Share Trading - Tools

If you decide that you want to buy shares how are you going to decide which ones?

Tools offered by your share dealing account, scan the news, buy a data feed, guess?

Bespoke, Custom Or Your Platform's Tools?

I am going to state the obvious, if you want to trade shares then you need to decide which ones.

However this is not as simple as you might imagine, there are roughly 650 shares in the main FTSE index and around 1,000 AIM shares.

That's not as bad as it sounds as you may wish to ignore most AIM shares as they are usually regarded as high risk and suitable only for very experienced traders.

Most share dealing platform have a number of tools to help you decide what to buy but these tend to be fairly generic tools such as big risers and fallers over the last day, week etc, which sectors such as aerospace are doing well.

I found that the free tools available to me were inadequate for my needs, this is hardly surprising they were free after all.

Share Trading - I Have My Own Tools

At first glance it is surprising that the share dealing platforms don't seem to compete on the basis of analysis tools, but I suspect that this is an area where the platforms all buy in the facilities so don't have the ability to make changes.

I am sufficiently serious that after having found that the free tools were inadequate I went on to create my own bespoke application for viewing share prices.

I describe this tool not to show how smart I am but to show how serious I am.

If you read a bit of the site and think "The guy who wrote this is an idiot" look at these pages and consider; he may be wrong but is he truly an idiot?

I have a programming background so I went with a C#/SQL Server solution, many other people use Excel as there are a lot of freebies. Once you reach a certain level of sophistication it becomes very hard/not sensible to continue to use a spreadsheet.

I certainly wouldn't consider it odd or a bad idea to start off with Excel solution and end up with an MS Access based solution.

My Tools - Summary List
I have a desktop application that I wrote for myself that shows shares using criteria that I am interested in.

That may not be necessary you may be able to manage with Excel or similar.

Image of tickers, prices and changes

This is my start-up screen and it tells me a number of things and is of course sortable by any of the columns, in this case biggest change since yesterday.

The companies are split into four groups, Under Priced (teal), Buy Range (green), Fully Priced (orange), Over Priced (salmon).

This is defined by Max Price column which is the highest prices the share has been within the last couple of years with manual adjustments because of ......

The Ratio column is the current price to Max Price

The Change columns are the percentage changes over the last 6 days.

At first glance there is a lot of information on this screen but as your knowledge of companies grows you can look at this and know that some entries are less interesting than others.

At the top of the list is Sirius Minerals SXX which has a 17% drop and is in the under priced group, but I know that they have just been through a share issue so I don't need to spend any time working out why the numbers are as they are.

My Tools - Sector Chart
The flexibility to choose what I want to see the way that I want to see it is a given in professional investment circles.

Chart for Sector tickers, prices and % changes

This is my chart of companies offering CFDs to retail customers, it shows Plus 500, CMC Markets and IG Group.

The share price is a teal, green, orange or salmon coloured line using the same convention as the summary screen.

The grey line is the percentage change and the red line the percentage change over the last 14 days.

My Tools - Index Chart
Chart for Index tickers, prices and % changes

The same basic chart but for all companies within an index.

With 12 charts on a screen this is a fast and easy to understand way of browsing through all of the companies that make up an index.

My Tools - Commentaries
I found that by publishing my "back of an envelope" thoughts it helps to concentrate the mind.

It also helps to look back and think did I really say that or believe that?

Screen for creating commentaries

The commentaries that appear on this site are created when I look at a company as part of ongoing background research.

These commentaries are created for my benefit and I refer back to them when needing to make buying decision.

As I have created them and stored them in a database, they automatically appear on the web site.

It is also much easier to manage them this way rather than create word documents and create folders for each company.

My Tools - Big Drops
Big daily drops are rarely a sign to buy today, but once you understand why there was such a drop they may be a good buy in the near future.

Sometimes they are also a sign that not only are things bad now, but they will remain bad.

Screen for creating Big drop entries

Like the commentaries the big drops shown on the home page are stored in a databases and automatically appear on the web site.

As they are in a database they like indexes and market sectors can be browsed by the multi chart screen or the single ticker chart for more details.

Screen for creating Big drop entries

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