For about 20 years, software platforms have served as avenues to the marketplace for futures traders. Today, no matter if you’re dealing in commodities, equities, bonds, or currencies, you conduct your business mostly online.
Fortunately for active traders, staying in tune with almost any market is a routine task. Aside from internet connections, computers, and brokerage accounts, all you need to secure market access is one or more futures trading platforms.
Three Must-Haves for Your Futures Trading Platforms
When selecting a trading software suite, it’s important to realize that not all are created equal. Nonetheless, the best futures trading platforms excel in order entry and charting and feature customizable functionality.
In the contemporary futures marketplace, it’s difficult to overvalue the relevance of technical analysis. The study of price action is the go-to analytical base for many active traders worldwide. Subsequently, the pricing chart has become an essential tool.
The vast majority of platforms provide their users some form of charting application. Though these programs may differ significantly, it’s critical that the following three elements are included:
- Multiple chart types: Charts come in all shapes and sizes, each with a specific purpose. At the very least, a charting platform needs to support OHLC, line, candlestick, and volume charts.
- Indicators: If you have any experience at all in technical analysis, then you know that there are literally thousands of indicators available online. A powerful trading platform provides access to a comprehensive library of public domain and proprietary indicators.
- Low latency: The pricing chart takes exchange-direct data and places it into a visual context for the trader. It’s vital that this task is executed in real time, free of any undue latencies.
2. Order entry
The job of a futures trader is to buy and sell contracts on the open market for profit. Accordingly, almost all futures trading platforms are equipped with order entry capabilities. These items typically come in the form of depth-of-market (DOM) ladders, chart traders, and basic entry applications.
When it comes to order entry, being able to enter and exit the market in a host of unique ways expands strategic possibilities. At a minimum, your trading platform should provide the following order-entry options:
- Advanced order types: Having OCO, market, limit, stop, stop limit, and stop market orders at your disposal is valuable in optimizing trade execution.
- Automatic trade management: Managing open positions in the live futures markets can be a challenge. Advanced trade management devices, such as trailing stops and multi-brackets, can help lock in profit while limiting risk.
In futures, executing trades with maximum efficiency is a primary driver of profitability. To do so consistently, you must have a trading platform that is equipped with the proper order entry capabilities for the job.
The elite futures trading platforms give the user an opportunity to fully customize the application of order types, charts, and indicators. In addition, there will come a time when a trader will want to build a personalized platform function. To accomplish this task, the platform is best equipped with at least one of the following:
- An intuitive, easy-to-learn programming language
- Access to third-party software developers
- An adaptable technical framework for strategic integration
There’s one thing that all great futures trading platforms have in common: They let the user fully customize the trading experience. If you’re a market newbie, this may not seem important. But as you develop as a trader, it’s likely that you’ll want to tailor the platform to your preferences.
Need Help Choosing a Futures Platform?
For more than two decades, the team at Daniels Trading has witnessed the futures markets transition from an open-outcry to a digital format. This experience has led them to develop their flagship platform, dt Pro.
Featuring a unique and robust functionality, dt Pro is an all-in-one software suite capable of servicing the needs of any trader. Sign up for your free 14-day demo of dt Pro today.