Firstrade Stock Trading

Updated Monday, February 8, 2010

Stock Trading Grade: C


Firstrade offers an average stock trading experience.  Initiating new positions via the trade ticket works as expected while canceling or modifying open orders also works well.  On the other hand, closing out existing positions is a greater hassle than it needs to be and could use some automation logic (see the last paragraph of this review).  The positions page could also offer basic gain/loss information, which is something we always want to see before closing out a position. Confirmations include trade execution time down the second.  Firstrade will suit the needs of most stock traders but at the same time offers nothing exceptional that separates itself from the middle of the broker pack.

Order Types:

See our Order Types page for an explanation of order types
  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop Loss
  • Stop Limit


To trade stocks at Firstrade, click on the Trading tab, which brings up the trade ticket.  We filled out our ticket to purchase 10 shares of PetroChina (PTR) with a limit price of $106.10 and a good til canceled designation.  Note that good til canceled orders are retained for 90 days.  When everything was set we clicked on the Preview button:

This brought up the order preview screen showing additional information such as the commission and the estimated total order cost.  Everything looked OK so we clicked the Send Order button:

Our order was submitted successfully:

We then clicked on the link provided in the order confirmation screen to go to the order status menu.  From this screen open orders can be edited or canceled.  Both canceling and modifying orders works flawlessly and instantly update the status of the orders in the order status menu.  After a simple modification, we decided to let our trade go through.

Once our order executed, our position could immediately be viewed on either the general positions page or the stock positions page.  Curiously, neither of these pages show unrealized gain / loss values for individual positions or a net total.  Though this does not directly affect trading per say, since we need to refer to this information as part of our trading process, the lack of gain/loss information negatively affects the Firstrade trading experience in our view.  Our research tools review shows how gain / loss information can be stored and retrieved using the X-Stream Portfolio application but this is a totally separate application from the main Firstrade trading platform.

We decided to close out our position so we clicked on the trade button from within the stock positions page:

This brought up the trade ticket with simply the symbol populated.  Many other brokers will automatically populate the action to sell, the number of shares needed to close out the position and even a limit price based on the last traded price.  Firstrade should add this functionality.