Ask Colin

What charting software and data supplier is most appropriate for E114?

I am not able to recommend any software and data source that would be the best in all circumstances. It depends a great deal on what you want to trade or invest in and more importantly the tools you want to use for your trading or investment method. All software packages are different in their feel and particularly in the various tools they offer. It is best to try out the software before you buy it.

As far as E114 is concerned, there is no need to have software to complete your studies. The subject is designed and run so that it can be completed without access to software.

If you need to look at some charts while you are studying E114, it is suggested that you use one of the Internet based free charting sites - some brokers have them, but you will probably find www.Yahoo.com and www.bigcharts.com will be able to chart most stocks and markets. There are links to these sites from some Australian portals.

Almost all of the charts in the E114 subject notes were produced using Insight Trader charting software. This is an Australian package and has excellent support. It has filtering tools that work particularly well on the Australian stock market as your data base.

The other major software for beginners is MetaStock. This is US software and there can be support problems if you encounter a problem beyond the competence of the local vendor.

For Insight Trader, the best data vendor is probably Dial and Chart www.dialchart.com.au, since they also provide help services for the software itself. For MetaStock, the best data vendor is probably Almax www.almax.com.au

I use Insight Trader myself.

The Australian Technical Analysts Association produces a survey of software and data vendors, which will assist you in assessing the products available. Contact them through www.ataa.com.au or phone 9299 6797. Shares magazine has published reviews of the main software packages from time to time and they should be accessible through their archives from www.fairfax.co.au

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