by John Sweeney
Traders don' t demand all that much in a real-time platform: prompt, accurate quotes that can be
squirreled away somewhere safe; price history charts that run from tick to 10 years or so; screening of
news and price action for trading situations; technical studies that can be invoked quickly and flexibly;
support for custom analyses; plus portfolio monitoring and alarms. Hey, we're easy to please.
To get all that (well, all except for the stuff about 10 years' data) and to get it on an Apple Macintosh is a startling new development, but TickerWatcher fills many of these requirements plus two more (screening
and dynamic datalink) that no other real-time retail program handles. Founder and programmer Bill Linn
has succeeded in empowering individuals via their computers (and links to Excel and datafeeds) to
compete with the heavy weights, just as Apple Computer cofounder Steve Jobs once envisioned.
Having been developed for the Mac by Mac-competent programmers, TickerWatcher makes many
concessions to the tabular history of securities analysis, with quote pages being the foremost (Figure 1).
Although most things can be performed from the mouse, only some things can be manipulated directly
via mouse without a detour through a menu. However, in comparing it with the many real time MS-DOS
programs that we've seen here at STOCKS & COMMODITIES, TickerWatcher's graphic, interactive interface
is clearly superior.
Most traders would begin by getting symbols into the quote screens, and TickerWatcher makes this fairly
easy with a batch entry mode that allows you to import a text file of symbols and security names.
Alternatively, filling out a complete entry screen is fast for a couple hundred entries. Especially fast is
importing presupplied lists (for use with DTN and BMI) of all optionable stocks, the Dow Jones 30 stocks,
the Standard & Poor's 100 or 500, and all futures contracts. "Bundled" editions of TickerWatcher come
with predefined lists of industry group symbols from Industry Monitors, giving you maybe 7,000
symbols right from the get-go.