How to Use Alerts to Stay in the Know

Use alerts to monitor individual securities as well as your portfolio performance. Here's how. How to set trading alerts
5 min read
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Key Takeaways

  • Set alerts to receive timely information that can affect your assets

  • Customize alerts to your investments to assist you with buy, sell, and hold decisions

  • Use alerts to monitor individual securities as well as your portfolio performance

Staying up to date on information that can affect your investment strategy can be time-consuming with an avalanche of real-time news pouring in on the global economy, markets and company events.

Alerts can help cut through the daunting clutter by notifying you of information and news that may affect your holdings and portfolio performance, as well as your investment decisions. These automatic notifications can keep you informed about poorly performing assets that you may want to shed, or better performing securities that you may want to buy.

Alerts save time and help investors catch what they need to know.

Types of Alerts for Managing Your Portfolio

Investors can choose from many types of alerts at TD Ameritrade. Some alerts are designed to track a specific security and they can signal an opportunity to buy or sell an asset. Others can help you monitor the performance of your portfolio by notifying you of significant changes. Still others can provide information on key economic data or general market news.

Investors can customize alerts to suit their needs, such as by setting a specific target price or other criteria that signals a need to buy or sell a security or exit a trade.

Set Up Alerts to Fit Your Needs

Setting up alerts through TD Ameritrade is simple. Clients can log in to their account and visit the Alerts page (under “Research & Ideas” tab), where there is a broad choice of customizable alerts that can be delivered via mobile or text on a one-time or recurring basis. 

Here are some of the most frequently used alerts and how they can help inform your investing strategies and trade decisions:

1. Price and volume changes for individual securities. You can easily track the performance of individual securities, including changes in price or volume. For example, set alerts for when a security has moved by a certain percent or dollar amount or when there is a meaningful change in the volume of shares being traded. Or when it hits your price target.

Setting alerts for individual securities

FIGURE 1: ALERTS FOR INDIVIDUAL SECURITIES. This investor can create a price alert and choose to be notified by primary email when the price increases 10% above its current market price. For illustrative purposes only.

2. Press releases, dividend payment date, and other company news. Receive notifications on the date dividends are scheduled to be paid, and for press releases, which can include announcements on new products or acquisitions. Or you may want to know when third-party analysts have changed their ratings on a particular stock, and keep track of major company news that might affect your portfolio.

3. Portfolio performance and value. Similar to alerts for individual securities, alerts for portfolio performance can notify you when the value of your assets change. You can receive daily or weekly notices recapping your portfolio’s status, or get updated on specific changes or events related to companies in your portfolio such as stock splits. Find these alerts under the “Portfolios” tab.

Setting portfolio performance alerts

FIGURE 2: PORTFOLIO PERFORMANCE ALERTS. In this scenario, an investor can choose to receive daily alerts regarding any changes to consensus earnings targets for their holdings. For illustrative purposes only.

4. Market and economic activity and updates. Alerts keep you on top of extensive news and information that may affect your investing strategy. For example, you can set alerts for a list of daily gainers and losers, a daily list of stocks that have hit new extremes, or a daily list of stocks or ETFs with the largest volume. You can also be notified of breakouts or receive market commentary, morning news roundups or analysis of major economic indicators.
Setting market alerts

FIGURE 3: MARKET ALERTS. Here an investor can choose to receive a morning roundup of stocks that have reached a new 52-week high. For illustrative purposes only.

The Bottom Line

Use alerts to get notifications with timely information that will help you monitor your portfolio, inform your investment decisions and act on trade opportunities. They’ll help cut through the clutter of news and information and alert you with the information you choose to receive, when and how you choose to receive it.  


Key Takeaways

  • Set alerts to receive timely information that can affect your assets

  • Customize alerts to your investments to assist you with buy, sell, and hold decisions

  • Use alerts to monitor individual securities as well as your portfolio performance

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