Mvelopes is a personal financial management program that applies new technology to the traditional “envelope” method of budgeting (a method of budgeting where amounts are set aside in envelopes marked for specific purposes). The website allows you to get a real-time view of all your accounts and transactions. Mvelopes loads into your Web browser with the information stored directly online, meaning you are able to access the information from any computer system with Internet access.
The first step to using the website is to add your accounts. During our hands-on testing, we opted not to connect directly with bank accounts, choosing instead to work “offline.” The main advantage of using offline accounts is that less personal information is available on the cloud. The advantage of connecting directly with your accounts is that transactions will be updated automatically. Mvelopes uses 128-bit encryption, the same form of encryption used by online banks.
After setting up your accounts, the program asks you to define your income. If you choose to link your account with Mvelopes, the website will automatically update your income accordingly. Is it also a simple process to input income manually. Recurring income options include payments every week, every two weeks, bimonthly, monthly, quarterly and semiannually. Once you are finished setting up your income, start your budget by clicking on “spending plan” at the top of the page. A number of envelopes appear by default. Users may also add envelopes to suit their personal budgeting needs. After designating funds for each of your expenses, the spending plan will update and take the budgeted amounts out of each month’s income.
Mvelopes has the ability to update your transactions automatically if you chose to connect directly with your credit card and checking accounts. Alternatively, you can enter these transactions manually. Each transaction should be assigned to an envelope so that the amount allocated to that envelope for the month will be adjusted accordingly. For instance, suppose you budgeted $200 for groceries in the month of April and had a recent transaction of $80 at a grocery store. Once this transaction is assigned, the grocery envelope will show only $120 remaining for April.
Mvelopes has several other personal financial management features that assist users in tracking their income and expenses. In addition, the website provides automatic bill pay for Premier subscribers. All other features are provided free of charge, but registration is required.
System Requirements: Web browser; Internet connection
Price: Free; $9.95 per month for Mvelopes Premier
Stockhouse is a website that provides a range of news items and investment tools for its members, with several areas worth highlighting.
In the News area, there is a section that provides press releases for U.S. companies. This section can be sorted by date and is very useful for investors looking for announcements directly from the source. A separate section is also available for Canadian press releases.
Market data is available for equities, mutual funds and commodities. In addition, a stock screen is offered free of charge.
One of the major strengths of Stockhouse is its community of investors. The message boards are very active. The top of the message boards page includes a section that shows the stocks that have had the most posts over the past day and week. In addition, it also shows the posts that have been read the most frequently over the same time period. The community pulse is also an interesting concept, showing the rise and fall of the posting activity for the most discussed tickers on the message boards. Stockhouse also offers a Group feature that lets users join groups of investors who have similar investment philosophies or who are interested in similar sectors.
A portfolio tracking tool is available to members who have registered. The portfolio tracker shows the quote data available at most portfolio tracking websites, such as open, high, low and percentage change. However, a column also informs you if a holding in your portfolio or watchlist has been mentioned in the message boards recently. Asset and sector pie charts are offered in the allocation tab. Email alerts can be sent for 52-week highs and lows, news items and end-of-day summaries.
Several levels of paid subscriptions are also available. Stockstream Basic provides portfolio management capabilities that can be accessed through mobile devices with real-time streaming quotes. The data provided is level 1 market data. Stockstream Advanced offers the same features as Basic, but with level 2 data. Stockstream Premium is also available, but it is more suitable for brokers.
System Requirements: Web browser; Internet connection
Price: Free for registered users; $15.95 per month for Stockstream Basic; $29.95 per month for Stockstream Advanced
Stockhouse Publishing Ltd.
iScheduleD Portfolio Manager
iScheduleD Portfolio Manager is an easy-to-use program that keeps track of your investment trades for a given year and quickly creates an IRS Schedule D for tax purposes. The program can be downloaded directly from the product website but requires Java Runtime Environment 6 to work properly.
The file downloads as a zip file. After unzipping the file, the program allows you to choose a portfolio to work with. If this is your first time using the program, begin by creating a new portfolio and naming it. The first step is to import your transactions. The program can handle four file types: OFX, QFX, QIF and CSV. Most brokerage firms allow you to export yearly transactions in at least one of these formats. Both E*Trade and Scottrade, for example, allow users to export trades as CSV files.
The Data Importer window will appear as the next screen; it shows all the stock and options trades from your chosen transaction file. After verifying its accuracy, click “next” and the program imports your trades into the portfolio. At this point, the program allows you to export trades by year or for a specific time period.
Click on the ScheduleD tab at the top of the page to generate a capital gains and losses report. The program also allows you to either check or uncheck the “Computer Wash Sales” box. Capital gains and losses can be divided into long-term and short-term. iScheduleD allows users to print the capital gains and losses report. Alternatively, you may choose “Export to TXF” to generate a TXF file, which can be imported into tax preparation software such as TurboTax.
System Requirements: Windows XP through 7; Java Runtime 6
Price: Free demo; $19.99 for Basic Edition, $24.99 for Standard Edition; $29.99 for Unlimited Edition
IFS ChartingStation is a technical analysis and charting tool that can run either directly from your Web browser or as a local program downloaded onto your computer. The program has its limitations, but it offers charting capabilities free of charge with no advertisements.
The program initially loads a price and volume chart that can be adjusted for time frame. IFS ChartingStation only offers daily, weekly and monthly price charts. Therefore, the technical analysis capabilities are meant for longer-term traders, not intraday traders. The charts are designed to assess the long-term trends for companies.
Eight different charting types are available—candlestick, open/high/low/close, max-min, line, Heikin Ashi, Renko, Kagi, and point and figure. In addition, 16 drawing tools are offered, including Fibonacci tools, Gann tools, channels and pitchforks. Over 70 technical indicators are also provided; a complete list is available on the website.
The drawing tools and charting types are easily accessible through icons at the top and bottom of the chart. The timeline at the very bottom allows users to adjust the time frame of the chart. You may also set the time frame to an exact length by right-clicking on the bottom navigator and entering the number of periods. Indicators are available in the Chart menu and are broken down into various categories, such as volume, cycle, overlap, volatility and momentum. Users may also edit the parameters of any indicator by right-clicking on the indicator and selecting properties.
Two additional features offered by IFS ChartingStation are worth mentioning. In the Tools pull-down menu, the Raw Data Viewer can be used to see the open, high, low and close, as well as the volume, for a charted stock. Similarly, the inspector window (accessed from the tools menu) shows the raw data for the period over which your mouse is hovering.
The main downside of the site is its inability to chart intraday numbers. However, the program is offered for free without advertisements and can be downloaded onto your computer or loaded directly from your Web browser.
System Requirements: Web browser; Internect connection; 2GB RAM; Java 1.6+
International Financial Systems (Australia)
Investing.com Unveils a New Design
Investing.com, a Web portal providing financial market tools and data, has launched a major redesign of its website. The new design provides enhanced functionality and simplified navigation. New navigation features introduced include hovering capabilities, an improved toolbar, and two-click access to any area of the site. Layout improvements include a cleaner home page and a streamlined categorization system on the analysis page.
PureTick Free Training Room for Traders
PureTick announced the PureTick Pit—a free online training room designed for people new to trading and those who just want a refresher. Members of the PureTick Pit can experience the daily action of a live trading room while learning trading methodology. Membership includes access to a live moderator, a behind-the-scenes look at trading strategies, real-time access to a professional trader for questions, and a community of other traders.
BBForex Adds Scripting Language
BBScript, a web-based programming package, is now available on John Bollinger’s website for the forex market, BBForex.com. BBScript is a proprietary Web-based programming language for technical analysis. It was developed to provide users with an easy way to implement a scripting language for plotting technical indicators for forex data on BBForex’s interactive charts. Using BBScript, simple or complex indicators can be plotted on the charts at the BBForex website. The charts are interactive and customizable. Chart capabilities include dragging, zooming in and out, vertical and horizontal trackers, trendlines, continuous data updates, and drag and drop re-ordering of charts.
Zaner Group Revamps markethead
Zaner Group announced an updated and revamped markethead. Markethead is a website for futures and forex traders that provides charts, quotes, news, research, commentary and more. The site carries no advertising or pop-ups. Markethead has fully customizable charts with over 40 different indicators and timeframes, morning newsletters, market commentary, trading ideas, quote screens for futures and options and access to the CME’s real-time DataSuite.
TradeStation Introduces New Options Platform
TradeStation announced the launch of a new options trading platform called OptionStation Pro. The launch coincides with the release of TradeStation 9.1. OptionStation Pro is an options trading and analysis platform designed with the help of active options traders. Key features include advanced options charting with interactive 3-D position graphs; advanced order-entry technology to trade options spread strategies; configurable spread-specific options chain views; and dynamic options pricing and Greek calculations. Traders can transform existing positions and create hypothetical ones with spread-recognition logic.
Trade Ideas Adds Alert Capabilities
Trade Ideas LLC announced that NASDAQ Velocity and Forces has been integrated into its market scanning platform. As a result, end users can receive trade ideas that gauge buy and sell interest in specific issues as well as compare expected order activity with the current activity before the actual trade occurs. End-users can measure pre-trade order activity on NASDAQ, NYSE and Amex securities, view the ratio of buy to sell orders in the market, and determine the momentum of trading interest.
VectorVest Release Covers India’s Exchanges
VectorVest announced its release of VectorVest India. VectorVest India analyzes, sorts, ranks and graphs more than 2,100 stocks trading on India’s National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange for value, safety and timing. Stocks are ranked with 10 months of data using VectorVest’s proprietary analytics and given a buy, sell or hold rating each day.
InvestProfits Offers Customizable Stock Charts
Interactive Stock Charts at the InvestProfits website are fully customizable and come with instructional videos to aid new and experienced investors. The charts are easy to use and give subscribers the ability to save studies, email charts, and save favorite stock symbols.