I’ve put together a list of some of the best free financial trading tools available which could help you improve your trading profits.

Top 4 Free Financial Trading Tools – Charting

1. www.igindex.co.uk These guys are the Granddaddy of the spread betting world and are really cornering the market in terms of pricing and range of markets. Their simple charts are easy to use and their advanced charts are very effective, provided your computer has the necessary fire power. They’ve even introduced a feature that allows you to trade directly from the charts. You do of course need an IG index account, but you do not have to trade if you don’t want to.

2. http://www.alpari-idc.com/ If you go to “Download MetaTrader 4” on the right, you can download the excellent meta trader platform using Alpari’s forex data. If you are trading forex, then I’d highly recommend this as a great way of getting free live charts with a powerful charting package.

3. http://www.cmsfx.com/en/trading-software/ Is another forex broker with accompanying software. CMS has a brilliant charting package called Visual Trader which I highly recommend.

4. http://www.moneycorpmarkets.com I like these guys as brokers and they have a very good charting package with integrated trading. They are my favourite forex broker at the moment.

Top 5 News Sites

1. http://www.bloomberg.com/ Fast news & analysis.

2. http://www.briefing.com/ Superb for analysis of US markets.

3. http://finance.google.com/finance Fantastic news aggregator and portfolio tracker.

4. http://www.sharecast.com/ UK focused news feeds.

5. http://ransquawk.com/ Free delayed squawk box with the news delivered via voice.

Top 5 Free blogs

1. http://www.kirkreport.com/

2. http://bigpicture.typepad.com/

3. http://quantifiableedges.blogspot.com/

4. http://bespokeinvest.typepad.com/

5. http://paul.kedrosky.com/

Top 5 Free Educational tools

There are some fantastic free resources on the Internet…

Forums can be useful, but they often involved having to sift through lots of idiotic posts to get to the good stuff.

1. http://www.babypips.com/ The best free forex trading resource on the internet. Want to start trading forex and don’t want to slash the cash. Visit here first.

2. http://www.forexfactory.com/ is one of the better forums with less noise and silly bickering. There are some great system ideas like Phillip Nel’s system here: http://tinyurl.com/6zrsay

3. www.trade2win.com is an ever popular forum and it does contain some very useful stuff. However, I’ve heard it called Trade2Winge and sometimes it’s not far off the mark. There are some useful nuggets dotted about however.

4. http://www.hardrightedge.com/tw.htm Alan Farley is a master trader, one of the best in the business. His Hard Right Edge website is stacked full of trading lessons from chart patterns to exit rules. Highly recommended.

5. http://thepatternsite.com/ Tom Bulkowski is one of the most famous chart pattern traders in the business, his free website contains tons of useful studies into the various patterns and their effectiveness.

Top 5 Books on Trading Techniques

1. Malcolm Pryor: The Financial Spread Betting Handbook

Quite simply, the best book you’ll find on spread betting for beginners.

2. Oliver Velez & Greg Capra: Tools & Tactics for the master day trader

This is a great nuts and bolts trading book which combines trading theory with lots of practical methods. It’s brutality honest about the realities of day trading which makes it stand out well for me.

3. John Murphy: Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets:

A classic in the field, covering all manner of technical analysis techniques from moving averages to MACD.

4. Steve Nison: The Candlestick Course

An introduction to the weird and wonderful world of candlestick trading. Steve Nison is credited with being the guy who first brought over Japanese candlesticks from the East.

5. Alexander Elder: Come into My trading Room

Come into my trading room is genuinely an excellent book. Although its primarily based on trading futures or US stocks, the lessons are applicable to many areas including spread betting. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Top 5 Books on Trading Psychology

1. Mark Douglas: Trading In The Zone

Some traders estimate that 90% of trading success is attributable to our trading mindset. I’m not sure it’s quite this much, but it is very important and often only looked into after mistakes are made. Trading In The Zone is the best book on trading psychology by a country mile. It touches on all aspects from problems managing losses to the way we approach money HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

2. Thomas Gilovich: Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes: Lessons from the new science of behavioural economics.

Traditional economics implies that human beings are rational, when we are clearly anything but. This book lists the common behaviour biases we have when it comes to money and the effects they have on our decisions. A fascinating look at the human mind that is entertaining without going too far into psychobabble. Many lessons here for how we are tricked by ourselves and others when it comes to money.

3. Scott Plous: The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making

Goes into a bit more of the theory behind our behavioural errors, but still doesn’t get too technical. A great read if you want more information on the growing field of behavioural economics, which have lots of direct and indirect applications to trading.

4. Peter L. Bernstein: Against the Gods: The remarkable story of risk.

An incredibly well written account of the history of risk management and mans understanding of the role of chance in our lives. Bernstein touches on psychology as well as practical and mathematical insights into how we calculate the probabilities of something happening (and why we often get it so wrong). A heavy read, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

5. Nassim Taleb: Against the Gods: The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable & Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets.

It’s rare that a single book has the power to change the way a whole industry trades, but Taleb’s book has done this. Taleb looks at the human inability to predict the future and the way we under estimate the impact of highly improbably events and read to much into randomness. He’s risen to fame recently as his books appeared to predict the current crisis. He’s brashy and opinionated which makes his books a great read. Fooled by randomness is probably a better, more accesible read of the two. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Top 5 Books on the trading profession

These may not improve your trading, but makes you realise what you’re up against with these serious of books on the Wall Street excess and downright robbery. Well worth reading any of these books. They’re entertaining and will no doubt raise an eyebrow. Some of the stories are so incredible that you forget they are all largely fact not fiction.

1. Michael Lewis: Liars Poker

A semi autobiographical account of Lewis’s time as a bond salesman at Solomon brothers (Now a subsidiary of Citi Group). Lewis exposes the win at all costs atmosphere prevailing throughout Soloman leading to all manner of dark business practices. This book could become too technical leaving the reader lost in the detail, but it is not. It is an entertaining read that I highly recommend.

2. Roger Lowenstein: When Genius Failed

During the current credit crisis you might have heard references to the last major crisis to hit banks. This was down to the Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) crisis. John Meriwether was a colourful character before he set up LTCM, but he certainly built on this reputation over the following years. He had the bright idea of starting a hedge fund using the brightest stars from financial academia. The fund included ‘geniuses’ such as Myron Scholes of Black Scholes options pricing fame. Investors were impressed and pumped $1.25 bn into the fund in 1994. By 1996 there were over $140 bn in assets. The fund was making good money for its investors. However it was built on shaky foundations ,very soon the fund completely imploded, nearly taking the whole financial sector with it. The financial geniuses were caught out by moves that ‘shouldn’t have happened’ and to make matters worse they were massively over leveraged.

3. Michael Lewis: New New things: How some man you’ve never heard of just changed your life.

A more positive book from Michael Lewis looking at one of the characters from the tech boom in a positive light. A fascinating and entertaining read about one mans ability to create and innovate in the biggest tech boom in history.

4. Phillip Augar: The Greed Merchants: How the investment banks played the free market game

An interesting read about the shady business practices of investment banks from someone who used to work in the industry. The investment banks had a hand in the collapse of Enron and World com. Although they never admitted culpability, they paid huge fines. The investment banks are at the forefront of it again, with Lehman Brothers under pressure and Bear Stearns going to the wall. What is most Interesting is that it was written before the recent crisis and problems associated with mortgage backed securities. He pretty much scoffed at the idea that the banks had cleaned up their act post Enron. He ended the book “here’s to the next time”. Unfortunately he was very right.

5. Bethany McLean & Peter Elkin: The Greed Merchants: The Smartest Guys in the room: The amazing rise & scandalous fall of Enron.

Fascinating expose of the story behind the post child of the post dot com collapse. Enron technically didn’t really do anything illegal. It never lied to anyone, it just hid the truth by lending money to itself and then hiding the loans by burying them as tiny footnotes at the bottom of huge earnings statements. But they were always there, it’s just most of the time no one ever bothered to look at such a supposedly solid company. Technically they never committed a crime. The real crime was in the wall street firms which never bothered to look at the earnings statements, and the investors who were too naïve to question wall street and Enron in the first place.