Review of Schwab’s StreetSmartPro Stock Trading Software

In much the same way that brokerage firm Charles Schwab pioneered discount stock trading, its website www.schwab.com pioneered the era of online trading. And, with the advent of active trading, Schwab once again led the way with its StreetSmartPro platform, designed to be a fast and complete resource for frequent traders needing a lot of information in a well-organized package. Here’s what those active traders are finding.

Overview of StreetSmartPro

Like most online trading software, Schwab’s version is arranged in a window with a vertical as well as a horizontal menu (though both can be moved to the opposite slot). The horizontal menu along the top of the window displays all the pertinent account information, and even allows for toggling between multiple accounts. The vertical menu to the left displays one-click buttons to all of Schwab’s trading tools (discussed below).

Where StreetSmart Pro stands out is its multiple-workspace environment, each of which is customizable in terms of charts, watchlists, trading windows, alert windows, news, market data (top ten, new high and lows), and more. All of those sub-windows are also fully customizable, in terms of color, size, font, etc.

At first glance, StreetSmartPro is clearly a robust stock trading tool, though not necessarily without peers when it comes to speed and utility. Upon closer inspection though, Schwab’s tool includes two features are unmatched by almost any other online trading software … the Strategy Tester, and the Screener.

Strategy Tester

The Strategy Tester is precisely what it sounds like it is – a virtual ‘dry run’ of a trading indicator to see what sort of profit it may produce in a real-world simulation.

A couple of dozen basic technical signals are pre-packaged (moving average crossovers, Bollinger band signals, DMI crosses, etc) with default settings, but any of them can be copied and/or modified.

Better still, different entry and exit signals can be mixed and matched. For instance, a MACD-based entry may be followed by a stochastic-based exit. In fact, money management or profit-protection exits can be applied just as easily.

Testing a particular stock trading strategy is easily accomplished, for as many bars as the trader wishes, and whatever group of stocks (pre-built or custom-built) a trader wishes. The simulated results are presented on a stock-by-stock-basis.

A strategy can also be overlaid, with buys and sells, on a chart template.

Stock Screener

Dozens of stock screeners can be easily accessed – many for free – by traders. The StreetSmartPro Screener is far more complete than the vast majority of them. An unlimited combination of criteria ranging from technical indicators to fundamental data to market cap to sector (and industry) can be screened.

The platform includes a variety of pre-defined screeners, though most traders will want to build and save their own for use again later.

Charting

New chart windows are a snap to open, though one window per workspace may suffice. A simple double-click on any ticker symbol in any window (such as a watchlist) will toggle that symbol to the chart, and plot it nearly instantaneously. And, the chart window is tabbed with multiple timeframes so traders can review a chart from several time perspectives with ease. The default tabs range from one-minute bars to monthly bars, though the tabs’ setting can be customized, or added and subtracted, as needed.

All of the major technical indicators are available for display on StreetSmartPro’s charts, and once a trader has created a chart look he/she is happy with, it can be saved as a template and re-applied in the future.

Other Nifty Trading Tools

Schwab’s sector/industry quickly breaks down results from sector, to industry, and then to the individual stock level, helping traders quickly pinpoint where the current and budding trends are. Performance rankings are provided in several timeframes, and a simple click of a come header will re-sort the rankings fort that column’s period.

The stock trading window is multi-purposed; stock, option, and advanced option trades and spreads each have their own tab in the window, but a simple click of any ticker in any window will send that ticker to the trading window where a trader only needs to fill in the trade size and make a couple of mouse clicks to execute it.

Bottom Line

Schwab’s StreetSmartPro leaves little to be desired, and much to be appreciated. While the online broker is on target with the obviously important features, the software can easily spoil users with the little things that make trading so much easier, such as the one-click symbol toggle that sends that ticker to the chart and trading windows.