|A wealth of information can be found on the Internet, so I thought I would spend a few days "lurking" and participating in some of the trading websites. The sites I checked out were all free, or at least offered a free trial. Some sell something (seminars, newsletters, and the like), while some are more like free-access bulletin boards. I didn't review their training services or try to assess the value of the training offered. I just wanted to see what kind of trading rooms were available in the public arena. |
I started with PalTalk (a free service, www.paltalk.com), which Bright Trading uses for early morning communications with our traders around the country. By clicking on "Business and Finance" within the "groups" function, you get a pretty long list of "chatrooms." They are listed by the number of participants (although you need to refresh the page from time to time to update this number).
A few websites I looked at have moderators who update information during the day. A few of the sites are mostly text, with individuals adding most of the market data. I found that I preferred the sites that pass on useful market information compared with those that simply have chatroom participants pass on their opinions or ideas on certain stocks or the market in general.
Some of the websites I looked at move chatroom participants to an IRC-type chat (that is, Internet relay chat), where they can handle more traffic. Many sites also ask you to log in to their web-based chatrooms, which offer various forms of members-only benefits.
Another type of information site is the bulletin board, where traders post to "threads" to be read and reviewed at a later date. I have been participating in www.elitetrader.com for a couple of years, and I should disclose that Bright Trading sponsors the Professional Trading Forum on this particular website. This site, which is moderated, offers several categories for discussion. Elite Trader offers live chats free of charge for members during the day. For the most part, these chats are not moderated, and they allow for a free exchange of trading information. From time to time, Elite Trader also offers instructional and informational, time- and topic-specific, chats.
Naturally, Technical Analysis, Inc., offers a comprehensive Q&A message board that I help out with at Traders.com. This board can be reached by going to http://message-boards.traders.com/. With many resources available, this website is an excellent conduit for serious traders. This board is frequented by many readers and contributors alike.
Now to a selected group of live chats. I will just pass on a short overview of these sites; please understand that there are hundreds out there. I picked about 20, and then narrowed my focus. The following sites stood out, based on their content and lack of excessive marketing.
MindoverMarket.com: This site is run and moderated by Anthony M. Master (also known as "Market Master"). This website appears to have what seems to be the largest room on Pal Talk. Anthony Master has a pretty well-documented history in the market. Following the completion of his finance and business education, he worked with a financial firm, then moved on to being a highly successful professional day trader and private money manager for the last 10 years.
Anthony Master is joined by market strategist G.W. Francis Chadwick and Charles "SOESman" Benestante. The site has good real-time data and an excellent Q&A session most of the day. The site also has an excellent "MOM bot" (a market data e-robot that returns immediate data) for quotes and other market data, along with a "News bot" for updates during the day.
DayTradingUniversity.com: This site is moderated (and virtually taught) by Ken Calhoun. I was taken by surprise when, the minute I logged in (with a provided password), I heard Calhoun giving instructions to "sell Microsoft right now" and why. He used a candlestick chart explanation. Calhoun broadcasts from Hawaii, and has the chatroom open for two hours every day. There is also a "chartroom" where much of the information discussed is graphically displayed.
TraderTechniques.com: This website seems to be located directly on the futures trading floor and has a "live squawk" quoting in the background. The moderators kick in with stock and futures timing remarks. When I logged in to check it out, this site was well attended, with a couple hundred participants at minimum. It is essentially run by a long list of traders and support staff that also runs various training programs. The website has links to the many trading programs offered daily. You can review the biographies of the tutors on the website.
TheTradingZone.com: S&P traders and emini traders might like the group for newer traders called The Trading Zone. This group, along with the S&P Trader's Corner, appears to be sponsored by Spike Trading Systems. Both groups seem to have direct links for members to get additional information about trading and joining their trading firms.
Allstocks.com: This website serves as a launch pad for all sorts of trading destinations. You can judge the site's diversity by this list of links on its homepage: overseas markets, live stock chat, bulletin board, penny stocks, circuit breakers, CME Globex2 session, companies to watch, currency rates, stock picks, investment books, market makers, message boards, news and charts, and many more.
TheMarketVuShow.com: Here's an Internet radio show dedicated to trading. This website offers many speakers on an almost-daily basis who talk about various aspects of trading. I found the radio show's "information robot" and other news items to be very informative. I found the daily discussions to be interesting and would benefit active traders. Market Vu also links to Yahoo! Group and sends out email notices with its calendar of events, events that include topics such as trading mentoring and trading psychology.
Zooming through chatrooms
The Internet has proved to be overflowing with information. Traders who trade full time for a living won't have too much time to participate in these "live" chatrooms, but the bulletin boards can be, and are, utilized after trading hours. I like to see questions presented and answered on a timely basis. (Before I get any indignant letters, I'm not saying that serious traders don't take part in these rooms; they may just choose to participate selectively.)
Simply having a place to go where you can interact with others sharing the same interests can be of value, especially to the casual or novice trader. Just seeing information presented in the proper (and timely) format can certainly help speed up a trader's learning curve.
I like chatrooms that have "robots" spouting factual information like news, quotes, and upcoming announcements from the companies or the government during the day. I steer clear of single trading vehicle/style/strategy locations. Many of these sites are simply selling a piece of software or methodology and are of little use to a serious trader. Rather, I would look for a group that has participants with various trading styles where I could pick and choose information that fits my current strategies. And as always, don't look for "magic bullets" from any single person or chatroom, and run away from anything that resembles a "pump and dump" location (that is, any website that touts specific stocks on a continuous basis). If you look around, you may find a group that fits your particular personality and trading style.
Ask questions right away to get a feel for the atmosphere of the chatroom you're in. That way, you will develop a sense of both the professionalism of the site, and how "user friendly" the site is. Be sure to read the rules that apply to each site, and follow the proper protocol.
Don Bright is with Bright Trading (www.stocktrading.com), a professional equity corporation with offices around the US.
Current and past articles from Working Money, The Investors' Magazine, can be found at Working-Money.com.