The Best and Worst Stock and Option Trading APIs

In my quest to program and build my own trading system, I have discovered a lot of conflicting information on the “Internets” about trading APIs and stock and option price quotes.  In the past, I posted on HN news about some of my findings, only to get some great new insights. One thing I can’t find is a simple location for all trading APIs and I have stumble along some rabbit holes when dealing with the APIs, trying to see what works and what is no longer supported. With that said, I will will be launching a General information Git Repository, to hopefully provide links to SDK for trading API and price quote APIs, Etc. I will obviously do pull requests, but my opinions and finding on certain trading systems will be detailed below and on this site.

Finally, having built successful trading systems and algorithms, some of my work can be found here. I’m available for hire at Upwork or via email.

The repo can be found here.

Ally Financial (used to be Trade King api):

Pro: Open an account with as little as $50

  • Access to real time stock quotes and option chainss
  • Simple REST api calls, takes 5 minutes to get up and running.
  • Support email is responsive.
  • Documentataion is simple and concise.
  • Oauth2

Cons:

  • no paper trading account
  • no historical quotes
  • actually trading a stock or options is documented poorly

eTrade

Etrade has and an API, it doesn’t seem to be very well supported. Meaning it came out in I think 2012 and it hasnt been updated recentley (like the last few years).

Pros:

Sand box environment: I only made it to the sand box. Which really isn’t a test/development environment. It’s an environment that no matter what stock price you query it will return quotes for Apple, Google or Microsoft. This really isn’t a true testing environment.

  • SDK available

Cons:

  • Can take weeks to set up and become operational
  • Very little support from eTrade
  • documentation is clearly outdated
  • Very little documentation on Stackoverflow or google searchs

TD Ameritrade:

TD Ameritrade does infact have an brand new API, it seems to be a stealth launch.

Pro:

  • Documentation is pretty good, not great.
  • TD ameritrate has the best trading platform, which would be the Think or Swim (TOS) desktop application.
  • Can create API calls on the website.
  • Email support is responsive

Cons:

  • Still in soft launch phase
  • documentation is not complete, spelling mistakes, inconsistent.
  • No paper trading account.

Interactive Brokers:

Pro:

  • Probably the best API.
  • Recommend IB_insync wrapper, well supported with a large community.
  • Offers historical quotes so you don’t have to rely on Yahoo
  • Options, FX, Bonds, Stocks
  • There are infinite amount of ways to trade
  • Live Trading & paper trading

Cons:

  • At times overly complicated
  • Only works with Java, C++, Python, .NET (C#), C++, ActiveX, DDE
  • The Trader Work Station, which is not required, is grossly outdated and cumbersome.

I like to think of it as the honey badger market.

honey badger dont care s&P 500 marketsWhen in doubt rely on a funny video to explain this market, unless you can find a better explanation that makes sense. (Post it in the comments.) If you haven’t seen the famous Honey Badger video click here.  Because it shouldn’t be too hard to see that this market doesn’t seem to care one bit about bad news.   Citibank earnings missed expectations, the European ESFS fund was downgraded by the S&P this morning and most of Europe was downgraded last Friday afternoon. Monday: Stocks rally 1% in the morning, S&P closes the day up 0.36% . Sounds like a Honey Badger “don’t care” type of market.

Everything I learned while at business school,  would tell me that this market is overvalued, far to many economic headwinds, mixed economic reports,  economic uncertainty, too much money printing and so forth.  Yet the market still goes up. Well I have developed an algorithm for just this type of market. It takes the emotion out of trading. It’s the “don’t care” if the market goes up or down , let’s just make money.  (Look to the right, it’s the Hardline portfolio) The numbers are telling me to buy this market (since 12/21). At least for the next 24 hours, but much like your GPS it recalculates when headed in the wrong direction. Things might change tomorrow… Who knows, maybe the Honey Badger? But let’s keep in mind there has been 10 trading days since the beginning of the year, only two have been down days.

Congratulations to Yahoo! Jerry Yang is finally out. Oh yes I have hard feelings because I would have made a nice little sum of cash, when Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for $30 a few years ago. It’s a nice retirement party, when you resign from the board of the company that you co-founded and stock price goes up in the after hours.  Ouch.

As for the 5 setups in 5 seconds… I’m going short. Maybe a little premature, but that’s where the profits are. Trade accordingly.