Esignal vs Interactive Brokers as Charting Software
Being a customer of Interactive Brokers and trading using their Java-based charting software soon led me to subscribe to Esignal. Although their service is pricey, I no longer have to wait for the charts to populate or re-login after the Java applet crashes. It saves me time and access to the specific US stock charts is done in a couple of seconds. In addition, there is real time data covering the Greek stock market, which is a fantastic add-on to my subscription offering me information that is tough to find even with Greek stock brokers. Submitting trading orders via Esignal’s software is also done in milliseconds, using the Interactive Brokers plug-in.
I had studied a lot about charting software even before I open an Interactive Brokers account this year. I kept on finding forum and blog posts referring to the laggy IB trading software and how every serious trader should subscribe to a third-party data vendor. Then again, there were people who praised the free data feed of Interactive Brokers, which could be used in other free trading software, such as NinjaTrader. I went with that route to tell you the truth, since, well, it is free after all and wouldn’t cost me extra money to find out if I could trade using third party software.
First of all, I seriously couldn’t stand the lag of the IB trading platform. While it seemed quite fast when I began trading, by the time I added US stocks (only SP500) to track their share prices, things went downhill, as I was unable to trade forex. EUR/USD prices were updating once every 5 seconds and the Book Trader was useless trying to auto-center for what seemed like an eternity. Forex aside, clicking and dragging the US stock name from the main window to the stock charts was really simple and very helpful, although I had to wait for 5-10 seconds until all 4 charts were populated with the specific data and displaying the various technical indicators. I’m not talking about many indicators, just MACD and Bollinger Bands.
I then went on and installed various third-party charting software, such as Sierra Chart, AmiBroker and a couple more I don’t recall right now. NinjaTrader was by far the best trading software I came across and I had recently set up the workspace with NinjaTrader and was ready to watch the US stocks, when I bumped into the Interactive Brokers limitation about the so called free data fee. Apparently there is a maximum number of stock data you can pull from their servers and when you do, you need to wait 5 minutes before you make another request! Come on, give me a break. So, by the time I had scanned 10 or so US stocks, the dreadful message prompted me to spend 5 minutes of my time surfing the net! What else could I do?
I didn’t hesitate and visited Esignal’s website. I had heard that it is considered one of the best data vendors in the financial business, but also one of the most expensive. I spent quite some time until I make up my mind and subscribe to their service. I have now been an Esignal customer for about 10 days and I must admit I feel way more relaxed! Setting up the workspace – also known as “page” at Esignal software – and filling the quote window with ALL SP500’s stocks was done in no time and it is an easy piece of software to track stock prices. Linking windows with color codes is very efficient and adding another quote window with the Athens Stock Exchange data made a huge difference to my trading here in Greece.
The total cost of Esignal for me climbed to $160 per month, which obviously think is not that affordable for everyone. There is however the option of money-back guarantee but I don’t plan to quit Esignal just yet. On the other hand Interactive Brokers recently updated their trading platform, making some nice additions like the windows linking with color codes as well. As I have formatted my computer lately, I have lost my Interactive Brokers settings and I only use it for forex trading. Otherwise, I could surely give it another shot to see if things improved speed-wise.