MetaTrader 4 , also known as MT4 , is an electronic trading platform widely used by online retail foreign exchange speculative traders. It was developed by MetaQuotes Software and released in The software is licensed to foreign exchange brokers who provide the software to their clients. The software consists of both a client and server component.
The client is a Microsoft Windows -based application that became popular mainly due to the ability for end users to write their own trading scripts and robots that could automate trading. In , MetaQuotes released a successor, MetaTrader 5. However, uptake was slow and as of April most brokers still used MT4. Its developer, MetaQuotes Software, had previously released a number of versions of the MetaTrader platform starting in MetaTrader 4 was a significantly enhanced version and was released in Between and , a number of brokerages added the MT4 platform as an optional alternative to their existing trading software due to its popularity with traders and the large number of third party scripts and advisors.
In October , a significantly re-coded MetaTrader 5 went into public beta testing. The client terminal includes a built-in editor and compiler with access to a user contributed free library of software, articles and help. MetaTrader's popularity largely stems from its support of algorithmic trading. MT4 is designed to be used as a stand-alone system with the broker manually managing their position and this is a common configuration used by brokers. However a number of third party developers have written software bridges enabling integration with other financial trading systems for automatic hedging of positions.
In late and early , MetaQuotes Software began to work towards removing third-party plugins for its software from the market, suing and warning developers and brokers. Pending orders will be executed only when the price reaches a predefined level, whereas Market orders can be executed in one of the four modes: Instant execution , Request execution , Market execution , and Exchange execution.
Its advantage is that the order will be executed at a known price. However, a good trading opportunity can be missed when the volatility is high and the requested price cannot be served. A trader has several seconds to decide if the received price is worth trading. Such mode offers a certain knowledge of price combined with guaranteed execution at that price.
The tradeoff is the reduced speed of execution, which can take a lot longer than other modes. The advantage of this mode is that it allows trading without any sort of requotes. However, deviation can get considerable during volatile price changes. The trade is executed according to the current depth of market. The platform is focused on margin trading. Some brokerages use MetaTrader 4 to trade CFD but it is not designed for full-time work in the stock market or exchange-traded futures.
At the same time, MetaTrader 5 also works with equities and commodities exchange-traded commodities. Both MetaTrader 4 and 5 can use custom indicators and trading programs called Expert Advisors for trading automation.
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