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June 1, 2014

Keeping up with fast-moving markets is difficult enough these days.Your investing and trading platform should make your life easier, not harder. The recently enhanced tdameritrade.com offers a number of tools to help you be more efficient and nimble.

As another quarterly earnings season looms, new features recently added to tdameritrade.com can help you prepare for the twists and turns ahead. The enhanced site, launched late last year, is packed with several new “gotta have” features designed to help you get to just the right information at crucial moments. Let’s spotlight three of those new features: the redesigned home page, enhanced Watch Lists and new docking features.

1. Your Redesigned Home PageSay Cheese

Cut through all the noise and follow the money, providing a “snapshot” of both your account and the market at a given moment—as well as the tools to take immediate action.

The Overview section, seen when you first log in, gives a sense of what’s moving the markets and an overview of daily portfolio performance. Who’s committing the big news of the day? Any “story stocks” or major corporate actions in the pipeline? It’s right there in front of you—videos, too. You can sort through earnings announcements by market capitalization, which helps identify the stocks most likely to have the greatest impact on the overall market and broader benchmarks, like the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Check the Calendar tab for past, present and future corporate news, economic releases and any other real-world events that may have a direct effect on your nest egg (see figure 1). Other handy tabs include Balances/ Positions and Last Transactions, to help track your recent moves and how you stand.

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FIGURE 1: LETS MAKE IT A DATE. Check out a given days slate of earnings releases and other corporate events, easily available from the redesigned tdameritrade.com home page; from your account Overview section, scroll down and find the Calendar tab (red arrow). Source: TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.

2. Redesigned Watch Lists (And Throw In A Screener)

Setting Screens

To set up Screener for stocks, log in to tdameritrade.com

We’re not saying you’re a stalker—but you do want to keep a lurking eye on what you’ve sunk your hard-earned money into, and where some enticing opportunities may lie.

Watch Lists function as a streaming storehouse of your best ideas. Track top picks in a sector or industry, or the biggest movers over a certain time period, or stocks scheduled to pay dividends. Once you create a watch list, research on a specific company is but a few clicks away, and up-to-date market data can help you hit the right entry or exit point for a trade.

With the Screener, you can further sharpen your focus. Screens are pretty easy to set up. Say you want to zero in on highly rated stocks in the financial sector that pay a dividend yield of over 3%. Or maybe you’re interested in stocks that recently crossed below their 50-day moving average (see figure 2).

1. Just follow the click-path to Research & Ideas > Screeners.

2. Choose Stocks, Options, Mutual Funds, or ETFs from the left menu

3. Choose your criteria and parameters.

4. Select the green  “View matches” button.

From the results page, you can save your list as a new watch list, or save the screen itself to run again without the inconvenience of amnesia blocking you from remembering your perfect screen.

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FIGURE 2: MAKING A LIST. Use the Screener function, under the Research & Ideas tab, to build a list of stocks based on valuation metrics such as P/E ratios (red arrows) and other fundamental and technical factors. Source: TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.

3. Go For A Ride

Think of this as your personal dashboard, although unlike what you’ll find at your local auto dealership, you can tailor this version however you please. Located on the right side of your screen, the dock allows you to keep just what you want right in front of you at all times: quotes, headlines, account balances and positions, shortcuts, you name it.

By default, the dock is very much a blank canvas—allowing you to customize it with an array of “modules.” Take a few minutes to customize your dock by exploring the module library and dragging the ones that catch your eye into the dock. It can be a powerful tool, helping keep you in tune with real-time market events (see figure 3).

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FIGURE 3: DOCKING IN. Customize My Dock with modules that display streaming stock quotes, headlines, account balances and other information, and use the gear to make tweaks (red arrow). Source: TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.

Customization doesn’t end at selecting a mix of modules. Each module can also be customized. Check what’s in each module’s “gear” menu for possible tweaks to best serve your needs.

And don’t forget to check the module for premium content you have subscriptions to, such as Barron’s or The Wall Street Journal. Heck, if your interests go beyond investing (we shudder), no need to leave your trading platform—just add the RSS Reader for things like ESPN, Autoblog, Engadget, and Reddit.

We’ve really only scratched the surface on how the upgraded site can help you pursue your investing and trading goals. Be sure to check back for future Gear Head columns for more highlights on all the coolest new toys.

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