How to Turn Your Device into a Trading Station for Your Investments

By Eric Tyson

When you think of a stock trading floor, you probably picture a room full of traders wearing brightly colored jackets, throwing papers around, and yelling out market orders. Some of that drama still exists on the New York Stock Exchange floor and in the Chicago futures markets, but it’s largely a throwback from the old days.

Today, trading floors look more like insurance offices. They have rows of desks with computers not unlike the one that’s probably sitting on your desk. Professional traders do have an advantage: Many have high-end trading systems and software that cost thousands of dollars a month. That might be beyond your price range, but you might be amazed at how much market information you can get, for free or for little money, if you know where to go.

Mobile devices have become go-to devices for checking mail, keeping track of appointments, and — yes — wasting time. There’s no question when you’re looking for a quick check on your portfolio or to see how stocks are doing, your smartphone is your trusty mobile companion. Because of the increased popularity of mobile devices, they are included here. But the emphasis, still, is on good ol’ fashioned computers. Why? Online brokers say that about 85 percent of trading still happens on PCs. The bigger screen, dedicated keyboard, and better tools still make the PC the tool of choice when it comes to investing.

Using favorites to put investing data at your fingertips

The easiest way to turn your computer into a market-monitoring station is by bookmarking or creating favorites to key sites with data you need. Favorites (also sometimes called bookmarks) are links in your Internet browser that let you quickly reach a web page when you need it, without typing a long website address.

Most Internet browsers have this capability, and they all work slightly differently. But just so you have an idea, if you’re using Microsoft’s Edge browser in Windows 10, you can create favorites by doing the following:

  1. Navigate to the website you’re interested in saving.
  2. Click the Favorites icon (the one with the star) in the upper-right corner of the screen.

    A menu opens.

  3. Give the favorite a name.

    Choose a name that will quickly identify the site for you.

  4. In the Create In space, choose the Favorite folder you want to put the favorite into.

    If you want to put this favorite in a separate folder, you can create a folder by clicking the Create New Folder option. If you’re not sure, just use the default Favorite folder.

  5. Click the Add button.

If you want to access that address again, click the “Hub” icon (the icon that looks like three lines) and scroll down until you see the title of the page you’re interested in.

Putting key mobile trading apps a touch away

Investors are increasingly looking to their smartphones and tablets as a way to keep up with the markets, especially when they’re away from the office. The computer is still the ideal place to do most of your work — given the spacious size of the screen, increased processing power, and greater storage. But some investors like the simplicity of the mobile device or use it to keep an eye on their money at all times.

All the major mobile platforms (Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows 10) provide an app store. That’s where you go to download the apps you’ll want to track your money. You probably already know how to do this, but for more on this, consult iPhone For Dummies, Android Phones For Dummies, or Windows 10 For Dummies, all published by Wiley.

To make it easier to find the apps you’re looking for, consider creating an app folder called “Investing” or “Money” and putting all your finance-related apps in there. You’ll save yourself lots of wasted time scrolling through menus. In Windows 10 Mobile, do this by pressing down on an app on the Start screen and dragging it on top of an icon of a related app. A folder will be created to organize them.

Also, some tablets and smartphones allow you to make a button that quickly launches a favorite website. In Windows 10 Mobile, for example, launch the Edge browser and navigate to a website. Touch the three dots in the lower right-hand corner and choose “Pin to start.” The website now appears as an app on the Start page.

Compiling a list of must-watch trading sites

So you know how to create favorites and organize your mobile apps. But what sites are worth creating as favorites? Our suggestion is to take a page from the professionals and try to replicate the data they’re most interested in. Most professional trading workstations are set up so they can take on five distinct tasks:

  • Tracking the market’s every move
  • Monitoring news that has the potential to affect stock prices
  • Checking in on Wall Street chatter
  • Accessing company financial statements and regulatory filings
  • Executing trades