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Laser is a direct access trading application created by Genesis Securities. It allows day traders to trade stocks directly with the exchanges instead of through a third party broker. The program includes: real-time charts, level II, time and sales, alerts, order entry (hotkey or mouse), watchlists, high/low lists, blotters, and all other necessary essentials to day trader. Laser is known for its reliability, customization, as well as its quick execution speeds.
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Some platforms tend to bog down during high volume situations (such as during Fed announcements). Laser, however, never skips a beat. Orders are received and executed within fractions of a second, and data feeds and charts rarely, if ever, trail the market. Some trading platforms have momentary hiccups during the day due to maintenance or outages, yet Laser prides itself in staying “live” throughout the trading day.
The level II screens that Laser provides are some of the best in the business. The customization is quite extensive. You are able to pick and choose the specific ECNs and market makers you wish to appear or not. The color-coding is very simplistic, and allows you to quickly gauge the depth of the market. You can also highlight certain market participants if you believe they are important to the stocks direction.
The watchlists are top of the line. You are able to sort the stocks by bid, ask, last order, change from close, change from open, percent change, volume, bid size, ask size, etc. This customization allows you to find the precise price action you are looking for, while weeding out low volume or low-priced stocks.
Laser has a very impressive money management system. Day trading is a risky endeavor, and being able to properly manage risk is important. Being able to keep stats to find out what time of the day you are trading well, what times you usually trade poorly, your average win rate, percent short vs. long, winners vs. losers, etc. helps to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. Laser also has the option to place a daily stop limit that will not allow you to trade if the threshold is met.
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The charts in Laser are downright bad. This isn’t too much of an issue since most traders purchase third part programs such as Esignal or Quotetracker, but it’s still disappointing. The charts are basic and limited. You can make line charts, bar charts, candlestick charts, and some technical indicators such as Bollinger bands, moving averages, MACD, stochastics, volume. However, you can only use a certain number of technical tools per chart, cannot create trend lines, and are overall a chore to use.
Laser also has problems with its stop losses. The stop loss orders aren’t tied to exchange. Instead, the orders are managed by the trading software. This means that there is slippage once your stop loss is hit. Instead of orders being executed within milliseconds, the software has to process that the limit was hit, decide to send an order, create the order, and then send it out to the appropriate exchange. I’ve witness several times when the stop loss wasn’t executed until 30 seconds after initial stop loss was trigger, which lead to a larger loss.
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Overall, Laser is a greater trading platform. It’s very stable and the execution speeds are exceedingly fast. However, the platform does have some faults. The charts are very poor, and the stop losses can lead to larger losses. If you can get passed these shortfalls (either by purchasing a third party charting software or not relying on stops very often), you will be very satisfied with Laser.