Why NinjaTrader is Hugely Popular With Professional Traders
NinjaTrader started off as a simple order entry and bracketing software to efficiently and rapidly trade highly liquid financial instruments such as the hugely popular and volatile emini S&P500 stock index futures (ticker symbol: ES) and emini Nasdaq 100 futures (NQ). It has since evolved into a much more powerful trading program incorporating advanced charting, market analytics, system development and trade simulation. NinjaTrader is now able to use real-time and historical market data from over 12 leading brokerage and market data vendors such as Interactive Brokers, IQFeed and eSignal. It also has the ability to execute trades through over 100 brokerages world wide. NinjaTrader can be used free of cost for charting and scanning, until you decide to trade live, which then requires a subscription starting from $50/month (for annual prepay) to enable the live trading and order entry functionality.
These are some of the features of NinjaTrader that makes it hugely popular, especially among emini futures traders:
The NinjaTrader SuperDOM (which shows an enhanced Depth of Market) is especially popular with many traders around the globe, so much so that many brokers have incorporated a modified version into their trading platforms, e.g. IB's Booktrader. SuperDOM enables a trader to quickly and easily create and modify orders with a single click of the mouse. NinjaTrader then takes over the management of the trade based on the preset profit targets and trailing stops.
Chart-based Order Entry
This is one of the trading features which is gaining in popularity as it enables a trader to watch the chart indicators for the right trade signals and then at the opportune time, execute orders directly within the chart! NinjaTrader's ChartTrader allows you to conduct your technical analysis and trade in real-time using the same advanced chart window. Once a trade is placed, the Advanced Trade Management system takes care of the trade from start to finish, including automatic break-even, automatic trailing stops and multiple targets & stops.
Powerful Real-time Market Scanning
NinjaTrader also incorporates a powerful Market Analyzer which can scan through multiple stocks, futures or currencies in real-time showing you which instruments meet your technical criteria. Market Analyzer allows unlimited configurations due to the ability to customize based on market data, indicator and trade data columns.
Strategy Development using NinjaScript®
One of the features that makes NinjaTrader very powerful and versatile is NinjaScript®. Power and versatility however come at a price because there is a slight learning curve to master NinjaScript. It is based on the popular C# programming language which unfortunately is alien to many traders. For those who are familiar with how to program indicators and strategies, it is just a matter of translating ideas into code. Because of this feature, the trader is no longer confined to the traditional paradigm of evaluating trading logic based on the update of a price bar, as with many other such programming languages for trading. Using the advanced event driven model, the trigger for execution could be based on market data, market depth, order status, fill updates and even position updates.
NinjaTrader’s Strategy Analyzer enables a trader to perform backtesting on historical data in order to analyze and review the performance of various trading strategies. It also allows for liberal, conservative and customizable historical order fill algorithms for more realistic order fills during backtesting.
For traders who are currently trading through Tradestation Securities using their own customized Tradestation strategies, they are now able to route orders from TradeStation to another broker by using NinjaTrader.
Data Feed Service Providers
NinjaTrader supports datafeeds from the following brokers and vendors:
- Interactive Brokers
- MB Trading
- TD AMERITRADE
- Yahoo Finance for End-of-Day historical data (free source)
- Real-time live forex rate data courtesy of GAIN Capital/FOREX.com (free built into NinjaTrader)
- Brokerage using Zen-Fire technology
- Brokerage using Trading Technologies technology
- Brokerage using Patsystems technology
- Brokerage using Vision Financial Markets technology
- Brokerage using PFGBest.com technology
Competitors to NinjaTrader
Some of the earlier competitors to NinjaTrader include Buttontrader and Brackettrader which provide fast and efficient order entry functionality for traders using the Interactive Broker's TWS trading platform. NinjaTrader has quickly grown from its humble roots and is now beginning to compete with the likes of Tradestation and OpenQuant.
NinjaTrader Computer Requirements
Read Choosing a Stock Trading PC for a more detailed discussion on computer requirements for trading. The minimum system requirements to run NinjaTrader are:
- Operating System: Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or Windows XP.
- Monitor Resolution: Minimum of 1024 x 768.
- CPU: Minimum Pentium 4 or higher.
- RAM: 1GB RAM or higher if you are running Windows XP and 2GB or higher if you are running Windows Vista.
- Additional Software Requirements: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0.
Based on trader feedback in forums, NinjaTrader requires loads of RAM to run effectively so it is a good idea to install at least 4GB or more, especially if you are running a 64-bit OS that can capitalize on that amount of RAM. If you're looking for a new PC which is ideal for running NinjaTrader, then take a look at one of the Best Trading PC, which is a favorite among many active traders.
As using NinjaTrader has a slight learning curve, especially for beginners, the online references and samples provided are top-notch and explain ideas quite clearly. If additional assistance is required, the NT support forum is very proactive in getting questions answered quickly and accurately. As long as a trader is genuinely willing to learn, the customer support will try to help as much as possible to solve a problem with the program, scripting or any other issues.
Using NinjaTrader is a great way to trade the markets and make money. Couple NinjaTrader with the Zen-Fire feed, and you get a combination which is currently considered to be one of the fastest and most stable in the industry. The Zen-Fire feed that NT receives data from (only certain brokers) is unfiltered, lightning quick, and very stable, even during periods of high-volume. There are some minor nuances and problems, e.g problems when trying to backtest like a few months of 144 tick ES bars and slow update of charts during fast market situations, but all these should be history with the upcoming release of NinjaTrader version 7.