DAS Trader Review
- Level 2
- Overall Value
In this review, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of DAS Trader Pro. It is the “value” option in terms of day trading platforms. It offers the standard features desired by most day traders like level 2, hot key executions, and direct market access. However, more analytical traders may find it to be lacking critical features. Does it do the job for you?
Intro to DAS Trader Pro
DAS Trader Pro is a desktop platform that comes with a lot of useful features that day traders need. While the software has weaknesses in some areas, it nevertheless is competitive with other platforms on the market. Let’s check it out.
The monthly cost of using DAS Trader Pro can vary from one brokerage firm to another. For example, Cobra Trading charges $125 per month for the software. The broker waives the fee for clients who trade at least 250,000 shares during the month.
Traders at CenterPoint Securities pay either $150 or $120 per month, depending on the clearing firm they use. The broker-dealer also has some fee waivers based on trading frequency.
DAS Trader Features
While taking DAS Trader Pro for a test drive, I was able to perform many functions, such as placing orders, following a stock’s price history, and reading market news. Upon opening the platform for the first time, I thought the various windows were not placed very well; but it’s possible to move them around and create a trading environment you like.
A chart can be expanded from the initial small window into a full-screen window for easier viewing. I was also not able to get the time history to extend beyond one year. There are fewer than 10 drawing tools on the platform. Furthermore, there is a convenient print function in case you want to save a chart.
There are about 40 technical studies that can be used, such as Linear Regression and Keltner Channels. I did have trouble getting some studies to display correctly. For example, MACD, which usually displays below the graph would display on top of the price action. I was not able to fix this error.
The Level II box shows market makers and ECN’s along with bid and ask prices. Quote size is shown in multiples of 100. A stock like Microsoft has lots of activity here. Some of the available venues include BATS, NSDQ, ARCA, and EDGX.
Above the color-coded quotes is a section devoted to data. A letter designates the exchange a stock is on. Ford, for example, has an N for NYSE; and Apple has a Q for Nasdaq.
There is market news in a discrete window. Articles point out important information that could influence a stock’s price during the day, so obviously this is pretty important. BusinessWire is the primary source.
DAS Trader hasn’t forgotten the need to search for something to trade. Although the screener isn’t one of the default apps, I was able to find it by going to ‘Tools’ in the top menu and selecting ‘Scanner’. I was disappointed with the lack of search criteria. There are only a few options, such as 52-week high and low, Relative Strength Index, and price change from open.
The order entry ticket is attached to the Level II quote box. Clicking on a quote automatically fills the order ticket with the number of shares displayed for that venue. It’s possible to adjust figures that are automatically filled.
There are many routes available, and venues are coded for the type of order. Symbols ending with M are for market orders, and those ending with L are for limit orders.
Alerts can be set up on DAS Trader Pro. What I was really impressed with was the ability to upload a special audio file to notify you whenever the specified threshold is triggered. Alternatively, there is a default audio alert.
A watch list can be set up in the ‘Market View’ window. I was able to easily enter whatever ticker symbol I wanted in the ‘Symbol’ column. Data shown include bid, ask, last price, volume, open, high, low, and close. I was impressed with the ability to simply click on a stock on the list and see the trade ticket populated.
Derivative traders have resources on the platform, too. You can generate the appropriate window by going to ‘Quotes’ in the top menu and selecting ‘Option Chains.’ I was disappointed not to find any advanced strategies. There are calls and puts with a variety of expiration dates. What I did like was the large selection of venues with the number of contracts available displayed.
Customization and Saved Layouts
Colors on a graph can easily be changed. I simply had to right-click on the chart, and select ‘Configure’ or ‘Study configure.’ I also liked the ability to save a layout. When leaving the platform, a pop-up window will ask if you want to save the setup. There’s no need to save a file each time; the program will remember your last saved layout, another nice feature.
DAS Trader Pro can be used at Interactive Brokers, Cobra Trading, CenterPoint Securities, and other firms.
DAS Trader Pro isn’t as user-friendly as Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge. Thinkorswim has more technical indicators (400 v. 40) and a much better stock screener. IQ Edge from Questrade is much better laid out, although as already mentioned, DAS Trader Pro can be manipulated. On the other hand, TradeStation’s browser-based platform has far fewer functions than DAS Trader.
What Type of Trader DAS Trader Is Best For
DAS Trader Pro is great for equity traders who need direct access to the markets along with Level II data. Chartists and option traders would probably be better off with Trader Workstation at Interactive Brokers due to its better features in these areas.
- A good selection of venues (18 in total).
- Easy to move individual windows around, add some, or delete others.
- A YouTube icon at the top of the platform links to a page that hosts lots of helpful videos that show how to use the software.
- Hot keys are available. They can be edited, and it’s even possible to create new ones.
- Charting has some bugs in it, and is less sophisticated than what’s available elsewhere.
- No ability to trade futures or forex.
DAS Trader Pro provides a decent direct-access platform for day traders. The software does underperform its rivals in some areas, so shop around before making a final decision.