Updated Tuesday, April 10, 2012
iPhone App Grade: B
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a new optionsXpress account and be in the money from the start
The optionsXpress iPhone App is one of the top mobile trading platforms. The latest version allows for multitasking, so users do not have to re-enter their passwords each time they log in. Retrieving account balances and positions is simple if not fully featured while the quotes pages are slightly lacking. Market news is extremely limited but charts are quite impressive. The included tools such as The Dragon and the Reversals Screener are interesting, though we think they could be implemented slightly better. A welcome addition to version 1.5.4 is the ability to execute multi leg options orders such as spreads and straddles. This makes the optionsXpress platform one of the best iPhone apps for options traders. Stock trading is handled equally well. The optionsXpress iPhone App is among a few of the top mobile trading platforms.
App Store Facts:
- App Name: optionsXpress Mobile
- Version: 1.6.0
- App Size: 2.8 MB
- User Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Upon launching the optionsXpress iPhone App, users are prompted to enter their login information before continuing. Many other iPhone apps allow access to general features, such as quotes and charts, without logging in first so it would be nice if the optionsXpress app offered this as well.
In the latest version, users who briefly close the app do not have to re enter their password. This makes multitasking much easier and we thank optionsXpress for implementing this feature.
Once in the app, the main menu consists of 14 items. Some of the major menu choices are described below.
The Balances menu allows users to check their account balance, buying power, margin requirements and holdings by category.
Positions shows a list of user holdings.
Watchlists are user customizable lists of securities and their latest bid and ask prices. Selecting any item in a watch list brings up the quotes menu for that security. Here is a watch list that we created with some popular oil company stocks (click on images for larger views):
The quotes screen shows basic stock and index price information such as last price, daily percent change, volume and 52 week range. Much of this information is not populated outside of market hours which we find to be very poor functionality. Here is the quote screen for Toyota (TM):
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 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. Here are the results returned after searching for stocks with a high put/call ratio:
From this menu we selected Wabco Holdings (WBC) which brought up a detailed page showing the put/call ratio and other pricing information. The Dragon is a glorified stock screener but nevertheless, we think it is worth checking out:
The Reversals Screener shows those 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 bullish technical events on the NYSE:
From these results, we selected BJ's Wholesalers (BJ) which brought up a description of the five bullish technical events:
This is an interesting tool but it would be a lot more useful if accompanying charts were provided that showed the technical events.
The optionsXpress iPhone app has one of the best charting platforms among all broker apps. Charts can be displayed for time periods of intraday, 1m, 3m, 6m, 1y and 2y. Plot styles available include area, line, open / high / low / close and candlestick. 21 technical indicators are also available, including moving averages, bollinger bands and parabolic SAR. Here is a look at an intraday area chart for 3M Corporation:
If you turn the iPhone into landscape mode you can view larger charts. Here is a three month candlestick chart for General Electric (GE) with a simple moving average shown in landscape mode:
The Market News menu contains small news blurbs provided by MarketWatch. There are much better resources out there to get market related news.
To trade stocks, select Trade from the main menu which brings up the combined stock and options trade ticket. Order types available are market, limit, stop loss, stop limit and market on close. This is reduced from the optionsXpress full web based stock trading platform, which also offers trailing stop and conditional order types.
We selected to buy 10 shares of GE at a limit price of $13.95 with a good until canceled duration. OptionsXpress does not disclose how long good until canceled orders are maintained in their system. When everything looked correct we selected the Place Order button:
This loaded the trade confirmation screen. We then selected the Confirm button which then generated a message stating that the order was placed successfully.
Open orders can be modified or canceled from the View Orders menu, with both actions working as expected. Once orders execute, new holdings can be viewable from within the Positions menu. Selecting a position loads a detailed position page where there is a menu option to easily close out the position. This is good functionality.
To trade options, select Trade from the main menu, which brings up the combined stock and options trade ticket. Enter the underlying stock symbol and then select the Option button to bring up the contract selection menu. Alternatively, users can view detailed options chains from the main menu. Selecting any of the contracts loads the trade ticket with that particular contract selected:
New to version 1.5.4 is the ability to execute advanced options orders such as covered calls and married puts as well as multi leg options orders, including spreads, straddles, strangles and combos. This is still limited compared the full optionsXpress web trading platform, and does not include 3+ leg orders such as butterflies and condors.
As with stocks, open options orders can be modified or canceled from the View Orders menu, with both actions working as expected. Once orders execute, new holdings can be viewable from within the Positions menu. Selecting a position loads a detailed position page where there is a menu option to easily close out the position. This is good functionality.
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