optionsXpress iPad App

Updated Sunday, November 27, 2011

iPad App Grade: B

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The optionsXpress iPad app is one of the top mobile trading platforms. Standard app features such as balances, positions, watchlists, news and basic research tools are all here. The reversals and dragon tools are interesting additions. The charts are a miss simply because of their small size. Trading stock and options trading are both handled well with the exceptions of a few quirks. Most iPad users should be quite happy with the optionsXpress iPad app.

App Store Facts:


Upon launching the optionsXpress iPad App, users are prompted to enter their login information before continuing. Once logged in, the app consists of top and bottom menus. The top menu has a ticker and a logoff button. The bottom menu has a switch to turn on/off streaming quotes and a long list of menu items. Here are detailed descriptions of each of these items:

The Balances menu allows users to check their account balance and buying power per category. Here is the balances page for our account:

The positions menu shows a list of current holdings and summary per asset class below. Users can select to add additional holdings per position or close out positions from this menu. This is implemented well.

The orders menu displays recently submitted and executed orders.

Watchlists are user customizable lists of securities that can be created, modified and deleted all within the app. Selecting any item in a watch list brings up the quotes menu for that security.

Global Markets
The Global Markets section contains the latest prices and daily percent changes for a selection of international indices.

Gainers & Losers
The Gainers & Losers menu shows the top and bottom 15 stocks according to their daily percentage change. Selecting any stock from this menu brings up the detailed quote page for that security.

The Dragon
The Dragon is an optionsXpress proprietary tool that in their own words, "is designed to assist you in finding unique trading opportunities. Whether it's volume, volatility or open interest, The Dragon quickly identifies matching stocks and their options." Basically The Dragon is a slickly designed stock, ETF and options screener but we think it is worth checking out. Here are the results returned after searching for stocks with a high put/call ratio:

Reversals is a screener that shows stocks that have had the most number of bullish or bearish technical events during the most recent trading day. The screener can be filtered by index (S&P500, NASD, NYSE and Dow) and the type of event (bullish, bearish or both). Users can also search any stock symbol to view the bullish and bearish events that apply to that security.

For example, here is a view of those stocks with the most number of bearish technical events on the S&P 500:

This is an interesting tool but it would be a lot more useful if accompanying charts were provided that showed the technical events.

While the optionsXpress iPhone app has one of the best charting platforms among all broker apps, the iPad app has charts that are not as impressive. Charts can be displayed for time periods of 1d, 1m, 3m, 6m, 1y and 2y. Plot styles available include area, line, open / high / low / close and candlestick. 45 technical indicators are also available, including moving averages, bollinger bands and parabolic SAR. All of this sounds great but the fact is that the charts are simply too tiny! Charts should be enlarged to take advantage of the full iPad screen. Here is a look at a one year candlestick chart for Google (GOOG) with bollinger bands technical indicator:

The Market News menu contains small news blurbs provided by MarketWatch.  There are much better resources out there to get market related news.

Stock, future, basic option and advanced option orders are all available within the iPad app. Here is an order we submitted to sell 2 shares of Toyota (TM). If the trade window was slightly enlarged then the full trade ticket could be displayed without being cut off, a relatively minor but noticeable issue:

Advanced options order types available include spread, combo, straddle, covered call and married put. Here is a basic options order that we submitted to purchase 1 contract of Toyota (TM) December 2011 $62.50 Calls at a limit price of $2.00 and a expiration date of GTC (good 'til canceled):

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