iPad App Grade: B
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Merrill Edge offers one of the top iPad broker apps. The overall app design is very nice, with the portfolio and account related windows having great interfaces in particular. General market news and research reports are provided by a nice selection sources. While the charts are about average, other features, such as watchlists and alerts are handled with care and are great resources for investors of all types. Stock and options trading are both mostly handled well, with our main gripe being that closing out existing positions could be handled a lot better. iPad owners deserve to give the Merrill Edge iPad app a look.
App Store Facts:
- App Name: Merrill Edge for iPad
- Version: 1.5
- App Size: 10.2 MB
- User Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Upon opening the Merrill Edge iPad app, users must log in order to access any of the app menus. User names can be stored while passwords must be entered when launching the app. Sessions are saved though so briefly switching apps will not require users to re-enter their passwords.
The app layout consists of a simple top menu,a small selection of tabs, a main panel with one or more windows shown at a time and a bottom ticker. Let's go through the more important menus one at a time to examine the major app features.
The following items are available from the top menu:
Select the Trade button to initiate stock, option and mutual fund trades. We cover trading stock and options in detail at the bottom of this review.
Type in a symbol in the Get Quote text box to load the detailed quote page for that security.
Select the Menu button to bring up a list of all of the menus in the app.
The Portfolio tab contains the following windows:
The Portfolio Summary window lists the balances for all linked Merrill Edge and Bank of America savings, checking and investment accounts. On the right hand side is a historical account balance area chart and a current asset allocation pie chart. We like the design of this section a lot (click on images for larger views):
Select a particular account to access detailed holding and activity menus.
Alerts are user configurable rules that trigger when specified market related conditions are met. The Alerts window lists triggered alerts and allows for the creation of new alerts. Here is an alert that we created for Chevron (CVX) that triggers when stock price reaches a new 52-week high, increases by 3% in a single day, or if the price hits $100:
Check the status of submitted, modified and executed orders from this window. Filter by account when necessary.
This window displays holdings, balances and open orders per account.
The Research tab consists of six separate windows: Global Markets, Watchlists, Market News, BofAML Opinions, Today's markets and Research & Analysis. Here is a look at the tab layout:
Take note of the bottom ticker, which can be customized to show US stocks, world stocks, account holdings and watchlist securities. We are not a big fan of tickers in general but this is a nice design with an interesting level of customization.
The Global Markets window features quotes and accompanying charts for the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ indexes. Charts can be expanded to fill about half the size of the iPad screen. Comparison between multiple symbols in a single chart is also available.
Watchlists are user customizable lists of securities shown with relevant pricing information. Selecting an item brings up the security details window for that security. Lists can be viewed, created and modified all from within the Merrill Edge iPad app.
The Market News window contains market related news articles that are provided by Business Wire, MarketWire, NewsWire, Dow Jones and Reuters.
This window lists the rating changes, price objectives and earnings estimates as reported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) analysts.
The Today's Markets window lists those stocks that are the most active or have made new highs or new lows during the current or last trading session.
Research & Analysis
This window features research reports provided by S&P, MorningStar and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML).
A separate tab labeled Custom is also available which allows users to select up to six windows to display in a customized view. Windows available are those featured in the Portfolio and Research tabs.
To trade stocks, select the Trade button from the top toolbar, which loads the order entry window with stock trading selected by default. Order types available include market, limit and stop loss which is identical to the list of orders available in the web based Merrill Edge stock trading platform.
We decided to purchase 1 share of Apple (APPL) at a limit price of $350 and a duration of good until canceled (GTC). GTC orders are held in Merrill Edge's system for a maximum of 30 calendar days before they are purged. When our order was set we selected the Preview Order button:
The preview order window shows an order summary, including the estimated commission and estimated total order amount. Once we confirmed our order we were provided with an order reference number and a link to view the order status. The Order Status window shows a list of recent trade activity and allows for the cancellation of open orders. Modification of open orders is not possible. Once orders execute, positions can be viewed from the Holdings window. Selecting the position from there loads the order entry window with the symbol populated but not the share quantity, action or price populated. This could be handled better.
To trade options, select the Trade button from the top toolbar and then change the type from stocks to options in the order entry window. From there, select symbol to load the options chain window. Options chains are small and could be designed slightly better. Selecting a contract from the chain will populate the trade window with the contract symbol.
We decided to purchase 1 July 16 $40 Call for JP Morgan (JPM) with a limit price of $2.50 and a duration of good until canceled (GTC). GTC orders are held in Merrill Edge's system for a maximum of 30 calendar days before they are purged. When our order was set we selected the Preview Order button:
The preview order window shows an order summary, including the estimated commission and estimated total order amount. Once we confirmed our order we were provided with an order reference number and a link to view the order status. The Order Status window shows a list of recent trade activity and allows for the cancellation of open orders. Modification of open orders is not possible. Once orders execute, positions can be viewed from the Holdings window. Selecting the position from there loads the order entry window with the contract symbol populated but not the contract quantity, action or price populated. This could be handled better.
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