The Stock Trader
as Adventure Road Warrior
matter what they tell you, the world of electronics has not fully
caught up with all the nuances of online stock trading. Sure, the
Runaway Trader is proving that you can “trade stocks” from
practically any adventure travel location in the world, but can you trade
intelligently from all points global?
I admit that’s a subtle point but allow me to clarify. For those
surfers who have not fully enmeshed themselves in online stock
trading, please note that stock trades can be executed in a number
of different ways:
Broker-Assisted Stock Trades
can call your broker on a land line or cell and ask him
to place an order for, say, 100 shares of XYZ stock. Nothing
new about that. In fact, that’s how we used to make stock trades:
we’d pickup up the telephone and call our broker and have him
(yes, him), place the trade. (Incidentally, you can still
do that but it’s the most expensive way to make a trade because
you’ve got a live body on the other end who places the trade for
Electronic Telephone Stock Trades
Alternately, you can use your telephone (land or cell) and enter
the order electronically with your touch tones. Some
brokers charge more for this service than a regular online
Internet order, but less than the “broker-assisted” order.
here’s the problem: both of the above ordering systems assume that
you already know what you want to buy. But what if you don’t?
Well, you need something a bit more sophisticated.
Computer Generated Stock Trades
you need to trade stocks intelligently, of course, is
information—and a lot of it.
Before most traders start throwing thousands, or tens of thousands
of dollars at the daily ticker, there insist on a mountain of data
that, at this writing, is available nowhere else as quickly and as
thoroughly as the Internet. Case closed.
an experiment of one but before I make a day trade or even a swing
or momentum trade, I want to see:
1. The news about any given stock and what precipitating factor
makes it a trading opportunity at this moment.
I also want to see a full day’s chart on the stock,
preferably a streaming chart, plus 5-day and 30-day charts, and
2. Streaming Level II quotes on the stock. Level I, for the uninitiated, shows the bid/ask
price of stock together with how many shares have been traded, the
stock’s high and low, etc. Any telephone can give you Level I information. o
But Level II also shows a more
complete order book for the stock including who is offering
to buy or sell how many shares of what stock and what price. Now
you’re going face to face with the ECNs and the market makers like
Archipelago, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, etc.
For anybody who trades stock, level II is a must, and the
hand-held devices simply don’t have it.
3. Plus, there’s a ton of other data
that’s available only on the Internet. Certainly, I’d want to know
what the broader market is doing (remember, the trend is your
friend), what the “rhythm” of the market is like and what it
portends. News on other fronts that may affect my stock traders. I
mean, even Yahoo stock message boards might offer some info that’s
not available elsewhere (although that’s pretty hard to believe).
4. Multiple windows. There's something else you can't get on any of the hand-helds or Iphone-like instruments and that's multiple browser windows. With my laptop or desktop, I can open a half-dozen browser windows simultaneously, each offering crucial data as I switch back and forth. I've got an open stock ordering window, another window for streaming Level II quotes, a third for late-breaking stock market news, and a fourth containing my Ameritrade command module for bringing up a stock's daily chart. As slick as IPhone is, it can't do that. And I need that to trade smart.
make a long story short, intelligent, nimble-fingered stock trading is
still largely limited to online laptop (on desktop) computer
maneuvers over the WWW. That means you can play Runaway Trader
smartly from any point on the globe where you can connect a genuine computer to
the Internet---whether by wireless telephone connection, Wi-Fi
routers, or good old Ethernet.