Cobra Trading Review
Executions and Routes
Cobra Trading is an online direct access broker offering competitive pricing, advanced trading platforms, and unparalleled customer service. This broker is ideal for intraday traders who demand powerful trading tools. Read the review to see if Cobra Trading is a good fit for your trading style.
About Cobra Trading
CobraTrading.com is a direct-access online broker offering active traders multiple trading platforms and top of the line customer support. Founded in early 2000 by Chad Hessing, Cobra Trading has been consistent with their high quality knowledgable customer support that can be accessed by messenger, phone or e-mail. Cobra lets users try out a demo of the three platforms they offer: Sterling Trader Pro, Realtick Express and DAS Trader Pro. Personally, I prefer Realtick Express and will review that platform.
Pricing will vary depending on the trading platform you use. The cheapest is DAS Trader PRO at $125 per month waived with over 250,000 total shares traded per month. Sterling Trader PRO and RealTick Express are $200 a month, waived at 300,000 shares per month and RealTick PRO is $350 a month waived at 500,000 shares trader per month.
These prices are inline with similar brokers like SpeedTrader.
Broker assisted trades and ACH transfers are free and they have some of the lowest margin rates at 4% compared to 6-7.5% for competitors. Commissions are applied on a sliding scale that starts at $0.004 per share for up to 250,000 shares and drops to $0.0035 for 250,000 to 1 million shares, $0.003 for 1 million to 2 million shares and $0.002 for over 2 million shares traded per month.
Various routing and passthrough ECN fees are on their site. On Realtick the passthrough fees are ARCA $0.0035 for taking liquidity and $0.002 rebate for adding liquidity. The SMART-COBRA (smart routing algorigthm) charges $0.0025 for taking liquidity and $0.0025 for providing liquidity. Using CSFB-COBRA, MLOPT-DELTA and MLXOPT are free of passthrough fees.
The RealTick Express platform has excellent tools and robust charting that includes pre and post market data and expandable time frames ranging from 1-minute to monthly charts. Seasoned veteran traders will appreciate the full array of tools and scalability second to none of this platform.
RealTick is known for solid charts that are scalable sizewise. Unlike many of the
well-known charting platforms from larger online brokers, there is something more solid and complete about RealTick’s charts which are a lot more aesthetically pleasing and not as choppy or sporadic like Think or Swim’s charting. I also like how the information box on the charts contains the value of every indicator on the chart.
Realtick has all the common indicators and studies like stochastic, moving averages, Bollinger Bands, MACD and pivot points. Users can also draw trend lines, Gann lines and Fibonacci retracements. The pivot points are conveniently plotted and integrated seamlessly along with volume bars, which sounds simple but surprisingly convoluted on many competitor platforms.
The level 2 window and time and sales are easy to read and full of useful information including the VWAP and after hours price change. The latter is missing on so many charting platforms but is so useful in finding stocks that may be tradeable in the post market. To me, the level 2 window is the core tool that I use to link to multiple time frame charts for a panoramic perspective on a stock’s price action. I love to overlap each set of multi-time frame charts and level 2/TOS (time and sales) windows with the SPY to gauge relative strength or weakness compared to the benchmark S&P 500 index ETF.
Newsfeed add-ons are available through the platform for additional fees. The streaming Dow Jones Newswire is a great tool for news-based intra-day traders to filter the data in real time.
Realtick Express doesn’t seem to have a scanner included. I like to use the quote matrix to type in multiple watch lists, which can be configured with the basics like last trade, bid/ask, dollar change and volume. Once again, this sounds simple, but it’s mind boggling how so many trading platforms just make the ‘simple’ stuff so convoluted in their attempts to add useless modern features like ‘pricing prediction models’.
The speed difference between online brokers with 1-second fills and a direct-access broker is noticeable after a few trades. The order routing is instantaneous in literally milliseconds. As soon as you click to buy or sell, the order is filled almost before you finish clicking. It’s that fast. Traders can select a preferred route with point-and-click execution through the level 2 window or opt to use Cobra’s proprietary smart route algorithm. Hidden and reserve orders are available and easily configured as a default. ECN rebates are applied instantly.
The watch lists are set-up through the market minders tab or multiquote. As aforementioned, traders can configure the columns to just the most useful information like Last, Change, Bid, Ask and Volume. This simple criteria gives me everything I need to know to determine if it’s something worth watching. Unlike other platforms, the watch lists begin posting information from pre-market rather than waiting until the open like the majority of platforms. This gives me an early headstart during my pre-market preparation routine to find tradeable stocks.
Customization and Saved Layouts
Once again, Realtick Express makes it so easy to save your layouts. It should be simple, right? So many other platforms make you pick between pre-set layouts that don’t scale correctly when resizing the windows and then require having to save the style, format and layout separately. It makes me question what the developers were thinking. Keep it simple is the theme with RealTick. I can simply swap out different layouts through the Page tab throughout the day. There is no need to have multiple layouts running at the ready, which severely drains resources and slows down the system.
RealTick Express is an incredibly efficient platform with arguably the best charting integration with tools and execution. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of today’s ‘modern’ platforms, but those are all useless cosmetic resource hogs. Due to the efficiency of just using what you need, the platform is incredibly light on resources and don’t require constant hardware upgrades to handle a ton of useless processes. It doesn’t the job efficiently and effectively.
Unparalleled Customer Service
As a customer for well over a decade, I have to admit hands down that Cobratrading.com has the best customer service dedicated to traders. Unlike the large discount brokers, there is hardly any wait time as they usually pick up the phone in two rings. II’ve gotten to know the support managers Dan and Brandon, who are relentlessly prudent and responsive to any and all inquiries whether trade or account related. Their knowledge is so in-depth that I am constantly amazed at how well they understand the mechanics of execution and routing. They treat their customers with respect and compassion, and not as just another account number. They are also one of the top short-shares locators I’ve every used. You can order short-sell locates directly on the platform contact them to locate ahead of time, which is what you should always be doing anyway. As the saying goes “Better to have a gun and not need it, than to need it and not have one.”
What Type of Trader Is Cobra Trading Best For?
This platform is tailor made for more experience and seasoned intra-day traders who seek flawless execution and in-depth, non-convoluted, simple, stable yet amazingly powerful charting. The team at Cobra is familiar with all their clients and you don’t waste the first two minutes of a call to phone support re-hash your account information like these other online brokers. They are prompt, courteous, frugal with your time and direct in every sense of the word. While the RealTick Express platform is really for experienced traders, they also own VenomTrading.com, which is well suited for new and part-time traders with the same world-class personalized customer support.
- Best charting and level 2 integration platforms on the market
- Best customer service with direct relevant solutions
- Instantaneous millisecond executions
- Low margin rates and top notch short-locates
- Per-share pricing with abundant pass-through rebates
- Linking windows could be easier
- Audio alerts would be useful on executions
— Inefficient Market (@inefficientmrkt) September 2, 2016