Are you interested in investing? These days, investors new and old are awash with options.
You can trade in stock markets.
Not your thing?
Head over to the Forex (foreign exchange) markets.
Doesn’t tickle your fancy?
Try your hand at trading commodities derivatives such as gold or copper.
With that choice, there comes the potential for indecision. However, with the right tools to hand, any potential trading losses can be curtailed, all the while retaining profits.
In fact, with so much competition out there, online brokerages and trading platforms have been forced to offer a range of investment products, a sleek and intuitive interface and speedy execution. With a typical trading platform for forex, CFDs and so on, the tools to help traders control each individual action are usually just a few clicks or taps away.
In this article, I’ll share just three essential functions a trading platform should have.
Stop Loss Orders
A staple of many trading platforms, stop loss orders allow traders to end any loss-making trades before the amount of money lost becomes too big for comfort.
This is especially helpful if you’re holding leveraged positions.
For products such as forex, leverage is commonly used. Price swings up or down can be immense. For every point a trade goes in the opposite direction e.g. the USD going down by one point against the Euro, that amount would be multiplied depending on the ratio chosen pre-trade.
By invoking a stop loss order, traders can feel safe in the knowledge that they will not end up losing too much money.
Of course, merely having a tool like a stop loss order is insufficient on its own. To really be effective, you’ll need to have automated strategies on your side as well.
Ideally, a platform will give you the flexibility to create your own trading algorithms, bots and patterns.
Some trading platforms offer a tool that allows people to pre-set trading patterns that will trigger the execution of certain orders immediately.
For example, Oanda has a tool called Algo Lab, which lets traders devise code that can form a consistent trading strategy for different areas, namely forex and CFD trading.
These strategies can (if done correctly) end a trade to maximize profit or limit losses. Of course this is all dependent on the markets having enough liquidity to absorb your orders. Automatic strategies can also be amended when needed, in case they don’t work as expected.
Live Market Data
Of the three essential things a platform must have, this has got to be the most important.
Live market data apps and websites are indispensable. The reason why is obvious: they can help to make a decision straight away on whether or not they want to open or close a trade.
These should be readily available on most trading platforms. However, for a second opinion or research purposes, sites like the Financial Times have live market data. That, combined with a live news feed, should give traders their cue to end a trade when they are happy with the outcome, regardless of whether they made a profit or loss.
With the raft of trading platforms out there. Choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. But fret not, take the three essential tools above as a basis for choosing between platforms. You can quickly eliminate any that don’t have these basic facilities.