Traders often want to see a graphical representation of stock prices over a specific period of time. For this purpose, a stock chart is the most useful tool. Some people call them time-series plots. While the vertical axis (or Y-axis) represents the prices, the horizontal axis (or X-axis) indicates the time scale. Investors turn to charts not just to analyze trends but also to predict the price directions of stocks.
Technical analysts also get a lot of benefits from stock charts because they don’t use it for technical analysis alone. Since charts provide a graphical representation of the price movements of stocks relative to the time period, they are very helpful even for fundamental analysts.
Take note that, most of the sites are free but some of them have a premium paid version. This review will only cover the free portion of the websites, which, in our opinion, is more than enough for most traders. We hope that this article will help you bring your technical analysis a few notches higher.
TradingView’s free version will allow you to look at three simultaneous indicators. You also have the option to apply indicators other TradingView members created. What we liked about TradingView is that it provides a snapshot gauge display that distinctly indicates combined buying signals or selling signals. However, we found it difficult to read and navigate TradingView’s interface when we compared it with other charting options.
TradingView also lets out the Van Gogh in you because you can draw anything you want on the chart: notes, price direction arrows, underlines, circles, or anything else that you think would be useful when you make a trading decision. Most charting options are quite stiff when it comes to this feature because they only allow you to draw straight lines, such as those to mark resistance and support.
You can also save and load various chart layouts and place two charts of two different stocks on the screen for easy comparison. There’s also a strategy tester and a stock screener tool that you can use for your analysis. Here’s a cool thing to try: the “magnet mode” which you can use when you’re creating charts or drawing lines.
It's not only stocks that you can chart on TradingView but other data as well. You can do Futures, Forex, Bitcoin, Contracts for Difference (CFDs), indices, economic data, and global data but take note that there is a delay in Futures. The site also provided quotes for many global stock exchanges.
The site also lets you display multiple charts simultaneously and it can split your display, so you can have a view of the big picture. If you want to access all of TradingView’s features, you have to subscribe to them. The pro plan starts at $9.95 a month and additional plans range up to $39.95 per month.
StockCharts distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack because it has already won an award as a charting tool. It gives users access to real-time intraday data. The charting tools will help investors find stocks and other financial instruments that meet their criteria. The site has a wide array of free tools and ways to analyze any stock chart that the investor wants. The biggest downside of the free version is that you cannot save your charts, so you have to start over every time. Furthermore, you can only do 6 indicators.
Charting school is a sizeable educational portal that’s specifically for investors and traders. Whether you are an intermediate or advanced trader, you can learn something new in charting school. Charting school has four sections:
- Table of Contents – To learn about strategies, concepts and common terms that investors use in technical analysis
- Charting Resources – The different charting tools that you can use
- Scanning Resources – This is basically StockCharts’ advanced scan engine
- Educational resources – This is for advanced learning on technical analysis and investing
All users can access every type of chart, overlay, and indicator but there are some options that only paying subscribers can open. For free users, only up to three years of data for both daily and weekly charts are available. Paying subscribers can go back farther than three years and have access to intraday data. They can also view monthly charts and for most of them, can access over 20 years of data.
This is one of the oldest free streaming chart services so expect it to have a lot of enhancements. For one, the tools and charting run seamlessly even on a browser. If you access the free FSC version, you will also be able to access streaming tickers and news headlines that they compile from different free sources. They also provide technical indicators and drawing tools, as well as a stock comparison feature.
You can save portfolios, scan for stocks, and create various chart layouts. It also enables you to create alerts or trade reminders and share your charts on Twitter and Facebook easily. You have access to real-time index and Forex data and also data for Canadian stocks, although on a delayed basis. Plus, there are pre-set watch lists like sectors and industries that come with the platform. If you want, you can create your own watch list on the site.
However, the shortcoming is that the FSC only operates on two types of browsers – and both of them are old. You can remedy this situation by installing the TC2000 on your device. If you are a Windows user, Microsoft Internet Explorer (and Silverlight plug-in) are the compatible browsers unless you have TC2000 for Windows. Another annoying feature is the advertisement. Ads keep popping constantly. Although they don’t interfere with analysis, they do reduce the chart area that is available on your screen.
They make the Premium version available for $19.99 per month. With it, you can have additional tools including custom layouts, multi-monitor support, chart indicator-based alerts, real-time streaming scans, and sector-industry analysis tools.
Finviz is a platform that you can use for your stock market research. It claims to make available powerful technical and basic tools for both investors and traders. They are positioning themselves to provide traders with high-caliber financial analysis, visualization, and research. They have both a free and premium version. For free users, you can make use of features such as screening, quotes, and charts.
Premium users have additional access to intraday charts, ad-free screens, real-time data, alerts, and fundamental charts. Free users can get delayed charts and quotes without paying extra. Users can customize charts to his preferred settings. Premium users, on the other hand, usually get real-time data, fundamental charts, intraday charts, and back-testing.
Users of the platform can input various pieces of criteria and receive suggestions of every stock that fits the criteria. They can opt to search for stocks according to price, beta, specific candlestick patterns, market cap, RSI, average volume, float short, sector, or even outstanding shares. The list is almost unending because users can generate the data from the platform to match their unique investing style.
Finviz also offers maps with no intraday charts with just three-minute to five-minute delays. You can also generate a heat map which is a great tool for quick browsing and analysis of large amounts of market data. This tool gives you a broad overview of the market, but traders can narrow the view to stock maps of a certain group, country, sector, exchange, or industry.
On top of this, Finvis offers an exhaustive view of the stock market in an all-in-one platform through its intuitive interface. From the homepage, you can see an overview of the global stock market indices which they show using candlestick charts. This helps the trader get a quick view of both the condition and performance of the whole market. As you scroll down the page, you can see a wide range of information such as insider trading, earnings releases and stocks with major announcements or news. Overall, you can surmise that the magnitude of information that Finviz offers can be a bit staggering.
5. Yahoo Finance
When you put them side-by-side, Yahoo Finance’s charting service is very similar to Google Finance but minus the extra bullet points that highlight key dates. Yahoo’s charting service is user-friendly to regular investors because it is clear, easy to use and simple. Yes, it may have certain quirks but over the years, it has proven itself to be a staple in the industry because of its reliability. This platform enables the user to use several moving averages and indicators in a straightforward manner for free.
Many investors find these capabilities very important in their trading methodology because they are not available from other sites. Another plus factor for Yahoo Finance is the availability of news headlines, relevant press releases and significant statistics that become very useful when one has to do deeper research into a stock or an industry.
But what makes it stand out from the rest of the field is its ability to deliver reliable, wide-ranging, up-to-date quote charts and information. Yahoo Finance has a feature that permits the user to set a number of indicators and moving averages – without having to pay for the service. This isn’t something that many websites offer for free because most of them will require you to pay for a subscription before you can avail of this feature.
Are Paid Charts Better Than The Free Version?
There is an abundance of good free stock chart platforms on the Internet but most of them intentionally leave out some great features. Obviously, they do this to force users to upgrade their subscriptions to have access to additional features or functionality. Aside from limiting the useable features, free charts often do not provide up-to-date or exhaustive data. Generally, they have a 15-minute delay and this delay negates the effectiveness of the free charting tools for day trading. Since free charts restrain exchange information display, it can also affect volume reporting.
Paid charts can give you real-time pricing with live updates, unlock more charting options, and lets you use additional features such as being able to save your charts or employ more overlays with your charts.
The usefulness of real-time data for your charts would really depend on your trading style. If you are a day trader who holds a stock for hours, minutes, or even seconds, your trading success often depends on real-time data. Having said that, active traders would often secure access to charting with real-time information through their online brokerage account.
If you are a trend trader who holds a stock for days or weeks, real-time data isn’t that crucial. However, your access to charting tools that can show you the most reliable buy or sell signals is probably what you need. These popular charting tools, which different traders pick according to their preferences, may or may not be available for free on some well-known charting platforms.