Questrade 90 Day Free Trading Trial - Try It!

As promised in my earlier post, How Do I Actually Purchase a Stock on the Stock Market?, I have now opened a Questrade 90 Day Free Trading Trial Account. This is a good way to practice buying and selling stocks to get the feel of how the account works and how you would actually trade with your own money.  I should also note I am not affiliated with Questrade in any manner. I just think the Trial Account idea is fantastic and would encourage all of you to give it a try! 

Here is the step by step process for signing up for the trading trial account:

1.     Go to www.questrade.com;

2.     Click on the Free Trading Trial button in the top right-hand corner;

3.     Click on the Stock, ETF option and fill in your information;

4.     A page will come up indicating that your login credentials have been emailed to you (they are also found directly on the page);

5.     Pick what trading platform you want. I chose the basic Questrade Trading platform as the IQ Edge appears to be for more advanced traders; and

6.     Sign in and start trading!

Once you log in, you will be prompted to take a quick trading tour. I did this to get a sense of the site. Once you click on Get Started you are at the main page where you are going to conduct your practice trading. 

For the purposes of this practice account, I am going to buy each of the stocks I profile on the blog (to date it is Lifeway, Inc. and Glaukos Corporation) in the next 90 days and see where things end up at the end of the trial.

·       You are given $500,000 CAD and $500,000 USD to practice. For most of us, we will not have any US currency and vice versa for Americans (unlikely one would have a CAD account). You likely only have an account with your home country currency. That is not a problem for the purposes of trading as if you buy a US stock with CAD or a Canadian stock with USD, the currency conversion will be done for you automatically. You will however be charged a currency conversion fee to account for the currency conversion. This is not unlike a fee you would pay to an exchange when you are going to vacation in another country and need to convert your money. A small fee is charged for that service and the same would occur here.  

·       The Order Entry sidebar is where you will enter your order. I am going to buy 100 shares of LWAY (enter the stock ticker name in the STK box at the top) at the Market price (Market price is what the price is at the time you buy the stock (see How Do I Actually Buy A Stock on the Stock Market? and below for information on market orders v. limit orders) and set the duration to Day which means the order will remain active to the end of the current trading day after which it will expire (you can however set it to expire at other various times but to start, I have put Day). There are other possible durations you can set for purchasing the stock if you scroll under Order Type. I can discuss those in detail in a later post.  

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·       The above is a screenshot from my purchase of LWAY stock in the trial account. You will see the following terms at the top of the Order Entry sidebar:  Last, Bid, Bid sz, Ask and Ask sz. You may also notice that the Bid and Ask are constantly changing. What do these terms mean?

Let’s discuss using the following example from the screen for LWAY: Last 9.783, Bid 9.67, Bid sz 5, Ask 9.78, Ask sz 3.

The translation for this row of figures is that LWAY is being Asked or offered at $9.78, which is the lowest price traders are willing to sell LWAY, and Bid at $9.67 which is the highest price traders are willing to pay for LWAY at this point in time. These numbers change constantly.  The last price the security was traded at was $9.783. This means some are wanting to sell for $9.78 and some are wanting to buy at $9.67 so when you click you want to buy at the market price, it is fair to say that you will be buying LWAY at the Ask price ($9.78) because that is in effect the “sale price” at that moment. If you are willing to buy at the price at the moment, a seller is not going to take less than what is being offered so you will buy at the Ask price. 

The Bid sz figure represents how many shares are being bid for and the Ask sz represents how many shares are being offered. For stocks over $1.00, these are multiples of 100 so a Bid sz 5 means 500 shares are being bid on and Ask sz 3 means 300 shares are being offered. If the Bid sz is larger than the Ask sz, it may indicate a higher demand for the stock – more people are wanting to buy the stock then sell it. 

To summarize, if you are looking to buy LWAY with a market order, you would pay $9.78 for up to 500 shares. You can buy less if you like, you just can't buy more than 500 as that is all that is available to buy at this point in time. If you wanted to sell LWAY, you know there is an entity willing to buy at least 300 shares at $9.67 per share. So, both numbers are important depending on whether you are buying or selling.

A final word about market orders v. limit orders. As you will see very quickly once setting up your account, the stock prices are constantly moving.  If you place a market order, by the time it is executed, the price you ended up paying or selling may be different than what you saw on your screen at the time. A market order is a direction to buy the stock at whatever the price is at the time the transaction was executed. For example, if an order came in ahead of yours, the stock price may have changed by the time your order was completed. While this doesn’t always happen, there is always a chance the stock price could change significantly.

If you are concerned with this impact, you can consider placing a limit order which specifies the exact price you are willing to buy or sell. As an example, if you wanted to buy 500 shares of a stock and the Ask size was 200 at Ask price of $15.00. You could put a limit order in to buy the 500 shares at $15.00. Your order would fill the first 200 shares at $15.00 (because that is all that is available at this time) and then wait at that price until the remaining 300 shares became available and then your order would be filled.  You can also put an end date on the order request after which if it was not filled, it would terminate and you would be left with whatever shares had been purchased by that time.    

In contrast, if the above order example had been a market order, the remaining shares would fill at whatever the Ask price was as the next 300 shares became available for purchase. That price may be higher than what you paid for the first 200 shares or they could be lower, either way, the remaining shares will be filled at the market price at that time. So you could end up paying more than you wanted to in this scenario. You can also put an end date on a market order.

I am going to buy 100 shares of Lifeway, Inc. (LWAY) and 100 shares of Glaukos Corporation (GKOS) at market price and I will report as the 90-day trial continues as to how these shares are performing. Please comment below if you open a Questrade 90-day Free Trading Trial Account and let us know what you are buying and how it is going! Give it a try as there is no obligation to open and fund an actual account once the 90 days has expired. 

(Top Photo: Courtesy of Corey Agopian on Unsplash. It is snowing where I live so dreaming about my winter Palm Springs vacation...)