If you are trading you need charting software, as trading is all about price and nothing to do with fundamentals. Most online brokers offer free online charting software that is actually very good. My advice is to use this free package until you really start finding its limitations; and frankly there is only really one limitation: an inability to scan the entire market for certain technical setups. Now whether one should be scanning the entire market is another debate. I think not; but let’s park that and move in to buying a stand-alone charting package.
The first thing you’ll notice is that there are a ton of options at various price points. The reality is that most do exactly the same thing, regardless of price.
I use AmiBroker, which offers everything I need and more. In truth I use about 1% of the functionality, but what I really like is the price and community.
It costs US$339 for the professional version (a standard version is US$279, but I paid up because I want to be a professional). The price entitles you to a full year of upgrades and is a once off fee.
The real win here (well the price is also awesome) is the community. AmiBroker uses a coding language called AFL and if you’re like me and couldn’t be bothered to learn a new coding language you can harness the community for scripts they have written, and this is where things get powerful. There is a literal army of people who have coded various different scans, indicators and the like for AmiBroker, and it’s all online to download for free. Everything from the Turtle Traders system to every type of scan you can imagine.
Another benefit is that you can get various different exchanges and in many cases you can get the end of day (EOD) data for free with a few tweaks.
Speaking of data, the software naturally needs a historic database for the JSE and then daily updates, and here I recommend Mike at Investordata. The price is good and the service is awesome. As a last important point, while AmiBroker does offer real time charting that comes at an additional fee (which is not cheap when in Rands); but for me EOD is all I need. If you want live data the AMiBroker website has the links.
Last comment, I run a Mac system so have to run Parallels with Windows 8.1 in order to run Amibroker as there is no Mac version (in fact I know of no Mac charting software).