Thursday, October 29, 2009

Free Online Stock Trading Aids

At the end of a trading day, have you ever looked at the top gainers and regretted not participating in the rally? Have you ever wondered how people find out about the big movers so quickly? Most believe people use sophisticated and expensive trading software to give them an edge. Yes, software of this nature is available and can make stock trading a lot simpler. However, there are a few good trading aids that are available for free online. In my opinion, three of the best are Google Finance, Level 2 Stock Quotes, and Pink OTC Markets.

If anyone else knows of any other free online stock trading aids that don't require viewers to sign up for anything, feel free to include them in the Comments portion of blog.

Google Finance (

- Provides free real time quotes for every stock on the NASDAQ and NYSE
- Has a stock screener
- Updates the best and worst performing stocks of the day in real time grouped by sectors on the NASDAQ and NYSE

- No real time quotes are available for AMEX, OTCBB and Pinksheet stocks; these quotes are only available in a 15 to 20 minute delay

Best Feature:
Google Finance is a great tool for tracking stocks on the big boards. My favorite feature is the function where they breakdown these stocks into a Sector Summary. A lot of people don't utilize this tool, but it's a great way to find out which stocks are hot and cold in real time. If it's not already setup as the default, just click on the Change % heading and that initializes the sorting function. I personally like to follow the Healthcare, Services, Technology, and Financial sectors. These sectors typically have higher volatility, which make them great for trading. Here, you can spot trends and find the big gainers that could potentially spike higher. Also, it is good for finding overdone moves to the downside that may be "bounce candidates". I generally perform checks periodically during the day, but some of the best times to use this function is during the first and last 30 minutes of a trading session.

Level 2 Stock Quotes (

- Displays free real time quotes for every stock on the NASDAQ, NYSE, AMEX, OTCBB, and Pinksheets
- Shows level 2, which displays how each Market Maker is positioned on the Bid/Ask for a certain security.

- Stock screening function is not user friendly
- Requires more advanced trading skill to effectively utilize level 2

Best Feature:
Level 2 Stock Quotes is the only place that I've seen where viewers have access to free real time quotes for AMEX, OTCBB, and Pinksheets without having to sign up for anything. Once you are able to pinpoint that high flying penny stock, this is a good place to go to follow it in real time.

Pink OTC Markets (

- Great intra-day stock screening function for Pinksheets and OTCBB stocks only.
- Screener tells you the number of trades in each stock so you don't follow the illiquid ones
- Good place to go to find the most updated filings of Pinksheets and OTCBB stocks particularly for information like shares outstanding

- No real time function on the screener; results are delayed 15-20 minutes

Best Feature:
If you're looking to trade penny stocks, this is a good place to start. You can sort the stocks by clicking on either Advancers or Decliners to find the big movers. The fact that the results are delayed isn't as crippling as you may think. When it comes to trading penny stocks, often initial pops are quickly followed by a significant retrace. The delay can actually help you avoid getting caught up in that trap. is a good place to pick out stocks you want to monitor. Then, you can follow them in real time on the Level 2 Stock Quotes website.