As trading technology develops on an individual level, investors continue to have a multitude of options from which to choose when viewing the market through a software platform. The initial distinction that is made in many of these choices is whether or not to use a web-based platform or a software application that is downloaded from the internet and operated directly on your home computer.
Each type of platform will cater to people with different trading needs and time availability, as the downloaded platform tends to have a higher level of efficacy in trade execution while the web-based platform is better suited for traders not able to be at their home computer when trades are still open. Time frame is also a major factor, as enhanced trading execution tends to be preferred by shorter term traders while web based applications are often preferred by position traders with longer term time frames. Mobile applications add to the advantages of both, as price activity can be monitored with relative ease in any location.
The MT4 Platform
When using the downloaded MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform, your CFD broker provider will allow you market access to all of the major asset markets (Forex, Stock Indices, Commodities, and others) with relative ease. The market view panel will allow you to open and close trades with just a few clicks and to develop strategies in a variety of asset classes.
MetaTrader 4 is one of the most well known trading platforms in the word, and the product’s loyal product base attests to use ease of use and reliable execution even during fast moving market conditions. The Trading terminal was independently developed as an integrated trading platform for forex markets and others, as MT4 combines sophisticated analytical tools and graphical choices within a straightforward and simple interface. Demo platforms are widely available and can be downloaded with a simple installation.
The key advantages of MT4 lie in the fact that it is an all in one solution for individual and home based trading and allows for in depth technical analysis and automated trading functions. MT4 utilizes a diverse set of 30 different technical indicators that can be applied to both live and historic price data, which can be used to back test new trading strategies. Trades can be places directly from the chart, with a wide range of order types (such as trailing stops, limit orders and stop losses) that enable you to complete your trading plan. Custom indicators can be installed as well as Expert Advisors (EAs), which allow you to implement automated trading strategies. News feeds are also part of the trading station, which is an added benefit for fundamentally based traders.
The Web Based Trader
Web based traders are often criticized for having slower execution but as technology continues to develop, trading speeds and reliability levels have improved exponentially. Fast Execution, is now combined with reliable access to all markets and no requites make this an attractive choice for traders who are more mobile and need to trade from a variety of locations. The web based application is designed for simplicity, as the browser based interface gives a clear summary of all your account information, including capital levels, charts, and open trades. Thousands of markets can be accessed
Trades are placed by opening a trading “ticket” which allows you to establish your trade size and entry and exit parameters. This allows you to determine the level of risk which you are comfortable to assume and the amount of profit and loss that can be seen in the trade. A trade confirmation window is then seen, and clicking “yes” allows the trade to be placed. Trade parameters can then be altered as the trade is open so that investors can adapt to evolving market conditions. Finally, the broker will offer a trading user manual that can be accessed at any time so that the intricacies of the platform can be researched.
The Mobile Trader
In addition to these choices, there is also a mobile option, which generally includes fewer features but can be access from any location. Live prices can be viewed along with historical price charts over the full range of markets. Trades can also be placed with simple screen touches as trading tickets are opened. Trade parameters can also be outlined so that excessive levels of risk can be avoided. Mobile trading tends to allow for less technical chart analysis, but this can be viewed as an extension of your analysis done using the downloaded or web based applications.