Two Charting Tools You Should Start Using Today
As the saying goes, a good carpenter is only as good as his tools.
As a trader, the tools you use are every bit as critical. After all, how can you expect to trade successfully if you’re working with an incomplete picture of the market?
One of the most common questions we see here at the Sleuth relates to which charting tools offer the best bang for your buck. Today, we’ll try to tackle that question:
I am a small-time stock buyer… but I don’t have a charting tool. All the charting tools are so much money that they eat more than my standard profits. If I use the “free apps” they are 20 minutes behind and don’t show candlesticks etc. Are there any decent charting tools out there that are either free or nearly so?
Because charts are the best way to get a picture of what’s going on in the market (literally), we’ll take a quick look at two excellent free charting tools in today’s Penny Sleuth.
Identifying Your Charting Needs
When you’re looking for a charting tool, the first thing you need to ask yourself is how much data you really need. If you’re a longer-term buy-and-hold investor, you don’t really need to worry about delayed data. You’re not trading in a short enough timeframe for 20 minutes to make a big difference.
In fact, you may not even need the detail that a candlestick chart provides. A simple line chart may be plenty of charting horsepower for you. Ultimately, if you’re not experienced with technical analysis, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to fill your charts up with indicators, colors, and data points. Instead, seek out charts that you can actually read quickly and effectively, and add indicators and data as you become comfortable with them.
(We’ll offer up more tutorials in the Sleuth to help you get comfortable with new technical analysis techniques in the next few months…)
All of that said, if you’re a small investor looking for a free charting option, there are plenty of quality real-time apps out there. Today, I want to show you two of my favorites…
1. Google Finance
Source: Google Finance
You may have already realized that Google Finance (finance.google.com) offers real-time stock data completely free, but did you know that it also offers users advanced charting types like candlesticks and OHLC bar charts?
When you go to Google Finance and enter a ticker symbol, the default chart is a simple line chart. You can change that by clicking the “Settings” button right under the chart, and selecting the chart type you’d prefer. You can also set the time interval (down to 2 minute bars) and other advanced settings like scaling and volume. It’s one of the simplest free ways to get advanced real-time price charts completely free — in addition to the wealth of fundamental data that Google provides on stocks.
If you’re looking for more advanced features, it’s hard to beat FreeStockCharts.com. The site is run by Worden Brothers, a trading software firm that’s well known among professionals for its TeleChart software package. The aptly-named firm’s free site offers free real-time charts that are highly customizable and can even be drawn on and saved for future reference.
It’s impressive how much FreeStockCharts.com offers on its website — so if you’re looking for a slightly more full-featured charting option, I’d recommend taking a look at this site.
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