Futures Trading Software

There are two major types of futures trading software; futures platforms and automated trading programs, and both have their own unique uses.

Futures Platforms
We’ll start first with futures trading software as it relates to futures platforms. In most cases, futures platforms are offered in connection with each individual brokerage firm, and the software is unique from company to company.

However, there is one major force in the futures market and that is TradeStation, which is the leading company among market makers for providing a reliable trading platform. TradeStation, used by a number of brokers from the small options firms to the massive institutional brokers, the platform has everything from charting tools, technical analysis tools, indicators, and even live news feeds, which stream in with live quotes.

TradeStation’s popularity is unmatched by most futures platforms, and it enjoys a nearly cornered market. Since so many investors no use TradeStation, so few brokerages are willing to make their own proprietary platforms and instead offer up this easy to use solution. While it doesn’t look like brand new software—it actually looks very utility-oriented, and isn’t cleverly designed—it does have plenty of power.

Futures Trading Software for Successful Traders
The secondary market for futures trading software is a multi-million dollar market. Everyone from banks to institutional investors and individual, at-home investors are buying and selling their products to other investors. Some of the more popular futures trading software programs are as follows:

Calculators – Calculators available to investors automatically grab data from streaming quotes to find market and arbitraging opportunities before the rest of the market can find them. These calculators are often inexpensive, and many perform functions like calculating implied volatility, the spread between bid/ask and the premium paid for options. Additional functions such as those which calculate your portfolio’s current risk are more expensive when licensed, but are often a staple among quantitative professionals.

Predefined indicators – The secondary market is loaded with successful indicators built by individual traders for use in their own portfolios. Think about it for a second—every indicator commonly used in the financial markets was once just an idea in someone’s mind, but with the advent of the internet and electronic trading, ideas are spreading faster than ever. Unique indicators created by individuals for their own trading are bought and sold online to other investors. These indicators may be unique mixes of old indicators, or may have been edited and revised to create new calculations on old market movements.

Expert advisors and automated trading – There is no shortage of automated trading programs sold to individual investors by marketers. Unfortunately, this is one area that investors may be best to avoid, as information may be manipulated, and there is often little proof of success for each trading program. Ask yourself for one moment, if you had a highly profitable trading program that automatically made you money, would you sell it? Of course not! Why would you create your own competition, making only a few hundred dollars with each sale when you could make tens of thousands of dollars without competition and with automation. While you can purchase your own automated trading program—by that they mean an automated programming of your own trading system—you’re unlikely to find anyone willing to sell a real, functional program for the sales prices they fetch online.

In general, you can’t believe everything you read in a salespage, but there are a number of tools out there that will help solve whatever problem it is that you need solved, or one that you don’t know about. Calculators, for example, are perhaps one of the least appreciated types of futures trading software, even though they are also likely one of the most valuable.

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