Your guide to share trading software

Information verified correct on March 31st, 2017

Detailed charts and technical analysis can help you decide which stocks to buy and sell. Find out whether share trading software is right for you.

Share trading software can help you pick winning investments on Australian and international stock exchanges. These software applications identify rising stocks for day trading and sustained income stocks for long-term investments.

You can use share trading software to achieve capital growth no matter your investment strategy; however, share trading software is favoured by day traders looking to take advantage of price movements before the market closes.

Compare share and CFD trading accounts

Rates last updated March 31st, 2017
Rates last updated March 31st, 2017
Details Features
Halifax Online CFD
Halifax Online CFD
Trade US and Australian shares, options, futures and CFDs with no registration fees. Trade 24/7 on your desktop, tablet or smartphone. Commission - AUS shares: $10 or 0.12% Go to site More info
TradeDirect365 CFD Trading
TradeDirect365 CFD Trading
Trade CFDs on over 500 ASX shares, as well as international shares, indices, foreign exchange and commodities with TradeDirect365. Stop loss orders and a 24 hour trade desk available. Commission - AUS shares: $5 or 0.07% Go to site More info
Plus500 CFD Service
Plus500 CFD Service
Trade Australian and international CFDs on shares, forex, indices, commodities and more. $30 welcome bonus available. T&C's apply. Commission - AUS shares: Spread only Go to site More info
FP Markets CFD Account
FP Markets CFD Account
Trade CFDs with FP Markets using the IRESSTrader platform. Trade CFDs on international equities, futures and forex. Commission - AUS shares: $10 or 0.10% Go to site More info
Rates last updated March 31st, 2017
Details Features
FP Markets FX Trading Account
FP Markets FX Trading Account
Trade forex using an Electronic Communications Network (ECN) model, meaning FP Markets doesn't profit from client losses. Two account types to choose from. Spreads: From 0.8 pips Go to site More info
Plus500 CFD Forex Trading Service
Plus500 CFD Forex Trading Service
Trade Australian and international CFDs on shares, forex, indices, commodities and more. $30 welcome bonus available. T&C's apply. Spreads: Spread only Go to site More info
TradeDirect365 CFD Trading
TradeDirect365 CFD Trading
Trade CFDs on over 500 ASX shares, as well as international shares, indices, foreign exchange and commodities with TradeDirect365. Stop loss orders and a 24 hour trade desk available. Spreads : $5 or 0.07% Go to site More info
IG Forex Trading Account
IG Forex Trading Account
Trade from over 10,000 markets with Australia's leading service for CFD trading and forex. Spreads: From 0.6 pips Go to site More info

Rates last updated March 31st, 2017
Details Features
Commonwealth Financial Planning
Commonwealth Financial Planning
Free initial consultation offer with a financial planner Commonwealth Financial Planners could help you:
  • Grow your super
  • Insure your family and assets
  • Plan your investments
  • Prepare for retirement
Enquire More info

Share trading software is different to a share trading platform. A share trading platform acts as an intermediary between you and a stock exchange so you can make trades. Although some packages can automate trades, share trading software is not designed to place trades for you but, rather to help you with market analysis.

Also called technical analysis software, share trading software provides research and analysis tools which allow you to research stocks. Examples of tools you can use includes advanced charting and custom tax reporting. Share trading software also includes technical indication functions (indicators) which looks at patterns in the past to predict future performance.

Share trading software does have limitations. These applications give you guidance on which shares to trade; however, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

What is share trading software and how is it used?

Share trading software can give you information about the past and present performance of a company, live stock updates and recommendations about which shares to trade. Share trading software works by choosing the best stocks for you to trade based on predetermined criteria.

Share trading software is expensive. It’s important to research share trading software before you commit to making a purchase so you can be sure the features on offer are the best you can get for your budget. For example, different software applications make use of different indicators. Indicators are algorithms which help you decide which shares to trade. Popular market analysis software Metastock provides the RMO trading indicator, something that isn’t available with other packages such as BullCharts. You can request a free trial of most share trading analysis packages so you can test the features on offer before you buy the software.

What are the benefits of using share trading software?

  • Backtesting. Backtesting is a share trading software feature you can use to test your trading strategies without spending a dollar. Your chosen trading strategy is tested against past performance of securities and different investments to give an indication about future performance.
  • Notifications. Share trading analysis software can send alerts to your mobile phone when your trading signals have been met so you can execute your trades.
  • Education. Share trading software applications feature educational tools you can use to learn about the software itself as well as different trading strategies and indicators.
  • Updates. Software developers are constantly improving marketing analysis software so you’re always up-to-date.
  • Product testing. Most share trading software packages include a free trial period. You can even ask the software provider for a list of the package’s recommended trades over the last couple of months if you want to assess the performance of the software’s technical indicators.

What are potential risks associated with using share trading software?

  • There is no perfect system. There’s no guarantee you will make money using share market analysis software. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) advises investors to steer clear of any software promoted as a foolproof way to make money on share market. Share trading software can help you make a best guess about which stocks to trade, but the economy and the markets are unpredictable. While we can see market trends over time, these movements can be identified in retrospect only. Major international events such as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis completely disrupt market trends and make it near-impossible to predict what will happen next.
  • Backtesting limitations. While backtesting is a major drawcard there are limitations. For example, backtesting doesn’t take into account market crashes and company announcements which can significantly influence share price.
  • Active trading. Share trading software has simplified day trading for everyday investors. Although there’s potential for quick profits, day trading is a high risk investment strategy. Day traders can invest in securities, forex and commodities to take advantage of price movements before the close of the stock exchange.
Definition look-up

Share trading strategy

A trading strategy sets out when you want to buy and when you want to sell securities. A trading strategy includes criteria for buy and sell orders such as stop loss orders designed to meet your investment objectives such as capital growth.

Day trading

Day trading involves buying and selling securities and other investments such as commodities to take advantage of the movement in price between the time the market opens and the time it closes. Day traders generally leverage investments. Borrowing to invest presents opportunities for large profits as well as large losses. Some share trading software applications are suited to day traders only; while other applications with a focus on comprehensive charting are suited to long term investment strategies. Day traders capitalise on the short term price movements of investments.


Technical indicators let you set your own criteria so you can decide which stocks to purchase and sell. You can set parameters to identify opportunities for capital gain. Indicators examine the past performance of the stock market to make a prediction about price movements in the future.

Common questions about share trading software

What options do I have to purchase share trading software?

You can purchase a software application subscription or your can purchase the software outright.

What computers and devices can I use to run share trading software?

Be sure to check the system requirements before you purchase share trading software. Not all packages work on all systems. For example, Metastock, which is a popular software package for Australian traders, is designed for Windows. Although the latest version of the software can be used on Apple computers, some users have reported issues. Furthermore Metastock version 10.0 and below is not compatible with the Windows Vista operating system.

Where does share trading software data come from?

Most software packages come with an online and offline data feed so you can stay up to date with the latest prices and news. You may be able to import data from multiple sources; however, bigger share trading software packages such as Metastock can only use the Metastock data feed.

In some cases, you may be required to link an external data feed to the share trading software for the application to work. In these instances, you can use data from search engines such as Yahoo or you can import your own data if the software supports the data format.

How often is data updated?

Share trading software can provide real time data and end of day data. As the names suggest, real time data is updated as it happens and data is refreshed at the end of the trading day. Frequency of data updates are suited to different types of traders with day traders benefiting from real time data updates.

Jacob Joseph

Jacob is a writer and video journalist with Credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts are his bread and butter, and he likes nothing more helping people understand the sometimes overly complex world of personal finance.

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