Meta Stock

MetaStock is actually a product of Reuters, which I discussed earlier in this chapter. MetaStock offers what it calls real-time or end-of-day data, but it

actually charges for its software platform, which starts at around $499. It also adds a monthly fee starting at $59.

The software is very expensive but very powerful and may be the most professional offering out there for individuals. MetaStock certainly has versatility going for it — the program covers virtually every market you would even consider trading in the world.

Check out MetaStock at www.equis.com.

TradeStation

One of the nice features that TradeStation has is the ability to back test trading strategies. One of the best methods for determining a trading plan is to back test your trading ideas. This process involves taking historical data and seeing what would've happened if you had applied and traded a set of rules to this data — sort of an "If I would've known then what I know now" approach.

TradeStation's back testing feature uses a programming language called EasyLanguage. It takes some time to master, but it has a wide user base, and classes are frequently offered online and at various sites across the country to teach this programming language.

After you find the strategies that allow you to retire young, you can use TradeStation's automated trading feature to implement these strategies. This function allows you to set up some trading systems in advance of when you want them to become active, and TradeStation takes care of the rest. It's a great option if you work during the day but still want to get in on some short term trading.

Go online to www.tradestation.com for info on TradeStation's charting package.

In addition to offering a very solid, easy-to-use charting software package, TradeStation is also a brokerage firm. It's actually a publicly traded brokerage firm, so you can trade with it or trade its stock, which has the symbol TRAD. You may be thinking, "Why do I care if it's also a brokerage firm?" Well, this is useful to know because if you use its brokerage arm for trading, you actually get to use their charting package free of charge (as long as you conduct a minimum number of trades each month; otherwise, the base price is $249 per month).

Part II

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