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Online Information and Tutorials for Day Traders

11 of 11 in Series: The Essentials of Getting Started with Day Trading

The financial industry wants people to trade — that’s how they make money — but they want them to be successful, because that keeps the market functioning. (Exchanges are businesses, like any other.) Going through such free material first can give you a great sense of how suitable you are for a given strategy and help you make better decisions about the other training you'll need.

The following resources are particularly good for new day traders:

  • Chicago Board Options Exchange Learning Center: The Options Institute of the Chicago Board Options Exchange offers a series of online tutorials, classes, and seminars covering exchange-traded options in great depth. It also has a two-day seminar for experienced traders who want to come to Chicago. The site includes online toolboxes and calculators as well as a chance for traders to ask questions of options trading experts.

  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Education Center: Whether you’re a newbie who wants to learn about futures or an experienced floor trader who needs to make the transition to electronic trading, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has information for you. It has online training courses in trading in general and trading futures in particular, live online events in specific trading techniques, and papers that describe and analyze different trading strategies. The site even has links to trading simulators offered by different futures commission merchants (brokerage firms that specialize in futures), so you can apply what you learn without risking real money.

  • Institute for Financial Markets: The Institute for Financial Markets is a nonprofit organization that provides basic training programs for people working on the options and futures exchanges. Many of its courses are inappropriate for day traders, who aren’t going to be licensed and who do not have mandatory continuing education requirements to maintain those licenses. But some of them are appropriate, and a few are low-cost or even free.

  • NASDAQ: Let’s be honest here: The stock markets want to promote investing more than trading, because they want companies to issue stock on their exchanges. The kind of high volatility that day traders love puts off some starchy corporate officers. Hence, much of the information on NASDAQ’s site is about how to select stocks for the long term. Still, there’s some information that might be useful to a prospective day trader.

  • National Futures Association Investor Learning Center: The National Futures Association is the self-regulatory organization for the agricultural and financial futures exchanges. This site includes a lot of good information about trading futures as well as a tutorial on trading foreign exchange.

  • New York Stock Exchange: The New York Stock Exchange, like NASDAQ, wants to court investors rather than traders. Still, the exchange’s site has information on trading stocks, bonds, and exchange-traded funds that can make you smarter on those topics without spending a dime.

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