uses search and link capabilities to more than 100 agencies that provide data and trend information on such topics as economic and population trends, crime, education, health care, aviation safety, energy use, farm production and more.
- Federal Reserve: Every trader keeps at least one eye on the Federal Reserve, especially during times when interest rates are considered. Their economic research and data, however, often demands more attention as it offers bulletins and reports that are updated daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.
- Financial Forecast Center: All forecasts produced for this site are generated in-house using artificial intelligence. The forecast models, therefore, are 100% quantitative and use a global, long-range economic dataset with objective results. And because the Financial Forecast Center has no ties to other companies or institutions, their products and services are completely independent.
- Financial Trend Forecaster: By watching the turning points in the Moore Inflation Predictor©, you can profit from inflation hedges (like gold, real estate and energy producers) when the rate is trending up and from bonds when the rate is trending down. If you can’t comprehend the chart, no worries – just read their current analysis!
- Free Lunch: Yes, there is still such a thing as a free lunch, and this one includes free economic, demographic & financial data contained in databases with more than 165 million economic, financial, and demographic time series covering more than 180 countries and their sub-regions.. This is a free service provided by Moody’s Economy.com, an independent research provider that helps businesses, governments, and professional investors worldwide meet their planning and information needs.
- Bloomberg’s Economic Calendar: Be prepared, a motto for the day trader. This calendar will help gird you against possible market volatility. You can also find other economic calendars at Yahoo and at Briefing.com.
Do you own a crystal ball that will tell you all about upcoming earnings reports? No? Then this list may help, although the news is more hindsight or a "guesstimation" based upon indicators than any vision granted by unseen forces.
- Annual Reports: If you need an annual report now, this site will do the trick. This directory is a free service that enables investors to review a company’s annual report in PDF format.
- Earnings.com: Earnings.com is powered by Thomson StreetEvents, with latest corporate information including an event calendar, annual and quarterly reports, company profiles and more.
- Earnings Whispers: Pssst…gain access to the whispers calendar, alerts, notes, and discussion on upcoming earnings reports.
- Reuter’s Earnings Calendar: Upcoming earnings reports at a glance, with links to company’s pages that includes charts, prices, etc.
- WhisperNumber: Register to gain free access to earnings updates, whispers, and personal portfolios.
- Yahoo’s Earnings Calendar: This earnings calendar provides links to the companies concerned at the Yahoo Financial pages, along with means to schedule and then listen to upcoming conference calls.
- Yahoo’s Earnings Surprises: Stick around Yahoo to learn more about recent earnings surprises with access to past conference calls and more.
Are you an IPO (Initial Public Offering) junkie? The following sites will give you all the information you need about companies that are about to go public.
- 123Jump: 123jump.com specializes in gathering, validating, and archiving financial information, as well as providing investment tools for the serious investor looking for high-quality information. New additions to the site include global markets update covering 20 countries, earnings news and call summaries, and fund manager interviews.
- Hoover’s IPO Central: View IPO’s that are "on deck," and learn about latest pricings and filings.
- MarketWatch IPO Overview: MarketWatch provides an IPO overview, along with news about updates, surprises, and more.
- Yahoo IPOs: Yahoo provides an at-a-glance overview on IPO information, with links to more information about withdrawals, filings, and pricings and links to company information.
The sites listed below carry day trading and investment tools that you may or may not use. But, they’re listed here if you want to try them out to see if they fit your trading style.
- 24-Hour Trading: If you want to know when any stock exchange opens and closes worldwide (based upon Eastern Time), use this page at Currency Trading. The links lead directly to each stock exchange listed.
- Foreign Stock Search Engine: Looking for new foreign stocks? Start here to find international stocks listed on US exchanges. This site contains primarily ADRs and 200 international focused Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
- Google Finance: Use this as your homepage, as you can create a portfolio with related news, daily
headlines, sector summary and more. You can keep tabs constantly on stocks where you want to hold a longer position.
- NASDAQ Pre-Market Activity: Most active NASDAQ stocks both before and after hours.
- Market Gauge: Analyze sectors to groups to the stocks within and then instantly compare these stocks to their peers.
- Pivot Point Calculator: This free online Pivot Point Calculator supports "floor, Woodies, Camarilla and Fibonacci pivots, and Tom DeMark levels" as you calculate open, high, low and close figures.
- Silicon Investor: Register for free to gain access to trading tools, news, message boards, charts, quotes, and alerts.
- StockConsultant: Type in a ticker symbol (about halfway down this page) and receive every bit of technical information you might want or need on that stock. Free for limited access to this information.
- Volume Advance and Decline: What is says is what you get – at least for U.S. Exchanges & Indexes. This information provided free, with more tools available with membership.
- WallSt.net Free Tools: This link will take you directly to WallSt.Net’s tools, where you can determine latest buys and sells by volume (delayed). This site contains many other investing tools, including a place for "Rookies," where investors can practice buys and sells.
Whether you participate or merely lurk, message boards can often provide more information than the pros or the news media. Whether this information is accurate or not is determined by your willingness to follow up or participate. Good luck!
- Board Central: Enter company’s ticker, click the GO button, and then read messages about that stock from all leading boards.
- MarketWatch Discussions: Hope, despair, and hints posted daily.
- Raging Bull: Raging Bull is a collection of financial message boards where users can track your favorite stocks or sectors. You can also create your own message board here.
- The Lion: TheLion.com boasts the world’s largest stock forum community site that offers real-time "All-In-One Search Engine" technology for powerful and comprehensive access to all stock symbol financial message and blogs, news, and content.
- Wall St. Tape: Find forums hosted by Wall St. Tape and by members. Take advantage of the Day Trading Forum.
- Yahoo Investment Message Boards: Read and participate in boards created by investors.
Many day traders capitalize on news stories, as it’s imperative to be the first to know when something big happens. Typical trading room access includes the Dow Jones Newswires, CNBC television, Daytrader’s Bulletin, and other news agencies. Here’s a list that contains more sources:
- Bloomberg: Breaking market news and videos, including online access to Bloomberg TV. Look around to see the other tools that this company offers.
- Drudge Report: Headlines that link to top news stories.
- Financial Times: Updated news on companies, markets, and market data and more, all from a financial perspective.
- Forbes: Imagine combining the Wall St Times, Scientific American, The Economist and Punch into one easy to read package – this is what you get with Forbes.
- Investor’s Business Daily: More than financial news, this site provides analysis, a "screen of the day," and more for free.
- Journalist Express: JournalistExpress is the journalist’s interface to the Internet, but investors also can take advantage of this database filled with international, national, regional, and local online news. You can find stock quotes, headline news and the ability to customize JournalistExpress to your liking.
- LiveLeak: "Redefining the media" with footage and news supplied from citizen journalists and/or from raw footage around the world. Ignore the cheesy ads to find interesting videos if you need information that covers the nitty-gritty about any story.
- MarketWatch: Daily market news and more.
- The Street: Free news gathered from various financial sites, including some commentary and more. Free membership is provided as well.
- The Wall Street Journal: If you can’t have the Wall St. Journal delivered to your home, no worries…get all the headlines and more online for free.
- Wall Street Reporter: Wall Street Reporter produces in-depth, unbiased, unfiltered, interviews that deliver a first-hand, straight -from-the-source perspective. Each year they conduct over 5,000 interviews, which you can hear for yourself for free when you become a member.
Portfolio trackers, or watch portfolios, have become a tool that many sites use as perks for paying members. However, some sites still maintain portfolios that you can use for free, as long as you register for free. The following three sites contain examples of what you can expect from these services:
- ClearStation: Track an unlimited number of stock portfolios and view current or historical performance by day, week, month, or year. You can also add support, resistance and trend lines and generate a Schedule D form to file your taxes.
- Zacks’ Portfolio Tracker: When you set up a watch portfolio at Zacks, you also will receive their "Daily Email Updates" that alert you to major events that affect the stocks that you input into that portfolio.
- Yahoo Portfolios: Register or log in, go to the financial section (through this link), and begin to create portfolios through the "My Portfolios" tab. One nice feature is the portfolio that allows the investor to consolidate accumulations over time.
Pre-Defined Scans and Signals
The following links will lead you to pre-defined scans and signals that can help you select stocks through various parameters chosen by that specific site.
- AAII’s Stock Screens: American Association of Individual Investors updates their stock screens monthly, covering over 50 stock investment strategies as well as the companies that pass each investment screen. You must register for free to read final data.
- AlphaKing: Free stock trading signals and fundamental ratings that are tabulated by using the opening price the day following a new trading signal, and that exclude commissions, dividends, or interest paid on cash balances during sell periods.
- Daily Movers: This is one trader’s systematic approach to trading, and his “edge” is his ability to identify relative strength and weakness within the options market. You can join to get inside information, or gain access to company information for free through the scanner and various reports.
- Jeremy’s Seasonality Report: This site holds monthly seasonality reports on popular American equities created by an undergraduate computer science major.
- MSN Screens: Predefined lists labeled by highs and lows, price, expectations, etc.
- StockCharts’ Predefined Scans: An at-a-glance page filled with technical, candlestick, and P&F Patterns.
- Reuter’s Screening Center: Use these screening tools to find the best opportunities in stocks valued by growth, value, sentiment, and/or quality.
Similar to pre-defined screeners and signals, stock graders will ‘grade’ stocks by various indicators. As with analysts, it’s best to follow these sites for a while to see if they fit your trading style.
- MSN’s StockScouter Ratings: StockScouter rates more than 5,000 publicly traded companies on a 10-point scale that compares the fundamental and technical qualities of stocks to measures that have proven statistically predictive of stock performance in the past.
- Stock TA: Stock Technical Analysis is a free technical analysis and stock screener site devoted to teaching and utilizing the fine art of stock technical analysis to optimize your stock trades.
- TradeStars: Indicators delayed by one day. You can use the free portion of this site to validate your own signals.
- ValuEngine: ValuEngine.com (VE) is a stock valuation and forecasting service founded by Ivy League finance academics. ValuEngine’s Stock Valuation, Stock Forecast, Portfolio Forecast, and Portfolio Builder models utilize state-of-the-art valuation, forecasting, and advisory technologies. While some reports are reserved for members, you can access some valuable information for free at this site.
The following sites provide either "one-stop" research portals or they focus on a single area of research to the point of obsession:
- Bull Sector: Would you prefer to focus on a specific sector? This site offers every possible sector and groups within those sectors for research.
- Edgar Online: "The Trusted Source for Company Information" delivers a broad spectrum of data including SEC filings, fundamental data, institutional holdings, insider trades, IPO/SPO registrations, and access to global annual reports and conference call transcripts for your research pleasure.
- Morningstar: Morningstar provides a portal where you can create portfolios, read news and analysts’ reports, and more.
- Site-By-Site: Use this international investment portal and research center to learn more about local and international stocks.
- Yahoo Finance: Take advantage of news, charts (especially the new Beta charts), and just about every other tool you can imagine at Yahoo.
- Zack’s Investment Research: Based upon the theory that earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful force impacting stock prices, this firm offers their perspectives, recommendations and advice for free. Register to build a free watch portfolio and to receive news updates. Other tools are available with a paid membership.
Unlike prescreened lists, you can enter various criteria or parameters into the tools provided below to gain access to the database results.
- Guru Screener: Guru Analysis is a group of nine stock evaluation methodologies based upon the published analysis techniques of well know investment advisors and other popular sources. Investors may screen a stock for the highest number of scores over a chosen percentage amount. Another common approach is to screen a stock for the highest percentage score from the guru that most closely matches the investor’s individual philosophy or risk tolerance. Either way, the Guru Analysis feature provides a very popular screening technique. Provided by NASDAQ.
- MarketWatch Stock Screener: The Intraday Stock Screener is designed to screen for stocks using as many or as few parameters as you wish to define. All parameters default to none.
- Trading Markets Scanner: The TradingMarkets.com Stock Scanner allows you to scan the TradingMarkets.com stock database using your own criteria. The database consists of approximately 4,500 NYSE, Nasdaq and AMEX stocks over $10.00 per share. The data is closing data as of the end of each trading day and is updated by 7:00 p.m. EST.
- Yahoo Stock Screener: Find stocks to buy using the New Java Yahoo! Finance Stock Screener. You can create your own screens with over 150 different screening criteria and s ee results immediately when you run or change screens.
- Zack’s Screeners: Use predefined parameters or create your own at Zacks. Their free online screening tool allows you to screen with 96 attributes, then saves screens for future use.
You may be a pro, but each day you need to read news to keep up with the markets. You might need to brush up on some skills, as well. The following sites provide either comprehensive or specific training in various aspects of day trading.
- Candlestick Methods: Although this tutorial is intended for Forex trading, it’s a comprehensive site that can aid day traders in their analyses.
- ChartSchool: StockCharts provides instructive articles about everything you’d want to know about charts, but about their charts specifically. Regardless of that narrow focus, you can learn much from this site’s information.
- TradingDay.com: Read articles about day trading fundamentals such as "Cutting Losses" and "Pullback Day Trading."
- Day Trading Strategies For Beginners: You can find detailed and comprehensive information about any type of investment at Investopedia. This link takes you directly to day trading strategies.
- Stockalicious: Track, evaluate, and improve your portfolio performance with the tools provided by this site.
- Trade Juice: Day trading articles, books, tools, and more for the novice and expert day trader.
- The Pattern Site: What happens to a stock after a bad earnings report? What does a chart pattern look like on a heavy breakout day? Learn about all these patterns and more at this site.
- Wealth-Lab Trading Laboratory: Sometimes doing is better than reading. Develop and back test your own stock market trading systems, and explore the systems contributed by other members at this site.
As a day trader, you may want to use many of the free sites listed above. However, you’ll also need to invest in quality analytical software that allows you to learn about trading, as well as one that allows you to get as close to the trading desk as possible. We won’t list that software here, as you have many choices and more opportunities for the individual day trader to gain access to a trading desk will open as time and technology allows.
With that said, you might look for software that contains automatic pattern recognition, genetic and neural applications, broker integration, and back testing features. Any software that combines these tools will provide individual traders with an edge over other private day traders. This software, along with your research and skills, may provide you with enough savvy to play the markets with ease, if not with success.