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Computerized Investing > March/April 2004

Technical Analysis Software

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

One of the biggest impacts computerized investment analysis tools have had on the lives of individual investors is cutting down on the amount of “prep” work that has to be done before arriving at a finished product. Instead of calculating complex returns by hand or looking up stock prices in the newspaper, investment Web sites and software allow users to automate tasks and perform analysis more quickly. This holds true especially for charting and technical analysis—research based on trading volume and price studies of a security—as the days of chart books and plotting charts by hand are long past. Today, individuals have a plethora of technical analysis Web sites and software at their disposal to perform a multitude of tasks, from simple plotting of prices to complex trading system development and optimization.

There is perhaps no other category of investment software that offers a more diverse collection than the realm of technical analysis software. There are scores of programs on the market today, ranging from basic charting software to programs that generate buy and sell advice based upon astrological cycles. Faced with these many choices, it is important to identify what type of analysis you wish to accomplish with the software. From there, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the features and functionality of various software packages to find one that meets your particular investment and analysis needs.

The goal of this comparison article is to introduce you to some of the more popular “mainstream” technical analysis programs currently on the market. The programs included here all analyze stocks, provide some level of charting, and contain technical indicators. Furthermore, each of these programs can be used for end-of-day analysis, while some also handle intraday data, either on a delayed or real-time basis.

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