One of my ongoing frustrations has been the lack of options charting capabilities on Schwab and Fidelity trading platforms. Perhaps that capability is there, but it is certainly not easy to find, or charts become unavailable as soon as an option expires. Recently I discovered that BigCharts http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/ offers free options charts.
BigCharts uses their own custom option symbols, not the Fidelity or Schwab flavors or the “standard” option symbol. To get the BigCharts option symbol to use, enter in the underlying symbol (e.g, INTC) towards the top of the screen and click on one of the chart buttons. Then click on the option chain link to show the available options. If you hold your mouse over their “quote” word in their options chains it will show their option symbol. For example for Intel November 2011, $23 strike calls are: “INTCK19114230000). Type this symbol into the symbol dialog, click one of the chart buttons, and you should get the chart for that option.
BigCharts avoids the huge issue of charts not being available after the options expire. But it looks like it still suffers from the problem that intra-day information becomes unavailable soon after the options expire. They need to allow a range of dates to be displayed, not just assume that you want everything referenced back in time from today’s date.
The other thing they need to do is to chart bid/ask values if actual trade values are not available. Since many options are lightly traded their charts are deserts of information. Bid / ask history would be much better than nothing.
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Saturday, February 23rd, 2013 | Vance Harwood