Product Review: ActiveTick.com by Donald Pendergast
ActiveTick is one of the newer up-and-coming challengers to the market data/charting/automated trading niche. The product appears to be well thought out and offers many useful features that will appeal to a variety of budget-conscious stock and forex traders (intraday, swing, and position) — things like advanced charting with real-time data direct from the exchanges; integrated trading via TD Ameritrade, FXCM, and Gain Capital Forex; programmable indicators; trading strategies and backtesting; and more. Here’s an overview of the main features.
ActiveTick (AT) makes much of the fact that the data they deliver is ultra-low latency, delivered directly from the exchanges. In running the software side by side with TradeStation 9.0, it appears that this is not an exaggeration. The basic demo version of the software provided US stock data without issue or delay. Quote screens can be easily modified with the column headers that are most useful to a given trader and the color/fonts of the screens can also be changed around to suit a user’s preference, too. There is no limit to the number of streaming quotes that can be added to a quotes list; more than 250 preinstalled symbol lists arrive with the platform, making it easier to organize trading activities by index, sector, and industry groups — a nice feature for traders who watch for market rotation action.
Individual quotes can be called up for any given ticker, providing a snapshot look at key price data fields. There is also a time and sales view. AT also offers a Microsoft Excel add-in to enable users to handle serious number-crunching tasks directly from the AT feed. You can also download tick data and bar data that can be requested via an easy GUI and analyzed for patterns. An interesting feature is the “quick quote designer,” which enables a user to custom design a specific quote layout for a given ticker symbol, with dozens of different market data inputs from which to choose.
AT also features an easy-to-use heatmap feature (Figure 1), similar to ones you may have used at Fidelity and other major brokerage firms. This also offers a way to analyze the market’s stock components from a market cap or equal weight vantage and provides predefined sector and industry group components. Want to see how the individual component stocks of the gold industry group are faring? Just a few right-clicks on the heatmap screen will bring up the daily map of all the significant gold players, ranging from Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) to Exeter Resource Corp. (XRA). It’s a cool tool, indeed.