help with ib

Discussion in 'Trading Software' started by newtothis, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. I am opening an account with IB and its asking me if I want to pay for market data subcsriptions.
    Do I need the NYSE Open Book Real Time. What is it?
    Or the NASDAQ TotalView Non-Professional

    I have no clue what they are but I feel like there important to have.

    Can anyone give me clues?
    much appreciated
  2. JackR


    They give you market depth information and since you do not know what they are you almost certainly don't trade with that information now. Nothing wrong with that, I've never used them. It depends on how you trade.

    If you go to the NYSE and NASDAQ web sites you can find descriptions of them.

    Stick with the free\$10 package for a while. If you want more you can always add later.

  3. Thankx
    any tips for new traders besides quit while your ahead?
  4. JackR


    Once your account is opened immediately go to the Account Management function and under the Trading Access area open a paper trading account. The account will be avaiable the next day if you request the account during the normal EDT business hours. Use it to learn the capabilities and limitations/pitfalls of the TWS.

    I assume you have some idea of what you want to trade and how. I'm neither good enough nor conceited enough to offer trading advice. As you may or may not have noticed there is a lot of advice (and advice exactly to the contrary) here on ET. I've picked up a few ideas over time. BUT, a very great deal depends on you and your style.

    As you'll see some traders want very quick in and outs with a high frequency of small wins, others happily take frequent small loses for a few big wins. Others have different approaches. The term "trader" can apply to very short to relatively long time periods. There are many ways to make (and lose) money. It's your $10K (or $4K) at risk in your IB account. Be patient.

  5. nkhoi

    nkhoi Moderator

  6. RickyRoo


    Hi newtothis - it is a very confusing time starting with IB. JackR's advice is very sound. I had difficulty even finding out which tickers would give you the real-time data for those commodities/indices that you may be interested in. For your $10/mth data fee they only give you selected tickers, for others you have to subscribe. No one seems to provide a list.

    I will provide something of a list here to try to help you. JackR's crucial point is what is your time frame. Most of us are aiming for the short trade, minutes to one day. Because of this I have found that a DOM or front-end program to be extremely handy for my simulated trading (JackR mentioned paper trading initially is a good idea, he is right) - what it does is puts your orders including stops and targets into TWS on your behalf. You just click on the ladder at your price, sell or buy column and it does it. It also cleans up stray orders and warns you if it can't. NinJaTrader is one, Button Trader another - these two are expensive for beginners, so I use BracketTrader ($100 for life), see Bracket-Trader dot com. It is a bit of a learning curve but worth it for speed and convenience. It does most of my tickers, except Bonds (ZB) which it can't do as it has a ZB bug right now. BT works with TWS in simulated or live mode - BT itself also has a Live/Sim setting, so the best paper trading is TWS in Sim mode with BT in Live mode to use the live data. You DO DEFINITELY need to know TWS though ,for the odd time a stray order is extant at IB or in TWS.

    The other reasonably priced addition I use is the Ensign Windows charting software from ensignsoftware dot com. The brilliant thing about this ($40 pm) is that it takes it feed from TWS as well at the same time as BT. Ensign has a Playback feature, and you can by installing Ensign's connection software, not too hard, execute your Playback of a day's data for a symbol and enter simulated trades through BT - for practice on weekends when the live data is not running. The three platforms run quite nicely together once you have learned them thoroughly, there is a time lag while you put it all together. For quick order entry and close outs it beats TWS on its own for short duration trades, by a long shot.

    To quote JackR once more "be patient, learn thoroughly and practice, practice, and practice again.

    The symbols I am using so far with this setup are , ES (mini S&P), ER2 (mini Russell 2000), CL (Crude), QM (mini crude), ZS (beans), GC, (gold), YG (mini gold), ZG (electronic gold), EUR (Euro/Usd futures), HSI (Hang Seng), YM (mini Dow), $VIX (volatility, use with the ES and ER2), $TRIN, $TICK.

    Bear in mind I haven't used this for live trading, but in simulated mode it seems to be a good setup. A second monitor would seem to be a "must have" too. But if you have your BT on top of your chart one would do at a pinch.

    I hope this helps you, and any other "newto's".


  7. Rickyroo I have a few questions
    1. What do you mean by stray orders?

    I started out with zecco and I trade about 40-50 times a month.
    (this is my second month)
    I never had stray orders. What I did have was sometimes I didn't click the all or none button so my shares would be broken up when I bought or sold them. The charge was the same though. (4.50)
    There paltform sucks as hell though because there were times were I couldn't change my orders, so I had to cancel and place them again. Other times the charts weren't working.

    2. I'm fairly new to this (no pun intended) and not quite sure why I need other programs beside the one that I use for trading?
    Am I entering orders with other programs?
    Is backtesting so important?
    If I want 50 cents a share I'll play a volatile stock with volume around 5 mi. if I want to scalp 10-20 cents I'd pick the same stock and be in and out quicker. So what does back testing do for me?

    (I signed up with a free trial of but couldn't use it much bec. there was too much info and I couldn't focus on one stock. I also signed up for a month of but I think there worthless.)
  8. RickyRoo


    Hi again new to this. A stray order would be one that for some reason wasn't needed to be executed but had been submitted to TWS in any case. For example a stop loss, or a target stop. It might alternatively be caused by a break in your internet connection. Clearly you need to take some responsibility for checking your TWS screen for such orders. Bracket Trader does tell you when it thinks there might be outstanding orders. You just click the red "X" and it closes them.

    I have noticed that TWS also tells you when you shut it down if orders are outstanding. Truthfully I don't know what one should do with TWS when this happens. In simulated trading I have just clicked Cancel to the shutdown and gone to TWS and clicked "File->Close All Positions" and then proceeded back to the shutdown.

    I guess if you suspect that "rogue" unknown to you orders have got through to IB you should phone them. I would expect though that when you reconnect with TWS any such orders should show up in TWS automatically on connection.

    As JackR said in his post, you might not need these additional programs. If your volumes of trades isn't large and your timeframe is a long one, like hours or days, then TWS is fine.

    The advantage of a "front end" like Bracket Trader is for quick entry and exit of frequent trades, and short term trades perhaps in a fast market. You can pre-set no of contracts, targets in points ahead, stops in points behind, trailing ticks for trailing stops and all that sort of thing. It saves you entering multiple such orders which might take minutes in a trade that is over in seconds. Its mainly for very short term traders, perhaps doing 20 0r more trades in an hour or so. It also writes statistics on your trades to a file so you can put them in a spreadsheet to see your Win/Loss ratio and such things. the spreadsheet is available free on the BT forum. Bracket Trader is also free for ever if you just want to use the symbols that are built-in which are for most commonly traded commodities and indexes, gold, S&P mini - all those I listed actually. Download it and practice with it and see if it suits your market, timeframe and style - if not, nothing lost. It even has a "Feature Tester" built in so you can test its features without a data feed.

    If you are doing stocks that may run for days/weeks/hours, then TWS is fine. The other program I mentioned, Ensign is just a charting package which is a bit complicated to learn. You need this or one like it if you use indicators, moving averages or stuff like that. I know its in TWS, if TWS charts are enough for you, you don't need that either. Backtesting isn't what Ensign does, it does if you want, but I was talking about playing back a markets real time stream, say the S&P mini for a certain day, either at normal speed or faster, and trading against it for training your trading skills. Again mainly useful for short term traders of indices. It can though, playback stock data too, on a chart of course with any indicators you use on the chart. It takes quite an effort to learn to use it though, so if TWS charts is enough, use that. Ensign has a good help system of online chat rooms to help you set up.

    Hope this has answered some of your questions. Take JackR's advice, use the $10/mth data to settle into TWS using the Sim Trading side of TWS, then if you decide you need to subscribe to new exchanges/data then do so. The time to do that I suggest is when your sim-trading is good enough that you will make the profits to help pay for the exchange data fees.