Top Charting Web Sites
Wayne Thorp will speak at the 2015 AAII Investor Conference this fall; go to www.aaii.com/conference for more details.
The FreeStockCharts site (formerly BestFreeCharts) is a relative newcomer to the online charting arena, but has already made quite an impression on us. From Worden Brothers, the maker of the popular TC2007 charting software, the site offers charting, scanning, and portfolio tracking on a free and fee-based basis. The site is unique in that it offers free streaming “real-time” charts of stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), indexes, and forex (foreign exchange) without exchange fees. It does this by providing real-time data from the BATS (better alternative trading system) exchange.
For charting purposes, FreeStockCharts.com offers line, bar, and candlestick charts. You can plot charts on an intraday basis as well as on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. The site also boasts one of the larger indicator libraries among online services with over 60, all of which you can modify to your needs. You can also draw your own trendlines. Registered users can create chart layouts or templates and save them for future use. Once you save a layout, you can access your preconfigured charts from any computer.
There are also built-in watchlists covering U.S. and Canadian common stocks and indexes, Morningstar industries, and ETFs. For example, you can click on the Russell 1000 watchlist to see all of the stocks that make up that index. Users can also create and save their own watchlists.
Free users can create scans that will search the S&P MidCap 400 and SmallCap 600 constituent stocks based on over 80 technical and fundamental factors.
For $30 a month, you can opt for the Gold Service, which provides ad-free chart viewing along with expanded scanning capabilities.
StockCharts.com is one of the most well-rounded sites of its type, offering robust charting and scanning capabilities, as well as a rich collection of technical analysis educational content. The site offers free content as well as subscriptions ranging from $14.95 to $34.90 per month.
StockCharts.com features line, bar, equivolume and candlestick charting, as well as three options for point & figure charting. The site offers over 40 technical indicators and line studies, and non-subscribers can plot up to seven indicators on a single chart (unlimited for paid subscribers). Subscribers can save charts to a favorites list for future analysis and save their chart settings. The site’s free charting service displays data on either a daily or a weekly basis. However, it only offers three years of historical data to non-subscribers. A subscription is required to chart intraday data; real-time charting is $34.90 per month.
StockCharts.com offers a collection of stock scans that allows users to apply technical formulas to a stock universe to receive a listing of stocks that meet those criteria. Non-subscribers can run predefined end-of-day scans based upon technical indicators as well as candlestick and point & figure patterns. The site screens stocks traded on the NASDAQ, NYSE, Amex, and Canadian exchanges, and screens mutual funds as well. For $14.95 per month, Basic subscribers have the limited ability to create but not save their own scans, and are only able to view up to 10 results per scan. Extra! subscribers ($24.95/mo.) can create custom scans and view all the results of a scan (up to 1,000 symbols). With an Extra! membership, you can also scan on an intraday basis and access an advanced user interface where you can enter in your own scanning expressions.
What really sets StockCharts.com apart from other sites is its collection of free educational content available at the Chart School section of the site. Articles cover the basics of investing and technical analysis, as well as trading strategies and how to use technical indicators. The charts discussion explains common patterns that appear on charts and how to interpret them.