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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 8, 2014

After a flurry of activity across the discount brokerage space these past several weeks, this past week was a bit quieter. The same, however, can’t be said for the markets.  Despite the relative quiet on the discount brokerage side, a couple of items of interest to DIY investors crossed our radar.  In this roundup, we take a quick look at an interesting announcement from a US trading platform provider, a new deal being offered at a popular Canadian brokerage and as always some interesting perspectives from the Canadian investor forums.

Sterling Trader Looks North

For active and professional traders, choosing the right trading platform is an important part of being able to effectively trade fast moving opportunities. Unfortunately for many Canadian active investors, platform selection at Canadian online brokerages has been very limited.

It is against this backdrop of limited platform selection that this week’s announcement by US-based trading platform maker Sterling Trader is particularly interesting. Contained within that announcement were a number of noteworthy stats and nuggets, chief among them that Sterling Trader is looking to expand its presence internationally – beginning with Canada.

Currently Sterling Trader is offered by only two Canadian discount brokerages (and a number of prop trading firms): Jitneytrade and Virtual Brokers (under the name Power Trader Pro). With the focus on pushing into Canada, however, several other brokerages may show some interest in building their platform portfolio – especially for the active trader segment.

This probably is just the beginning of an interesting shift in this segment of the investor market within Canada so stay tuned as there will likely be more to come.

Flashing Cash

After a bit of a slow start to the August deals and promotions race, Questrade jumped in with an offer to replace their now expired iPad mini/cash-back offer. The latest deal to be added by Questrade is a cash-back offer of $250 cash for a deposit of at least $100,000 and a cash back offer of $100 for a $50,000 (or more) deposit. At the outset of the month only BMO InvestorLine was offering a deal targeted at investors who had at least $100,000 however they now have company once again from Questrade in this tier of deposit size.

From the Forums

With summer in full swing, it would normally be a quiet time in the forums. Throw in a sharp market decline early in the week and that’s enough to get the chatter going again though. This week we’ve got a few interesting conversations regarding DIY investing.

Staying On Top Of Markets

In this post from Red Flag Deals’ investing forum thread, one reader asked what apps for iOS might be good for keeping track of markets. While several online brokerages offer mobile trading functionality, the quote feed experience can be somewhat variable. Check out some of the interesting recommendations from other forum users.

Two Sides of Getting Your Coin

Among the most popular of debates among self-directed investors is that of the ETF vs the Mutual Fund. In this thread from Reddit’s Personal Finance Canada thread, a reader reaches out to the group to get a bit of clarification on what the difference is between the two and what that difference translates into when putting money into the market.

Party in the TFSA

In a break from Beyoncé puns, Miley Cyrus steps in to be the theme for this next post, also from Reddit’s Personal Finance Canada thread. In the thread, a reader is contemplating adding the ‘exciting’ US stories of Apple (AAPL) and Tesla (TSLA) into their TFSA. The list of interesting responses on how to trade US stocks within a TFSA is worth a look. (FYI for those interested, here’s the list of Canadian discount brokerages that offer US currency TFSAs).

That does it for this week’s roundup. It was a bumpy ride this week in the markets so here’s a little levity to celebrate making it through to the other side of it. Have a great weekend!

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