ASX Education: Best Charting Software

ASX Education: Best Charting Software


Over the last few days, we have received some questions about the type of charting software that we use here at Marcus Today. A few years ago while writing about trading software that you might find useful:

  • Check out Bullcharts (refer Brendon 02-9495-8400) …also provides live data charts. Comprehensive and flexible.
  • I have used a few over my journey, and the ones I like are Metastock and Beyond Charts (Metastock is US based and not always easy to deal with due to time differences, whereas BC is here in Melbourne and the support team are great). The software is typically around $1000 and a year of data $600. If you are hardcore into your technical analysis and managing a decent size portfolio, I would say it is absolutely worth it. The other investment you need to make, however, is time in learning the programming language. Might take a month or two to get up to speed. There are lots of formula builders online with shortcuts. BC language is probably slightly easier to learn, but Metastock more powerful. I hope this helps.
  • I use Amibroker. Lots of explorations can be written, and lots of program guides available. I think the software is around $400. Is it worth it, depending on how much you use it. If you are methodical/analytical, it has good outcomes.
  • If you just wish to view charts, then Commsec is fine, and Yahoo Finance (free) also is very good.
  • If you wish to scan databases for technical indicators, breaks of resistance/support etc., my preference is Protrader, I have used IC investor and Vectorvest as well, VV is better if you want to search on fundamentals as well as technicals, are they worth the cost? I think so if you want to put the time in.
  • For my modest portfolio, I can’t go past the charting and indicators available on CommSec if you trade with them as part of the package.


I used to use Metastock for years and then found OmniTrader – it is as programmable as Metastock with much slicker charts and signals identification with a great presentation of systems, alerts and strategies on the actual charts. Draw a trend line, for instance, shut the chart and months later it will alert you that the trend line has been broken. Brilliant stuff. I also use their Chart Recognition Package (extra), which draws all sort of indicators on charts…I was sold after it drew support and trend lines over my manually drawn lines that exactly matched. I also have the Guppy package – shouldn’t have bothered. The basic technical stuff is enough without someone else’s further derivation of the obvious.

Paritech is the data provider that almost everyone uses although some people re-package it and pretend it is them selling it to you. They appear to be the source with integrity.

Omnitrader is sold in Australia through a great guy called Michael Marks who makes a small clip-on sales through the Australian website and in the process is extremely helpful in getting Australians set up. The US software house that provides it (Nirvana) have developed a bunch of “modules” that add on to the base software.

Using End of Day rather than real-time data makes it a very affordable package and their VisualTrader software (extra) might interest the nerds amongst you – you may or may not find it useful – I like pictures, and this is a great visual presentation of the market as it moves. It also allows you to group chosen stocks in sectors and the software will track your “sector” and even plot a chart of “your” sector as if its an index.
There are a couple of small screenshots of OmniTrader below – In the first are all the signals produced that day on my custom list of stocks, and you can click on any of those to see the charts – example below as well.

Example chart of Nearmap (NEA) chart – note recent sell signal (red triangle):

You can set any alerts based on technical indicators. If you already use Metastock, the Omnitrader software will simply use your Metastock data feed as well. I suggest you contact Michael by clicking here. I get no commission on sales. I bought the End of Day Visual Trader software years ago and have the End of Day OmniTrader software now.

Other subscriber comments on software (a few years old now – haven’t had time to check links):

  • BullCharts leaves Metastock for dead and has excellent data feed and charting. The software permits complex formulas if that is your bag. It has the advantage of intraday scanning, and charting can be at one-minute intervals.
  • If your subscriber is semi-serious about technical analysis, then BullCharts is easiest to use. Metastock is far too difficult for a beginner. Joining ATAA (Tech.analysts assoc.) would also be useful.
  • I use MarketAnalyst and have done so for fifteen plus years. Australian developed software by traders and investors. Great support team, ability to use indicators and smart indicators to scan and short list Australian stocks. Live or delayed pricing data options. Cost of $770 for thirteen months using end of day date, or can pay monthly. Many features including orders can be directly placed from  the software. Great product web based so you log on. I originally spent $10,000 purchasing earlier software called TradeTech. Certainly got my return on investment and much much cheaper now in its new format.
  • For someone who really wants to get into it, Metastock is one of the best because it has been the most widely adopted and has been around the longest with a lot of development that has ironed out most of the glitches. Great tools for creating and testing your own as well us a lot of well-known indicators.
  • I have bought Safety In the Market software – initially expensive, but annually is quite reasonable ($650). Plots longs and shorts with exit stops along the way. If you are trading within the “rules”, it produces some very good results. Great charting too…if you’re into charting. Trading with Macquarie and their charts are good as well. (I have had some not so positive comments about these “ABC” charts).
  • I have used MDS News Market analyser for the last ten years, an Australian company with great software that is paid by the month.
  • I have been using Stex Investor Software for years, and I am very happy with them. They are Australian, based in Melbourne, and find their after sales service excellent. They provide charting, and portfolio management software, and also a good ASX closing prices download service.
  • I use Easysoft and have done so for some years. This software is programmable and contains some interesting tools; which, if you know what you are doing, enable the identification of trends, cycles and the significance of any particular correction. Now, if your software does not enable you to do these things, you may be at the party but will be flying blind and consequently missing out on the interesting action. I should point out that I only use two categories of tools, but at one two and three parameter levels (f1,f2,f3). I have never quite understood the propensity of traders to insist on using various assemblies of straight lines for their analysis when a time series of prices move in a curvilinear fashion (dp/dt) is not constant.
  • I use Incredible Charts and find being able to set up a format I like and then look at stocks against that template (I use comparison with ASX/200, RSI, MACD and Volume on a single three year chart). Is a useful way to check against the fundamental view of a company for me – sure got me out of a couple of disasters early.
  • I have been using Market Analyst for some years now and am very happy.
  • I’m a bit of a follower of WD Gann, not so much his very esoteric view but rather the more simple trend analysis. There is an Australian designed package by a guy in Queensland called Gannalyst Pro. As well as a full feature set of Gann tools, it also has a good range of more traditional indicators including Bollinger and ATR. Also a good tab for setting Stop Losses on a variety of ATR definitions. Best of all it is available for free with a donation suggested if you like it! They recommend Just Data as the data supplier, but you can use anyone so long as they supply data in Metastock format.
  • NinjaTrader – an online trading platform that has charting software and tools in it. It comes with drawing tools and again ‘100s of technical indicators’ and stock screening software. For real-time and historical data, you must purchase a separate data feed, but the program is free to initially trial and use with out being able to execute trades. There are a couple of reviews saying that it is difficult to add Australian indices, but there are third-party add-ons that look like they make life easier.

I also had a question about what software you can use for equities that is not just charting software:

We use Iress ($6,000 pa) through Desktop Broker, Thomson Reuters ($18,000pa) and Omnitrader (one-off licence fee). Basically, everyone in equities uses Iress but its not cheap (WebIress is a cheap alternative for you, but I don’t like it). Investment banks use Bloomberg or ThomsonReuters.

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