thinkorswim Research Tools

Updated Wednesday, July 27, 2011

 Research Tools Grade: C

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Note: On June 11, 2009, thinkorswim was acquired by TD Ameritrade.  Because of this, as of July 27, 2011, all new accounts must be opened through TD Ameritrade.  Existing thinkorswim accounts will soon be transferred from clearing firm Penson Financial Services to TD Ameritrade Clearing, Inc.  Existing customers can still trade on the thinkorswim desktop platform for the time being but web and mobile trading must be done on TD Ameritrade platforms.  For the purposes of this site, please read our TD Ameritrade reviews as we will no longer be covering thinkorswim.


Thinkorswim is not so much an integrated research platform as a collection of powerful tools. The Gadget tool has some useful applications and even includes an option to view a streaming feed of CNBC.  Mytrade is an interesting take on integrating social networking into a trading platform.  The stock screener and alerts tools have advanced features not found at other brokers. Rounding out the list are an events calendar and heat map.  Thinkorswim gets credit for having a truly unique set of research tools but falls short because of a complete lack of many fundamental research offerings, such as analyst reports and financial statements.


Gadget Tool
The gadget tool is found on the left hand side of the thinkorswim interface and can be used as a calculator, a news aggregator, internet radio station, CNBC video feed and more.  News articles are provided by Dow Jones, Business Wire and Globe Newswire (click on images for larger views):

Thinkorswim's mytrade allows users to share their trading activity and view the activity of others. Users can copy the trading activity of others by clicking on the copy buttons next to each trading idea. Despite the fact that the ease of simply following the trading activity of others somewhat frigthens us, it is nevertheless a pretty cool tool:

Alerts are user customizable triggers that notify the user in the thinkorswim application or send an email when certain market conditions are met.  Highly complex scripts can be designed to trigger alerts, making them very powerful but also more difficult to configure compared to alerts found at other brokers.  Here is an alert that we created to trigger when the MACD reached a certain threshold:

Stock Hacker
Stock Hacker is thinkorswim's name for their stock screener. This is the only stock screener that we have come across that allows for filtering based off of complicated technical indicator. For instance, here is a screening that we submitted based on Market Cap, Yield, P/E Ratio and Bollinger Band Crossover:

Other technical indicators available include MACD Histogram Crossover, Momentum Crossover and Stochastic Crossover.  We are impressed with the level of customization available for each filtering criteria as well.

Spread Hacker
Similar to Stock Hacker, the Spread Hacker tool helps users find spreads based on customizable filtering criteria.

The Calendar page shows a daily, weekly or monthly view of dividend, earnings, conference call and stock split events.  Here is a look at events that are set to take place in the following week:

Heat Map
Heat Maps are commonly used graphical representations of trading activity.  The heat map at thinkorswim can be customized to show stocks that trade on particular exchanges or are in specific industries.  Here is a heat map that shows the financial firms that are part of the S&P 500:

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