I have used ameritrade to buy the shares of a few Canadian companies that are not listed on the AMEX or whatever. I suggest that you practice.
1) How to convert from Canadian currency? On Yahoo finance on the left side scroll down to currencies, click on and play with that awhile til you are good at it,
2) If your only way is to buy the stocks on the pink sheets in $US, even before you do all your dd go on Ameritrade and find out what symbol works. Practice entering and reviewing buy order information (just in case you make a bad keystroke, use a very low figure for practice). You can do this anytime of any day.
3) Some times there is divergence between the adjusted Can/US activity, but often not much. Play with this some to get the feel of it. So far I have not seen bid and ask US prices on anything I've bought.
4) The process of ordering is the same as with a NASDAQ or AMEX stock, but what happens then is different. It seems to always take a long time to get a fill and (I blush to say this) I haven't figured out how to cancel an order... this needs fixing. Give me a break, I've only done a few purchases
5) I think the commission is the same.. $10.99
6) One way of trying to keep track of the price in the US is to use "My Yahoo" and in your tracking/watch list enter both the Canadian and the US symbols one after the other. Unfortunately, with the ones I have bought, only the previous days close on the pink sheet US stock is given.
Cumbersome?... Oh yes. Workable?... For me, so far, yes.
Pardon me if I think that the patriot act regulations causing Penntrade to stop taking new clients have nothing to do with terrorism.
Your just kidding yourself if you think your buying Canadian stocks on a Canadian exchange. Your actually dealing with an intermediary in NY who is buying the stocks and reselling them to you under a different symbol. These bastards will squeeze every nickle out of you.
For example, take the asked priced from Toronto, convert it to $US and then submit an order to Ameritrade to buy at that price. You think it will be executed? No way. You gotta pay the vig man. You gotta sweeten the price and make the order large enough or they just ignore you. If you place a market order then they really screw you.
I opened a Canadian account with TDW. Any funds I deposit are converted to Canadian funds and all trading is done in Canada. If I see an asked price on the TSX and I submit a bid to buy at that price, I'm reasonably sure that it will be executed.
Only problem is, and this can be very annoying, they don't have on-line trading. From what others have said, there doesn't seem to be a solution at this time.
Just this morning I bought some of the American version of Great Panther and Sabena thru the internet using my Ameritrade account.
It is NOT as efficient as buying a regular Amex or Nasdaq listed stock, they (the american version) are over the counter... but
I think I got fairly close to the Canadian price (adjusted for currency difference) and one was at my limit and one just under my limit. If I remember correctly I did once before get a trade under my limit.
I figure I am losing about 1.5 to maybe 3%,but that is mostly because I can't see the bid and ask on the pink sheets. I don't mind a lot because I am not a trader and the commish is only $10.99.
BTW you said I was just kidding myself if I thought I was buying Canadian stocks on a Canadian exchange. I never indicated that I thought that, and it would have been strange for me to think so as the symbols are very different, the currency is US, and they have suffixes like .pk.