Review of Online Stock Trading Broker OptionsXpress

OptionsXpress is one of the industry’s newer online stock trading and option trading brokerages, but the tools and services it offers its customers are already competitive with those available from industry leaders Schwab, e-Trade, and TD Ameritrade. Here’s a closer look at what clients can expect.

Overview

Whether you’re looking to trade stocks, options, funds, or futures, OptionsXpress can do them all – and all from one account. Accessing each type of trade is intuitive, whether it’s via a web browser or through the firm’s stand-alone ‘Xtend’ software. News from Dow Jones and other research is also easily accessed, including market commentary from MarketWatch and TheStreet.com, plus the company’s proprietary analysis. Online stock screeners and option strategy scanners round out the long list of features.

Trading Tools

OptionsXpress offers the obligatory stock screener, and it works as most do – finding stocks that meet a particular fundamental, volume, and technical criteria. That’s where most brokerages leave off, but it’s where OptionsXpress just begins.

A trading-pattern recognition platform is also included. Current flags, pennants, head-and-shoulders, and all the rest of the important stock trading chart shapes can be ‘found’ with the click of a button.

Other key features:

  • The position analyzer tells it like it is, breaking down a portfolio’s asset distribution, potential profit, and all the other important details.
  • The trader’s journal allows users to keep a history of their thoughts and ideas as they unfold.
  • Just because a stock’s not in a portfolio doesn’t mean it’s not worth following; the watch list allows this to happen with ease.
  • An alert manager tells a trader when a stock or option meets a certain trading criteria, even including earnings and market conditions.

Option Trading

The online broker is well-suited for stock trading, but option trading is its forte. OptionsXpress offers the following specialized tools for option traders:

  • The option pricer not only explains the current theoretical value of a particular call or put, but can also calculate the price of that option as underlying factors change in the future.
  • Spread traders can quickly identify stocks that are well-suited for option spreads, via the Xspreads Spread Book.
  • Option chains are a cinch to display, and the construction of complex spreads are just another click away from that screen.
  • OptionsXpress stands apart from other trading firms – including the option trading focused ones – with its volatility view…. a look at where a stock may be trading in a few months based on its history.

Charts

OptionsXpress serves up stock charts in two different ways. The first is ‘basic’ charts, with the full offering of technical studies available; as many or as few as needed can be added. For traders looking to take their charting “up a notch”, streaming charts allow for a fully-customized view of a stock’s history. These higher-level charts can include several of more than 100 technical indicators available. Moreover, chart templates can be saved and re-applied in the future.

Education

Whether an investor is new and just looking to get a grip on stock trading basics, or if he/she is a seasoned pro and simply looking to better use all the OptionsXpress tools, this broker meets that need. Several times a week, free webinars are delivered by OptionsXpress staff as well as by several of its partners.

And for those who are looking to become an even better-equipped trader, the firm provides a robust tuition-based personal coaching program.

Final Assessment

OptionsXpress may well have the largest trading tool menu of any online trading firm. Better still, with no maintenance or inactivity fees and highly competitive trade commissions, the brokerage is worthy of at least a test drive. Evidence? Barron’s has awarded the firm with a four-star status for several consecutive years. All of them were well deserved.