The technology boom of the late 90’s transformed nearly every arena of business, but the financial industry in particular was completely overhauled. The lively trading pits of Chicago and New York are today more of a memory than anything else. The days of traders shouting out buy and sell orders in the pits have been replaced by a technological age where bids and offers are communicated on a sub-millisecond basis as high frequency traders dominate financial markets. This technological innovation has occurred not only at the top of the industry, but also at the base level, or retail level. Today, a person has more computing power and financial information in the palm of their hand with an iPhone than the most advanced hedge funds had just 15 years ago. All one needs to do is download an eclectic mix of the right apps and one has a virtual trading desk in the palm of their hand.
If you are going to go mobile, you have to be able to enter buy and sell orders and modify existing positions. Fortunately, many retail brokers have established a formidable mobile and online presence. E*Trade has led the way from the beginning, and today clients are able to not only open and close orders, but they are also able to access full charting capabilities, extensive economic and technical research, and communicate directly with E*Trade reps via instant chat features.
Metatrader took the foreign exchange trading world by storm in the mid-2000’s with its release of the MT4 trading platform, and it has recently taken the mobile world by storm by releasing a fully functional mobile version of MT4. Now, traders can access full charting capabilities right on their phone. Most fx brokers who support MT4, also support this mobile application.
Netdania has gained an incredible reputation for charting and data tools over the last few years, and the Netdanie mobile application allows traders to access live streaming quotes across currency, equity, commodity, and futures markets. The application also makes it very simple to place price alarms on any assets one may be tracking.
No trading station can be complete without a steady stream of the latest fundamental news releases and economic data. Bloomberg has established itself as one of the leaders in disseminating economic data and its mobile phone application allows traders to stay plugged into financial developments around the clock. The Bloomberg mobile app also allows users to setup custom filters in order to pull economic data by category. Thus, macro traders who need global data can be alerted anytime a new headline appears that includes Greece, China, Brazil, etc, while traders who specialize in domestic markets can filter out that noise and be alerted only when specific domestic news hits the wire.
Along with Bloomberg, Reuters is the gold standard of economic and fundamental news. While the Reuters mobile app is very similar to the Bloomberg app in functionality, by having both apps active, traders can read through important economic developments, such as the most recent Federal Reserve press conference, and gain considerable insight by reading through the commentary on both apps.
The days of economic data being available only the wealthy are over. In today’s advanced technological age, anyone can access live streaming pricing, economic commentary, global macro analysis, charting capabilities, and brokerage execution platforms from the palm of their hand anywhere in the world they can access a 3G network. By building a small portfolio of powerful mobile apps, traders can literally stayed tuned into the market 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
About the author: Melissa is a graduate from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She is currently an entrepreneur and editor for Merchant Seek.