In an effort to streamline order entry and help you make better informed trades, there have been a variety of improvements to schwab.com's order entry interface. Whether you're looking to place an order in the extended hours trading session, tee up a small basket of stocks (up to five orders), or set up a mutual fund transaction, the newly redesigned interface offers a superior and more intuitive experience than was previously available.
Let's take a closer look at these updates.
Trade stocks: enter order page
Accessed by clicking on the Trade > Stocks & ETFs tab, the Trade Stocks page on schwab.com has undergone numerous updates, starting with the auto-complete symbol field. As you start typing a symbol, the auto-complete feature will provide a list of securities with the specified characters. You can keep typing or click on your symbol to finish loading.
After loading the symbol, you will notice a detailed quote displayed below your trade ticket.
You can see the security name to help minimize trade errors, as well as level one quote information, and the daily and 52-week high and low. If you use the margin feature on your account, you can also click the margin link to view margin requirement information in a pop-up window. Here, you'll be able to see Schwab's minimum equity requirement to maintain the stock position. It's important to know the margin maintenance requirement prior to placing your order.
Want to see a chart without disrupting your workflow? Click the chart link on the bottom right-hand corner of the detailed quote and you'll see a pop-up window with a robust chart to perform your analysis. Once you're finished with the chart, simply close the dialog box to continue with your trade ticket.
If conserving screen real estate is important to you, the detailed quotes screen offers a condensed view. Click the minus sign to the left of the symbol to collapse to view only the top row consisting of the symbol, company name, last trade price, change and inside market price.
There's no need to refresh the entire page if you'd like a quotes update. Instead, click on the refresh icon and you'll receive the most up-to-date quote available.
Recognizing the importance of having your position information readily available, under the symbol field we've added your current stock position as well as your option position (if applicable). If you wish to sell your entire position, simply select 'Sell All' (or 'Buy To Cover' if short) and the action and quantity will load with the appropriate closing order action and order quantity.
From this point you can define the order type and price (if a non-market order) to obtain the estimated amount of your transaction. For special conditions, such as setting up your order with an 'All or None' condition or defining a minimum quantity, select 'Optional.' From the Optional drawer you can make any last updates prior to reviewing your order for submission.
When selecting the quantity of shares, you may wish to take advantage of the share calculator located below the quantity field of the order ticket. This tool can be particularly helpful when there is a dollar amount you would like to invest and or make available from the sale of a position.
Within the calculator, enter the dollar amount and click the calculate button to have the tool calculate the number of shares based on either your limit price or the inside market price. As outlined in the disclosure, it's important to note that the calculation is an estimate and does not take into account any commissions and/or fees. Furthermore, on market orders, if the security is thinly traded and/or volatile market conditions exist, there could be significant discrepancies between the price used to calculate the number of shares and the price at which your order is filled.
From the right side of your screen, you can keep a close look on where the markets stand. You can see the dollar amount and percentage that the markets are up or down on the day for major indexes.
If you've historically used the 'Trade Multiple Stocks' tab, you may have noticed it's no longer available. We've replaced it with an 'Add an Order' link located on the bottom left-hand corner of your order ticket. Intuitively placed, the 'Add an Order' link allows you to predefine up to five orders, creating a small basket that can be submitted all at once. Decided that you don't want one of the orders in your basket? Simply click on the X on the upper-right corner of the specific order ticket to have it removed.
Trade stocks: verify order page
From the 'Verify Order' view, you can make order updates. Simply click on the order fields you'd like to modify and you will be returned to the 'Enter Order' view with the fields highlighted. For example, if you click the limit price field from the 'Verify Order' view, the price will be selected so that you can quickly type in a new limit price before reviewing the order.
Trade stocks: order received page
After you have verified and placed your order, you will get an order received message. This message, along with your order number, is your confirmation that you have completed the order placing process. From here you can use the top navigation to go to a different area of schwab.com, or click one of the links at the bottom right-hand corner of the order received page to go place another order, or to access the order status page if you decide to change or cancel any open orders.
Similar to the 'Trade Stocks & ETFs' page, the 'Trade Options' tickets have undergone a redesign to provide key decision support information. If you are an options trader, you will find that many of the enhancements made to the stock ticket also apply to the options ticket. Let's review some of the changes that are specific to options trading.
Schwab.com has replaced the OptionStreet® menu with a new options navigation bar that keeps many of the resources you've come to depend on readily accessible. Whether it's the chains or one of the screeners, with the options navigation bar located directly above the trade ticket, valuable resources are just a click away.
Not sure what options trades can be placed in your account? Click on the 'Approval Level' link on the right-hand side of the options navigation bar for a full list of the option orders that can be placed at the various approval levels.
In the 'Symbol' field, enter the underlying symbol for a quick chain of options contracts based on the selected expiration. If you click on the contract, your ticket will reflect any options positions you may have as well as any shares you may own of the underlying. As with an equity ticket, you can click 'Sell All' to have your ticket populate with the closing action and quantity. So that you can keep track of the option and the underlying prices, detailed quotes for both are made available at the bottom of the trade ticket.
To obtain the latest quote information without refreshing your entire page, click the refresh icon.
To view the open interest, options price charts and historical volume, select 'Chart' from the expanded detailed options quote section.
If you're placing a multi-leg order, such as a spread or straddle, the quantities for the second leg are linked to the first via the 'Same as Leg 1' setting. Should you wish to place a ratio spread, simply uncheck the 'Same as Leg 1' setting. This, for example, will allow you to designate a 1:2 or 2:1 ratio for the order.
Trade mutual funds
The 'Trade Mutual Funds' page also received a few updates. For example, if placing a sell order by share amount, the ticket now displays the estimated amount in dollars that will be generated upon the execution of your order.
Also, when placing an order that would add shares to an existing mutual fund position, your choice for 'Dividend and Capital Gains' reinvestments are displayed for you on step 2, Enter Order (cont.). Note that while the dividends and capital gains reinvestment instructions are displayed, they can not be changed through the order entry process. You can update the reinvestment instructions on your position from the Accounts > Positions > Market Value view.
I hope you have found this walkthrough of the latest enhancements to schwab.com order entry helpful. For a quick reference guide that you can print out and keep handy as you navigate the new and enhanced trading experience on schwab.com, click here.