As a chartist, the question that readers ask me most is which technical-analysis software do I think is best? I have to admit I am a bit spoilt on this front. I have access to pretty much all of the major charting software programs and use all of them on a regular basis, so I'm in a pretty good position to pass judgment. But what if I had to choose just one?
The answer is I'd love to pick just one. It would be fantastic to have everything I want in one single program. It'd save me lots of time over the long run. But I have yet to find the package that does it all. While they all tend to offer the same standard features, each tends to have certain areas where it beats the others.
When I'm watching the markets in real time, the package that has impressed me most is TraderMade's Maverick. The great beauty of this programme is that it's browser based. So, instead of having to install software on one specific machine, I can access my charts from any computer that's got an internet connection and the latest version of Java. This is great when I'm away from the office but don't have my laptop with me.
Maverick feels like it was designed with traders in mind. It is very quick to do analysis using this package, which is a vital characteristic if you're having to do your research in real-time. I've always liked the way you can shift the period used in moving averages live on the screen in order to find which ones work best, rather than having repeatedly to enter numbers by trial and error, as with most other programs.
The latest version of Maverick also enables me to follow market-moving news alongside the price action in real time. It alerts me not only to key economic data releases - such as central bankers' speeches and unemployment figures - but also to technical events, such as a price trading to its monthly low or when a market reaches overbought or oversold levels. Especially if you haven't got multiple screens with multiple data feeds in front of you, this is a godsend.
Another beauty of the package is that it comes with a lot of ready-made analysis. TraderMade employs its own charting team who provide constantly updated coverage of an expanding range of foreign exchange and commodity pairs. The analysis is shown next to an interactive, self-refreshing chart, so you can run your mouse over the screen and highlight particular levels, just as when you're doing your own charting. A sample appears on this week's City Trades page.
The full Maverick package covering currencies - including news and commentary - costs £400 a month, and £50 more for commodities. Without the news and commentary, the package is £300 monthly. So clearly, it's a big commitment. However, if you're a serious short-term trader - and particularly if you like to combine your own research with other analysis - I can thoroughly recommend this package.