About the Metatrader (MT4) Software
The MetaTrader 4 software, which is often called MT4, is very popular electronic platform for Forex trading. The software has been developed by MetaQuotes Software Corp., a Russian software company, which currently provides its platform to more than 500 brokers and banks around the world under a license. Launched in 2005, the MT4 platform has gained immense popularity among both private and small-sized investors. Its main advantages are a simple interface and the possibility of automation of the trade through the use of own trading scripts and trading robots (advisers). Most traders and investors both in the Forex and in the CFD (contracts for difference for various financial instruments) markets associate trading with the MetaTrader 4 platform.
MT4 is not only considered to be the most popular platform for online trading on the global markets. It is also the most powerful tool for trading in currency markets, which is designed for small- and medium-sized investors. It is specially designed for private traders. An online trading platform (electronic platform) is a computer program that can be used to place trading requests for a variety of financial instruments on the network of financial institutions. These financial institutions are brokers, which act as intermediaries (in other words, they carry out a transaction between buyers and sellers by fulfilling orders placed by both of the above). Online investors can make transactions at the prices displayed in the trading platform in real time and take advantage of other features of the platform. These functions include additional trading instruments such as the management of trading accounts, a real-time news feed, a graphic editor, and even trading robots, which are also called advisors.
Today, many trading platforms are designed for trading in various financial instruments (currency, stock assets, bonds, futures, and options) while the very first trading software was used almost exclusively with the stock exchange. Until 1970, financial transactions between brokers and their counterparts were processed manually; and the only way for traders to enter the global financial markets was through intermediaries. It was at this time that electronic trading platforms emerged in trading, which now processed part of transactions. The first of these platforms were designed primarily for trading on the stock exchange and were known as RFQ (request for quotation) systems. Such systems performed the orders of their clients and brokers with a small delay. Since the 1970s, trading platforms without real-time quotations have been gradually replaced by more complex software with a virtually instantaneous execution of orders. These new platforms also featured real-time quotations and a more convenient user interface.
History of MT4
The first generation of trading platforms for Forex, which appeared in 1996, increased the rate of development of the foreign exchange market and trading volumes of individual investors. As a result, the retail FX market has become available to private traders. Now accessing the world market and trading currencies directly from one’s computer are as easy as never before. While the first generation of electronic trading platforms did not vary widely in terms of their functionality and were user-unfriendly, they gradually began to feature new functions: technical analysis and a graphical editor. This made such platforms more advanced; many of them now featured browser and mobile versions (for smartphones and tablets) that supported automated tools such as trading robots.
Simultaneously, the advent of online trading platforms has given rise to a segment of the market of foreign exchange (Forex for private investors), which immediately began to grow fast. Online platforms allow individuals to enter the world market of foreign exchange and to trade online through brokers and banks. This market segment became accessible even to investors with a small capital. Even very modest sums on the trading account have allowed investors to trade in the forex market. The demand for technically advanced trading platforms continued to grow, particularly in the retail forex market. More and more individuals started trading on world markets directly from their homes. The MetaTrader 4 online platform, which was released in 2005, became such a program and allowed a large number of retail traders to engage in profiteering transactions and investments in foreign currencies and other financial instruments from almost anywhere in the world.
Popularity of the Metatrader (MT4) Platform
As of today, over half a million traders use the MT4 platform for their daily trading. A wide range of different features in the software allows for adopting balanced investment decisions. These features include automated trading, mobile trading, one-click trading, news feed, built-in custom indicators, the ability to handle a large number of orders, an impressive number of indicators, and charting tools. MT4 is fit for use by both beginning and experienced traders, which has gained enormous popularity for the MT4 platform in almost all the corners of the world.
MT4 and Automated Trading
Automated trading is popular among online investors who want to automate order processing at an incredibly high speed of execution and who need a set of predetermined rules for position entry and exit. Rules are written by the trader using the MQL programming language, which is built in the MetaTrader4 platform. The automated trading feature, which is also called the system trading, has another great advantage: it executes transactions mechanically on the basis of the settings specified by the trader. Thus, it eliminates the psychological factor of trading, which often has a negative impact on the quality of trading decisions. So, this feature performs trading transactions on behalf of the trader while retaining the analytical trading functionality.
The advanced MT4 platform features a complete integration of automated trading into the software. It can perform a large number of orders more quickly than ever before in manual trading. This allows many investors to save a lot of time since they are exempt from the monitoring of the market and the execution of transactions.
Another important feature of automated trading is reverse testing, i.e., testing of trading strategies against historical data. According to the accepted trading rules, this tool calculates the yield of a strategy using historical market data, which allows traders to assess the impact of various trade ideas on the profitability of trading strategies. The use of reverse testing by traders allows them to evaluate the effectiveness of trade ideas and to choose the best of them. In the future, these ideas can be applied in real life and improve the profitability of trading strategies. Automated trading is effective by definition. It is a powerful tool for market trading, especially for beginners. Therefore, it is highly recommended for those who make their first steps in trading to begin trading with a small position.
It should also be noted that technical problems can also affect the outcome of transactions performed by the automated system. In this regard, many traders with an unstable Internet connection have to control the transactions that are made with the use of the automated trading feature. We offer the MT4 virtual server service (MT4 VPS) to exclude all the negative factors, such as a slow network connection, computer crashes, and power outages. A virtual server ensures the reliable operation of automated trading functions and advisers in all the circumstances.
Automated Trading and the MQL Language
Without doubt, automated trading is the most popular feature in the MetaTrader 4 software. It is noteworthy that more than 75 percent of transactions on the shares of US companies, including on NASDAQ and New York Stock Exchanges, have been performed by automated trading systems since 2014. MT4 automated trading is a huge advantage for traders and investors. It can be used to trade not only stocks but also Forex currencies, futures, and options. Trading strategies on the MT4 platform are built with the use of the platform’s own scripting language (MQL4), which can be used by traders to create own advisers (trading robots), custom indicators, and scripts as well as to test and to optimize advisers using the MT4 strategy tester.
MQL4 provides for a large number of functions that allow traders to analyze both previously adopted and current quotations, to monitor price changes using the built-in technical indicators, and continuously to monitor orders. A trader has more than 30 customizable technical indicators, which can be placed on charts of different financial instruments (not only on the Forex market), at his or her disposal on the MT4 platform. Indicators help investors to determine price patterns on price charts as well as market trends and position entry and exit points and to receive trading signals.
Trading software written in MQL4 serves different purposes and provides traders with different functions. Advisers linked to individual charts provide investors with valuable information about the possibility to open transactions and can also open transactions on their own by sending signals directly to the trade server. In addition, investors can write their own custom indicators in MQL4 and use them in addition to the system ones at the MT4 client terminal. In MQL4, provision is made for scripts, which – unlike advisers – do not perform any action on the trader’s behalf but rather are intended for the execution of certain transactions.
Mobile Trading and the MT4 Platform
MetaTrader4 was created to comply with requirements of the technology in the 21st century. Therefore, the main feature of the software is its scalability, which is mainly characterized by its portability. That is why the MT4 software was created for mobile devices, which can be used by traders to work with the MT4 platform directly from their smartphones or tablets rather than only from Windows and Mac computers. This means that now a portfolio of assets, as well as several trading accounts, can be managed virtually “on the move.” The ability to manage multiple accounts from a single interface and from mobile devices (smartphones, PDAs, and tablet PCs) gives traders a tangible advantage when trading while the compatibility with the iOS operating system allows many fans of Apple devices to monitor the market and to place their transactions 24 hours a day directly from their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch devices.
MT4 mobile trading can be used by online investors to easily monitor the global markets from anywhere and at any time, to instantly place orders and execute them, and of course to manage their accounts even when they do not have access to their PC. In addition, mobile trading provides for a large set of analytic functions and a graphical display of quotations, which makes account management even easier and faster. Since the mobile trading features on a smartphone and a tablet are exactly the same as on a PC, online investors can make transactions at the same speed and with the same trading tools and do not need to learn a new interface.