Questrade has a virtual trading platform to test out their trading system at http://www.questrade.com/trading/free-trial
Once you create an account, you will have 1 million dollars of virtual cash to play with the different order types. The following should be noted about Questrades virtual trading platform:
- The stock exchanges are 24 hours behind the real markets.
- The broker fee charged is 1 cent. When trading for real, the broker fee charged is much higher. See your broker for the actual fee charged.
- Market order will give you a good price. When trading for real, market orders can rip you off. Therefore, use limit orders.
- Dividends or interest will not be deposited when issued. I will be surprised if the practice account has this function implemented. It is a practice trading account.
On the home screen, you wil see the following:
- On the right side under Order entry, you will place your order to buy or sell a stock.
- On the left side, you will see menu items you can click on to open different screens.
- The << will close the Balances screen while the >> will open the Balances screen when the Balances screen is closed. The same goes for the Order entry on the right side.
- Closing the Balances screen will show the full list of menu items. Positions – Orders – Executions – Activity
Lets assume we want to buy Royal Bank of Canada, but the list shows a bunch of Royal Bank stocks with RY on the NYSE. Therefore, in order to buy Royal Bank of Canada on the TSX, we must type in RY.TO.
TO is the symbol for the TSX. Currently, Royal Bank of Canada is traded in both the TSX and the NYSE. Keep this in mind when trading. You may buy the right company in the wrong exchange.
If we place an order on the NYSE, Royal Bank of Canada will be purchased in US dollars. Furthermore, part of the dividends maybe held by the US government. There is probably more costs associated with purchasing from the NYSE, therefore, always add .TO to the stock symbol to purchase from the TSX.
To verify that RY is the Royal Bank of Canada, you can visit morningstar.ca and type in Royal Bank of Canada in the search box. The symbol RY will show in both the NYSE and the TSX. The other option is to find the stock symbol on Royal Bank of Canada’s website at http://www.rbc.com/investorrelations/share-information.html.
Royal Bank has many classes of preferred shares. If you want to go that route, read the Prospectus.
As far as I know, every company will use the same symbol in every exchange if they are listed in more than one exchange.
If you look at ZEB, BMO’s equal weight Bank Index ETF, it is traded only on the TSX as ZEB.TO.
Now that we know the symbol is RY.TO, lets look at the stock under Questrade’s practice account. Click on Stocks on the left side and type ry.to into the symbol lookup box and click on the RY.TO below that is found which is RY.TO Royal Bank of Can TSX. The screen will populate with lots of information on the Royal Bank of Canada. Scroll down to see more information.
Since the practice account has level 2 trading, costs extra with a real trading account, you will see a list of many buyers and sellers with their bid and ask prices.
If you highlight the headers under Level 2 | Time and Sales, a description of what the information below is shown.
It will become quite clear from looking at the level 2 trading information that stock trading is an auction where the value of the stock is dependent on what price the buyer and seller can agree on.
If you look to the right where the Order entry screen is, you will see that I placed a GTC, Good til Cancel, limit order of $96.60 to buy 100 shares. The last selling price is $96.655, but I want to pay less. Therefore, I put in an order and wait until I get them for $96.60 or the exchange deletes the order usually after 60 to 90 days. In which case, I will have to place another limit order.
You can place a limit order to buy the Royal Bank of Canada shares for $2/share for 100 shares, but the chance the price will drop that low is a dream come true.
When it comes to placing orders, you must use the standard lot sizes for the exchange. The standard lot sizes are as follows for the TSX:
- Trading price per unit is less than $0.10 – board lot size is 1,000 units
- Trading price per unit is $0.10 to $0.99 – board lot size is 500 units
- Trading price per unit is $1.00 or more – board lot size is 100 units
If you place a limit order that is not a standard lot size, the limit order will get rejected. I placed an odd lot order of 150 shares on my real account, and it got rejected.
Before submitting the order, you will get the confirmation screen with the breakdown of the costs. If you are satisified with your order, click the Send Order button.
It would be nice if the broker fee was really a penny.
When I first started trading 9 years ago, there was only Market and Limit. Much has changed since then.
The list of order types and what they do can are at http://www.investopedia.com/university/intro-to-order-types/. You can google search the other orders if you are still unsure. I only use Limit.
Duration is how long before the order expires if not filled. There are several options, so you will have to decide which one you want to use. I currently use GTC since I do have many shares to buy or sell.
I purchased 100 shares of TD with a limit order that matched the last selling price to show you how to use a sell limit order.
To the right of the screen, you will see a sell limit order for TD.TO for $70 which is GTC, Good til Cancel. This is a very high price to sell when the last traded price is $65.39. In any case, I am optimistic and am willing to wait. Furthermore, this shows that you can buy or sell a stock for a price that you want. You may not get the stock for that price, but you can still try.
Confirm that you want to sell 100 TD.TO shares for $70/share. Send Order. Done.
When you click on Account -> Activity, you will see the list of orders you placed. If the orders were placed when the market is closed, the orders will show up in the orders menu when the market opens. Orders can be cancelled. Therefore, it is good to check. You may need to contact your broker to see why the order was cancelled.
The purpose of using Questrade practice is to familiarize yourself with the ways to buy and sell and to see the different options available. Every broker will have differences, but the way to place orders should be identical which is the most important part of trading.
Since there are only a limited number of buyers and sellers at specific prices, there will be the time where the last traded price is your limit price, but your shares did not sell or get bought. This is a situation where there is a lineup of traders with the same limit price as you. They got served first.
Another virtual trading simulator is available at http://www.tmx-edu.com/en/. This is the Canadian equities and derivatives virtual trading platform. For a guide on using their virtual trading simulator, http://www.m-x.ca/f_publications_en/tmx_guide_en.pdf
Buying stocks using the Questrade practice account.