They say the success of a trader is measured by his/her balance sheet. It is plain and simple and everyone can relate to this definition. But behind a trader’s success story, there are a handful of factors that shape the way. Among them, there is the trading platform. Needless to say, this is the first and most important tool in a trader’s arsenal. No matter if you are a day-trader or a swing-trader the reliability of your platform is key to your success. And when it comes to forex trading, one platform stands out as being the most trusted among traders: MetaTrader 4. The title of the most popular trading platform is well deserved and I am going to explain to you why.
When judging through the eyes of a trader, a worthy trading platform should have the following features: fast and reliable execution (this is also a feature for the broker you are working with), good quality charts and charting tools with real-time quotes, EAs and algo trading (for those of you who are into automated trading), a user-friendly interface, financial news and calendars. While the list could continue, I believe those to be the most important. Now let’s take them one by one.
- Fast and reliable execution
Instant execution orders, but also pending orders and stop loss/take profit orders are a must. Coupled with a good internet connection and a reliable broker, order execution should be instant (no requotes) and easy to make (1-2 clicks). Order submission should also be available from charts (especially if you are a technical trader and have entry strategies based on chart patterns and technical indicators).
- Good quality charts and charting tools
If you’re a technical trader than you know how important charts really are. If you’re just starting out, then understanding technical analysis should be a top priority (considering you’re on a limited budget). If you’re a day trader, then you are dependent on charts and indicators for short-term opportunities. MetaTrader 4 allows you to open an unlimited number of charts for hundreds of assets and currency pairs. Furthermore, you have 9 timeframes to choose from (1 min – 1 month) in order to understand both short-term and long-term market dynamics. You have 30 built-in indicators at your disposal (e.g.: Moving Averages, Oscillators, Momentum indicators, etc). You can plot trend lines, Fibonacci levels, Gann lines and channels on all available time-frames. You can also modify the size of the chart windows in order to fit more than 1 chart on the screen (I wouldn’t suggest more than 4 charts on one screen).
- EAs and algo trading
We find ourselves (on a global level) in a strong trend in terms of automation, which also affects how trading is done. Computers are now responsible for millisecond trades, which are not visible to the naked eye, and complex high-frequency strategies. Although this trend started from the banking and hedge fund industry, also trading is now widespread among retail traders as well. Within the MT4 platform, you can develop your own Expert Advisors (trading robots) and technical indicators, test them and use them for yourself or even sell them to other traders through the MetaTrader Market. Of course, you need some basic programming language skills, but that should not be a huge setback if you’re determined to build your very own automated trading strategy.
- User-friendly interface
There’s a lot of complexity to a powerful trading platform, so translating that into easy to use functions is key to becoming popular among traders. Everybody needs intuitive buttons and functions that will make trading easy and allow them to focus on analyzing the markets. MetaTrader 4 is quite an intuitive platform, with real market quotes on the left side and top notch charts on the right-side. The top bar allows you to select all the tools and indicators you need, while in the lower part of the screen you have your account balance and open positions. Orders are easy to place either from the chart or from a different tab, the market selection is also at one click away and you can always watch the developments of your selected markets, even without plotting them on a chart.
- Live news feeds and calendar
The forex market is open 24/7 and influenced by many macroeconomic and geopolitical factors that are triggered around the world. Hence, there is a constant need for the trader to be informed and aware of all upcoming events with an impact on the markets. Failure to stay up to date with such developments can lead to substantial losses. That is why economic calendars have been developed, which follow the most important economic releases in key countries (e.g.: Unemployment rate, GDP, Key interest rates, etc.). In this way, traders can keep up to date with all important announcements and trade them accordingly (or at least know to stay out of the volatility they create). MetaTrader incorporates both an economic calendar and streaming news for the informed trader to watch.
All in all MetaTrader 4 is a complete trading platform which incorporates all the features needed by the modern trader (either point-and-click or algo). Day-trader or swing trader, technical or fundamental or maybe a mix between all these, you will most certainly find whatever you need to develop a successful trading strategy. With an intuitive user interface and a top notch charting package, this platform is a trusted partner for your long-term success.