The first thing you need for trading is at least laptop with extra screen or better yet a desktop computer with two monitors. A stable broadband internet conection is a must. As for software most of it is free and availiable for download at your conveniance.
Sign up with a broker.
In SA we have a choice of two platforms that most brokers use, OTS and DIRO. I personally recommend using OTS but I have been a client of Afrifocus for years who use DIRO and both are pathetic but will suffic for your trading. Why I recommend OTS is that you can feed the data into Metastock or Omnitrader or Amibroker and get real-time charts that look sexy~!~ (For Free --SWEET--)
The cheapest broker I have found is DWT (www.dwt.co.za) offering 2 points brokerage (Buy & Sell) and using OTS, they are my current broker.
I believe Cortex are also good and fair to cheap .. here www.cortex.co.za
Once you have signed up for a futures account, given you FICA stuff and blood sample :) you should get a platform that looks like this :
This is the way I set up my platform, this layout works for me. The big gap in the middle is for my Metastock graph that I will get to now.
From this Platform you can see the bid and offer ... last traded price and basically everything you need to actually trade the market. If you don't know how to work a bid offer screen or how to place an order or cancel a placed order please Google or call DWT. There is a nice video on the DWT website of a trader actually trading the market ... here ... > http://www.dwt.co.za/trading_demo.html
Now you need a graph ... OTS comes with a built in charting package that you can use and it works well enough. Personally I use Metastock for a number of different reasons : It can backtest trading systems, I have programmed in my buy and sell systems which it will graphically represent and it looks a lot nicer that OTS standard graph. Metastock realtime retails for just under R10k and is availiable here www.thetradersedge.co.za
There is a cracked version of Metastock 11Pro lurking at http://thepiratebay.org/ with a keygen that works. I do not however endorse the use of cracked software.
I use Metaserver RT 3.2 DDE for Windows which feeds my data thru to Metastock. You will have to be very computer literate to set up Metastock and perhaps when I'm bored I might make a section on how to set it up. The Metaserver file is located under my Alsi Files and is called Alsi_wm.mss
Once you have downloaded it your screen should look something like this ...
To get the Metastock screen to sit above the OTS screen I use an application called pushpin availiable in the Alsi Files section it's really handy as it adds an always ontop feature to you program if you right click the toolbar. (load the .exe into your startup directory.)
From here your are ready to rock and ride, test out trading simulations and build up ideas on what system best suits your trading style.
I also generally keep my eye on the international index's during the day. This is availiable from https://www.fxpro.com/ or here www.odlsecurities.com download Metatrader 4 for free and put the following screens up (You will have to register MT4 I recommend using a fake name and phone number as they will phone you if you use a real name) Your screens should look like this :
So now you should have your first screen with OTS and a nice chart and your second screen with the international markets. Why I use this setup and explaining how to use the software will come in later sections of this website.
I currently run a computer with 4 screens and use my other 2 screens to observe the ALSI cash price (J200) Index Dow cash index and various shares I have a personal interest in. The data feed for this you have to pay for and is availiable for under R500 per month from www.livecharts.com or www.hisat.co.za personally I use the live charts powered by esignal for R300 (depending on the exchange rate per month)
If you click on Alsi Files there is a handy Excel workbook that should help you with your simulation. Alsi Files
Your should now be ready for the simulation phase of your venture into trading ... >