Futures charting on thinkorswim is a constant headache

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by usedtowork, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. I really like thinkorswim - the broker, the company, and the software platform - but you really need to watch out if you're planning to use their platform for charting futures:


    No, crude did not jump $2 in one minute this afternoon.

    Frequently, many futures charts (especially popular ones like ES) will stop working at the least opportune times e.g. market open or on big news. I know this isn't a problem on my end because I'll turn on the ShadowTrader feed to find he's experiencing the same thing, and I'll subsequently have the (excellent) support team at TOS confirm the problem.

    I currently keep only a small account in TOS consisting of some long-term investments, solely so I can use the TOS software for charting, however I think I may start looking for alternatives. I don't want to derail a thread created to share my concerns with TOS futures charting, but if anyone can recommend a software package that can chart futures with rock-solid reliability even in the busiest times, please feel free to send me a PM.
  2. You really should open an account with a futures firm if you're day trading futures. Browse the brokers page. It really depends on what you want for commissions, margins, support, etc. If you just want the data, you'll likely have to pay for it. There are some brokers like OEC who don't charge a data fee but you'll obviously have to fund an account.
  3. I use TradeStation on OEC - For no data charge you cannot beat the OEC charts. You can trade from them which is really cool. TOS might be good for options but theyare not a futures firm.
  4. Yeah, they're CL daily charts have been broken forever. They have highs that are lower than the closes and other strange things that shouldn't happen. I keep contacting them about it and they blame it on the data provider, which I kind of believe since it only seems to happen with /CL, but still annoying.
  5. That is not really a spike but probably an automatic switchover of CL contract months. It looks like from CL U9 to CL V9.
  6. Yes, that's from the roll over. I have a feature request in to them to add a marker of some sort to the chart to indicate that in case people forget.

    I was refering to the dailies just being wrong. Make your daily candles "unfilled" to see all sorts of strange things in the /CL charts....


    Because of these errors I've been using /CL for intra day, but /QM for longer term charts.
  7. That's likely the case but as you can see from the title bar (hidden in the first pic), it's clearly the U9 September chart that I've called up:


    Furthermore the live and paper accounts were showing different charts for the same contract at the time.

    Confusing to say the least!
  8. Maybe you should learn to use the software before you start a ridiculously titled thread.
    You need to type in the actual contract like /CLU9 or /CLV9, you typed in /CL which allows the software to “guess” which the active contract is.
    One can say that they don’t like the software guessing for you because it gets confusing around expiration, but this is easily rectified by typing in the actual full contract into the chart to eliminate any problems.
    I have traded futures with them for quite some time, and while they do have the occasional problem, like any broker, they don’t have many.
  9. With respect, that chart is showing a combination of the U9 and V9 contracts, while the label says it's the September contract - are you saying that this is some sort of "feature" that I don't understand as opposed to a bug? Especially when the TOS CSRs were scratching their heads about it?

    This is just an example that is visually descriptive, the regular times when ES stops updating around market open/jobs data/GDP/etc. doesn't really make for a good pic. That said if your experience with futures charting in TOS is different I'd like to hear about it, as I said if I'm having an issue and markets are open I'll quickly tune into ShadowTrader to confirm (not that my system is 100% flawless but when ES stops updating while my stocks keep working, that's not my issue).

    I typically get one ES stoppage every 2 weeks or so, usually uncomfortably close to market open or a major news release, how are you finding things lately?
  10. Used,
    By typing in just two symbols of a futures contract instead of all four you run the risk of the software switching from the old contract to the new contract by itself. Some would call it a feature, while others would definitely label it a pain/bug/stupid/etc. The only way, currently, to avoid this is to type in the whole symbol.

    You can look to the numerous posts today about IB having quote and software problems, I have had Ninja/zenfire fall behind on more than one occasion in a quickly moving market, and no broker I have ever used over the last 21 years has ever been perfect. That said, TOS was having more than its usual amount of problems in past weeks, but they seem to be doing better now. The quote will update faster than the chart sometimes, and TOS like many other brokers is not a true tick data feed so you are getting a multiple per second snapshot.

    Over my last two and half years with TOS they have had problems, but definitely not a real issue every couple weeks, they have made changes along the way to make things better over time. You need to have another live quote feed running side by side to know for sure if it is your issue or TOS’s. I have recommended TOS to many people and I would do so again, but if you are a futures scalper that cares about every tick then you should look elsewhere. Whichever broker you use, you have to have another backup for at least quotes if not trading also. Not having a second backup data feed is like not using a power backup on your trading computer – it just doesn’t make sense.

    If what your are saying is true, you can put two symbols in the active trader page and take a snapshot picture of the ES frozen while the other symbols ticks away.
    #10     Aug 18, 2009