Curating a primary watchlist that is specialized and tailored to your particular trading niche can make or break your success as a trader. It is not only important, but also downright challenging. Boiling that overall watchlist down into something that is manageable and can deliver results daily, presents another obstacle that traders must face to maximize their success on the stock market. Thankfully, there are a variety of free and paid tools that traders can utilize to their advantage.
“TOP GAINERS” WATCHLIST VIA BROKER PLATFORM
TD Ameritrade’s ThinkOrSwim platform has a variety of “Top 10” watchlist options to choose from as shown in Figure 1. This built-in platform feature can be great for finding stocks that are active and moving - Two important considerations and requirements for day traders. The primary issue I experience when using this feature, is that often times the stocks found here are not ideal candidates for options trades due to low liquidity within the options chain. I talk more about the guidelines I recommend for watchlist candidates in this article. Additionally, people that do not use the ThinkOrSwim platform will not be able to utilize this feature. Perhaps other broker-platforms offers something similar? If not, you can find an alternative listed below.
BARCHART.COM UNUSUAL OPTIONS ACTIVITY
Barchart’s “Unusual Options Activity” tab is a very useful resource, particularly for options traders. Much like our very own Options Flow Data provided within the Trader’s Thinktank, unusual options activity can provide insight into what the “smart money” (institutional buyers) are buying up. An important consideration with this list is to not follow the exact listed position blindly. Much like the Options Flow Data, this resource is intended to be used in conjunction with all other factors and due diligence. For example, if you see unusual options activity (or options flow) in $XYZ being bullish (buying calls on offer, selling puts on bid)- This can lead to something interesting if you were already bullish on $XYZ. The unusual options activity should be viewed as the start of the potential trade investigation versus the end.
FINVIZ.COM TOP GAINERS
Finviz’s “Top Gainers” list is a nice alternative to the previously mentioned ThinkOrSwim “Top Gainers” built-in watchlist. While access via ThinkOrSwim might be more convenient to those that use that platform, Finviz will show you a larger selection of top gainers and allow you to add additional filters to the list. This additional filter feature will allow you to get a more refined overview which may be more relevant to your particular watchlist requirements and guidelines. Remember, “top gainers” will show you where the activity is in the stock market which is useful to day traders.
STOCKTWITS APP TRENDING TAB
StockTwits is another free app that can be used to find hot stocks to trade daily. If you are unfamiliar with StockTwits, it is essentially the Twitter of the stock world - All discussions taking place there are in relation to particular stocks, and limited to 140 characters or less.
This particular feature (Trending tab) of the app does not signify anything more than the fact that people on this website are talking about it. However, in my experience with the site and this particular feature, there is usually something of interest happening (i.e. news, binary event, breakout, etc) that can play or is already playing into price action.
Similar to the previously mentioned methods of finding stocks to trade, you want to use this list of trending stocks as the start of a potential trade idea.
MEMBERSHIP TO THE TRADER’S THINKTANK OR LIVE STREAM TRADE ALERTS
If time is of the essence and you do not have the free time required to build a daily watchlist of hot stocks to trade, Opinicus has the solution for you. Included with both of our services is a daily watchlist of hot stocks to trade, particularly geared towards options traders. It is sent out every morning prior to the market open, and contains key levels to watch for potential trade opportunities on a variety of different high-liquidity stocks. You can rest assured that the daily list of 10-15 stocks will feature a number of profitable trade setups, all of which can be traded with options. This is the best choice for those that still want to be in control of their trades, but may not have the knowledge or time to find the proper setups that are poised to move for the day.