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NinjaTrader Review – The Ideal Platform for Active Technical Traders?

At a Glance
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4.0 / 5
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NinjaTrader

  • What It Is: NinjaTrader is a trading platform designed for the most active traders. The platform is most well known for its innovating trading technology and numerous tools designed to give its users the upper hand in financial markets.
  • Cost: You can gain access to the platform’s basic tools for free — all you need to do is sign up and fund your account. More in-depth tools are available with a subscription for a $60 monthly fee or lifetime access for $1,099.
  • Advantages: Customizable charting; basic features are always free; a long list of technical indicators designed to give traders the upper hand; quality customer service; order flow capabilities; automated trading; and top notch trading data.
  • Disadvantages: Order Flow+ is only available to users with a lifetime license; the platform is not designed for long-term investors; little by way of available fundamental data.

Financial market traders are always looking for a way to get a leg up on the competition in the stock market, whether that be better charting capabilities, more technical indicators, or faster ways to place trades.

Founded in 2003 with its headquarters in Denver, Colorado, NinjaTrader is an online trading platform that hits every one of these nails on the head. Designed for active traders who are interested in trading futures and forex, the platform is an intuitive trading system that gives its users an advantage in the battle between the bears and the bulls.

For those interested in trading stocks, options, and other assets, the platform has partnered with other popular online brokers including TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers, but you will need to connect your third-party brokerage account to make these trades.

Most of the features, including charting, active analysis, and live trading are free once you open a funded account. If you want to take advantage of the trading simulator, access is free even before you fund your account.

The platform also offers premium features including backtesting and automated trading for a monthly fee of $60 or a lifetime fee of $1,099.

Users with a lifetime subscription also receive access to Order Flow+, a service that gives you the ability to analyze trading activity using order flow. Order flow points to the number of orders waiting to be filled at a specific price level. This information gives traders powerful, real-time insight into where there’s resistance or support for the price of an asset.

Key Features

As a platform designed for active day traders, NinjaTrader is packed with features designed to help you simplify the process of trading while amplifying your profits. Some of the most impressive features that help to accomplish this goal include:

A Platform With Brokerage Options

The company is best known for its intuitive platform for active traders, but that’s not the only offering brought to the table here. The company also offers NinjaTrader Brokerage Services. When using the platform and accompanying in-house brokerage, you’ll gain access to the forex and futures trading markets.

If you’re not interested in futures trading or forex trading, you won’t be left in the dark. NinjaTrader has partnered with several brokers to make trading in equities possible, with the two most notable being TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers.

Moreover, forex and futures traders have the option either to use the company’s in-house brokerage or to work with third-party brokers like City Index and Forex.com.

When working with a third-party brokerage, your money will be held with the broker of your choice. When you make trades through the NinjaTrader platform, those trades will be executed within your linked third-party brokerage account.

Customizable Charting

Anyone who’s been successful at day trading will tell you that technical analysis is the foundation for any solid strategy. After all, short-term trading is based on the notion that the market repeats itself. By performing detailed technical market analysis, you’ll be able to find triggers that generally point to movement in one direction or another in the future.

If you’re going to take part in these types of activities, whether you’re trading stocks, forex, commodities, or any other financial assets, it’s important that you have access to tools that will increase your success rate with your trades.

When using the NinjaTrader platform, you’ll have access to some of the most intuitive trading tools available today. Using these tools, you’ll likely enjoy the user-friendly functionality, giving you the ability to change colors, add indicators, and add trend lines. The platform also offers drawing tools that give you the ability to define trend lines and entrance and exit opportunities.

Trading Data and Add-Ons

The data you use when trading can make the difference between gains and losses — a fact that’s especially true when it comes to active day trading. Because NinjaTrader was specifically designed for active traders, it only makes sense that you’ll have access to top-notch technology and data when using the platform.

NinjaTrader gives its traders access to multiple data providers, with CQG Continuum being the primary provider. If you’re more comfortable using Rithmic as your data provider, you’ll be delighted to know that Rithmic is supported as well.

When using the platform, you’ll automatically have access to the general data needed for successful trading. However, if you’d like to take advantage of full market depth data, you’ll be required to pay small additional fees.

For example, if you’d like full market depth data on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), you’ll pay $7 per month for the additional information. You can also decide to go with the CME bundle, which includes market data from multiple commodities exchanges including CME, CBOT, NYMEX, and COMEX for just $21 per month.

This data will prove to be overwhelmingly valuable, especially considering the fact that it can be used in conjunction with the Market Replay feature offered by NinjaTrader. This feature gives you the ability to play, pause, and rewind historical data, which enables backtesting and other trade-related research.

Order Flow+

Order Flow+ is only available to NinjaTrader members with lifetime licenses. However, the feature is an extremely compelling reason to sign up for life.

Order Flow+ is add-on trading software that makes it possible to analyze trading activity using the order flow surrounding the financial instruments you’re interested in. The feature includes order flow data, volume bars, and market depth data.

Order flow data is the rawest form of data you can access, providing a combination of actual contracts that have been bought and sold at a certain price and time and the interest of the buyers and sellers.

This is helpful because buyers and sellers ultimately are the reason for moving the market. When there are more buyers jumping in, the price of the financial instrument rises, and when more sellers are getting involved, prices fall.

Order Flow+ gives you the ability to quickly analyze this data, giving you the upper hand by providing information as to whether buyers or sellers are more interested in the asset you’re trading at the time of your trade.

Automated Trading

Due to advancements in technology, automation is becoming part of the daily routine for most Americans. Being one of the pioneers of trading technology, it only makes sense that NinjaTrader is bringing automation to the trading process.

Through the trading platform, you’ll be able to semi-automate or fully automate your trading strategies. You can also work with a NinjaScript programmer to design your own technical indicators and automated strategies.

However, it is worth mentioning that you must be a premium member in order to take advantage of the automated trading offered through the platform.

Trade Simulation

When you get started as a trader, you’ll find that some strategies perform better than others. Moreover, beginners are generally turned off by the risk associated with short-term trades.

The good news is that you don’t have to accept that risk before you learn the ropes.

One way to greatly reduce the risk you take on when you trade is to practice your strategies in a simulated trading environment before using them with real money at stake. By doing so, you’ll be able to pinpoint the most successful strategies and tweak your personal trading process to expand your profitability.

With the demo account offered by NinjaTrader, you’ll be able to practice trading in real time without risking your hard-earned money until you feel comfortable that your strategies are working.


Advantages

NinjaTrader has become a leading platform and brokerage with well over a decade of exceptional service to its customers. Some of the most significant advantages you’ll enjoy when using the platform include:

  1. Technology. Through the years, NinjaTrader has proven its ability to incorporate market-leading technology in the trading process, leading to outsize returns for those who take advantage of the platform. The charting and trading tools on the platform are second to none, and if history is any indication, the company will continue to innovate in order to hold its position as a leader in trading technology.
  2. Third-Party Tools. With NinjaTrader’s NinjaScript, third-party developers are able to create apps and add-ons to improve the trading process for all. As a result of these capabilities, plenty of third-party developers have created compelling add-on offerings. When you use the platform, you’ll have access to thousands of third-party add-ons developed to help you achieve higher levels of profitability as you trade.
  3. Educational Materials. NinjaTrader offers a long list of educational materials designed to turn even the most novice traders into pros. Through the platform, you’ll have access to training articles and tutorials, daily webinars, and forums, all designed to give you the knowledge it takes to become a highly successful trader.
  4. Simulated Trading. Along the lines of education, trading simulation is yet another compelling tool traders have at their disposal using the NinjaTrader platform. Simulated trading benefits beginners, intermediate traders, and even experts by giving them a way to test, tweak, and perfect their strategy before risking their money in the market.
  5. Mobile App. NinjaTrader 8 and the legacy version, NinjaTrader7, are now available as a downloadable application on iPhone, Android, Mac, and Windows. The mobile app version of the platform is just as intuitive and user-friendly as you would expect if you’ve worked with the company’s desktop platform.
  6. Quality Customer Support. It’s important that you trust any financial service company you work with and that the company offers quality customer support. After all, when you have a question about your money, you want to make sure someone knowledgeable will be there to answer it. With NinjaTrader, you’ll have access to a world-class customer support team around the clock, whether you prefer to chat online or on the phone. The company also offers a help guide packed with answers to some of the most common questions traders have when working with a new platform.

Disadvantages

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the NinjaTrader brokerage and platform. At the same time, every rose has its thorns, and NinjaTrader is no exception. Some of the most significant disadvantages to consider before getting involved include:

  1. Little Fundamental Data. The NinjaTrader platform was developed as an intuitive platform for those taking part in the fast-paced world of active trading. Trading is a technical process that leaves little room for interpreting the fundamental data the average long-term investor would want to use when making investment decisions. Unfortunately, as a platform designed for active traders, there is little to nothing on the platform by way of fundamental data. If you use fundamental analysis in your trading process, you’ll need to access that data through a third party.
  2. Free Version Limitations. When using the free version of the platform, you’ll have access to compelling charting capabilities and the trading simulator. However, you’ll be missing out on Order Flow+, automated trading, and more detailed trading data if you don’t purchase a monthly or lifetime license.
  3. The NinjaTrader Brokerage Doesn’t Offer Access to Stocks. If you’re going to be trading forex or futures, the setup is a breeze because the NinjaTrader brokerage offers access to these assets. However, if you’re interested in trading stocks and other equities, or in trading options, you’ll have to take additional steps to get started by connecting the platform to a supported brokerage that offers the assets you’re interested in.

Final Word

As with most other top-notch financial services, NinjaTrader was designed for a specific audience and has done an amazing job at tailoring its platform accordingly. Geared toward those who are most active in the financial markets, the service offers access to some of the best technical tools in any trader’s toolbox.

At the same time, the company has made its platform somewhat open-source, inviting third-party developers to produce more tools that are ultimately designed to lead to increased profits for those who use them. Through this approach, NinjaTrader has grown to offer not only some of the most robust tools available on an in-house basis, but also a library of thousands of tools sourced throughout the trading community.

However, if you’re more interested in investing money in the stock market over the long term, you won’t fit into the company’s target audience. Due to its focus on active traders and providing all the tools necessary for profits in that space, the platform neglects many of the needs of buy-and-hold investors looking to stick with their investments for the long haul.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a platform that offers everything you’ll need to be successful as a short-term trader, NinjaTrader is one of the best online today.

Verdict
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4.0 / 5
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NinjaTrader

For the active trader, the NinjaTrader platform is an offering that’s hard to pass up. With some of the most advanced charting and technical analysis tools outlined in a way that’s easy to navigate, automated trading capabilities, and a trading simulator that allows you to test your strategies before risking your money, the platform puts a checkmark in every box. There are better options for the long-term buy-and-hold investor, however. Because the platform is geared toward active traders, there’s little emphasis on the fundamental analysis tools long-term investors rely on.

By offering an intuitive platform that provides all the tools active traders need, NinjaTrader gives active traders a leg up, especially forex or futures traders. Plus you can access some of its best features and educational materials for free once you fund your account.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Joshua Rodriguez
Joshua Rodriguez has worked in the finance and investing industry for more than a decade. In 2012, he decided he was ready to break free from the 9 to 5 rat race. By 2013, he became his own boss and hasn’t looked back since. Today, Joshua enjoys sharing his experience and expertise with up and comers to help enrich the financial lives of the masses rather than fuel the ongoing economic divide. When he’s not writing, helping up and comers in the freelance industry, and making his own investments and wise financial decisions, Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife, son, daughter, and eight large breed dogs. See what Joshua is up to by following his Twitter or contact him through his website, CNA Finance.

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