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Barchart is a research platform that has it all: stock, option, futures, forex, and so much more. Barchart gives its trader a variety of tools including rapid overview of the market. So, is Barchart what your trading needs? Read more to find out.
Barchart is a stock, option, futures, forex, and cryptocurrency research platform designed to give traders a rapid overview of the markets. In particular, the platform is suitable for traders looking to monitor watchlists, quickly find the biggest movers on the day, and stay on top of financial news. What sets Barchart apart from the competition is that it is free to use, although a paid version is available to remove ads and unlock several additional features. Overall, Barchart boasts a huge variety of tools and views, but the organization of the site makes all of the options appear somewhat overwhelming.
Barchart Pricing Options
Barchart is available in either a free or paid version – a paid subscription costs $29.95 per month or $199.95 per year. However, a free account on Barchart offers almost all of the same features as a paid account. The main difference is that free users will see banner and page ads, but these are not particularly obtrusive and can be disabled with an ad blocker.
There are a few other differences that may be of interest to some traders. For example, options traders may be willing to upgrade to a paid account to get access to Barchart’s advanced options screener, which allow traders to search for stocks for which common options strategies yield a high return. Paid users also get access to historical data dating back to 2000, as well as unlimited portfolios and watchlists (free users get five of each).
Still, for the majority of users, the bulk of the functionality offered by Barchart can be accessed with a free account.
Barchart provides information about stocks, ETFs, options, futures, forex, and cryptocurrencies, each in a different tab of the website. For each of these markets, there is an overview page that includes a roundup of some of the additional information available on Barchart – including top movers, news, and recommendations.
However, most traders will be more interested in the specific overview pages, which give more information related to how the market is acting on any given day. For example, under stocks Barchart displays a chart of sector performance compared to index performances, as well as lists of stocks hitting new highs and lows and stocks with upcoming earnings reports. For options, traders can quickly see which options are trading with the most volume or have experienced the greatest change in volatility over the day.
These displays can be useful in identifying potential trades, but beware that there is a steep learning curve to simply accessing relevant information. Because the overview pages offer so much data, across multiple different market types, it can be difficult to identify what pieces of data are most relevant to a coherent trading strategy.
Trading Signals and Recommendations
One of the most helpful features of Barchart is the inclusion of ratings-based trading signals for stocks and ETFs. The platform runs several short-term, medium-term, and long-term technical indicators, and highlights stocks and ETFs that have tripped these indicators in either the buy or sell direction. In addition, Barchart makes it easy to identify stocks and ETFs that are given a 100% buy or sell rating by the platform’s algorithm.
Stock, Options, and ETF Screeners
Barchart includes separate screeners for stocks, options, and ETFs. The stock screener is not as comprehensive as FinViz or Trade Ideas, but for free Barchart users it does offer enough versatility to begin identifying potential trades. There is a holistic set of parameters to cater to both short-term and long-term investors, although it falls somewhat short on the availability of technical indicators compared to other stock screeners. The ETF screener is highly similar to the stock screener and features many of the same parameters.
Moreover, making complex screens is time-consuming because of the cumbersome drop-down menu setup for adding filters. However, free accounts can save up to five screens and paid accounts can save an unlimited number of screens.
The options screener, on the other hand, is quite capable. There are a decent number of filters related to the stocks underlying available options, although Barchart still can’t compare with a dedicated options screener service such as OptionsSamurai. Helpfully, there are also pre-defined screens for common options trading strategies. Keep in mind that while free Barchart users can access the options screener results and even create basic options screens, they cannot add advanced filters to create more complex screens.
Barchart isn’t a dedicated news platform like Benzinga Pro, but for the sheer volume of news it captures it can certainly be used as one. The platform pulls in news from major news outlets as well as financial outlets, and organizes articles according to the market type or market sector they relate to. Since there are so few stories that escape Barchart’s aggregation, it is a very effective way to keep on top of relevant financial news.
The downside to Barchart compared to a stock news platform like Benzinga Pro is that the news isn’t quite as fast or as digestible. Barchart doesn’t put the same premium on instant headline delivery. There is also no way to quickly see the beginning of an article for most stories – you’re limited to previewing the headline. Finally, there is no squawk box function for traders who prefer to get the news by audio.
Somewhat surprisingly, Barchart does offer the ability to plot technical charts for stocks. The charts have a wealth of capabilities, including drawing tools and the ability to overlay a huge variety of technical studies. Importantly for day traders, the charts can even plot intraday data down to one-minute intervals. While these technical charts are somewhat disconnected from the rest of the platform and even open in a new window, they are surprisingly powerful for a free software.
Watchlists and Portfolios
Barchart also includes the ability to create customized watchlists and portfolios. Here, the functionality is not vastly different than what traders have come to expect from online watchlists. However, one advantage to Barchart is that traders can sign up for end-of-day emails that update them on the performance of their watchlists and portfolios. Somewhat surprisingly, this service is available even with a free account – the only limitation is that traders are limited to five portfolios and five watchlists for free.
Customization and Layout
Barchart is a browser-based platform that separates its different markets – stocks, ETFs, options, futures, forex, and crypto – into different tabs. Overall, the organization of the website is relatively straightforward, especially given the immense amount of data and displays that are available. However, it is this sprawling amount of information that can make it difficult for beginning users to figure out which data is relevant, and to ignore everything else.
Paid Barchart users have some ability to customize how the site looks for them, particularly in the side boxes. However, even with these modifications, the overall structure of Barchart does not change much and this is not likely to alleviate any layout issues.
Barchart Platform Differentiators
Barchart is a news aggregator, although it’s not a dedicated news streaming platform like Benzinga Pro. It offers surprisingly versatile technical charts, although they can’t compare to the flexibility of charts from a software like ThinkorSwim. And most of all, it offers a broad overview of the markets similar to what any major financial website would offer.
So, the main innovation of Barchart is that it has put all of these things in a single platform. On the one hand, this is helpful for day traders who need access to information quickly and in one place to make decisions. On the other hand, the platform can appear crowded and overwhelming.
What Type of Trader is Barchart Best For?
Barchart is designed to cater to the widest possible array of traders. There is information about not only stocks, but also ETFs, options, futures, forex, and cryptocurrencies. On top of that, it caters to both day traders and long-term investors by offering a balanced mix of fundamental and technical filters in its screeners, as well as technical and performance overview charts that can span from intraday to multi-year. The platform is perhaps best suited for beginning and intermediate traders who want a free resource before diving into more specialized paid platforms.
- Free version gives traders nearly full access to Barchart
- Information about stocks, ETFs, options, futures, forex, and cryptocurrency
- Surprisingly versatile technical charts
- Advanced options screener
- Excellent financial news aggregator
- Wealth of information can be overwhelming
- Stock screeners are light on technical parameters
- Stock news is slower and less digestible than for dedicated news services