MyStockProspector is a comprehensive online tool for long-term stock screening. The system lets you search for stocks in three different ways through specific criteria, saved screens and predefined screens that come with the program. The database is equipped with 10 years of historical data for publicly traded companies on U.S. and Toronto stock exchanges provided by Morningstar. Data is updated automatically on a weekly basis. The predefined screens are easy to understand and provide examples of different screening criteria, depending on what you’re looking for. Different filters available for the stock screening allow you to exclude specific industries and stocks with no earnings or penny stocks that are considered to be “junk.” Screens are easily exported to Excel and other programs as a CSV file.
The website uses three steps to help investors find securities for their portfolio: define criteria, define report, and view results. Before you begin to look for stocks you need to know what you’re looking for, so the program helps you define specific criteria tailored to your needs. The toolbar will change between sections to provide better search capabilities; to stop it from changing, simply click “pin toolbar.” There are 118 different data points available, each grouped into one of nine different sections to make it easier for users to find them. For example, in the growth group you’ll find data points such as historical 10-year revenue growth, latest four quarters revenue growth and more.
When a screen is run, different ratios and figures come up along with the passing companies. To see a “quick view graph,” you simply double-click on the row. When a screen is run, you can rearrange, add or remove different criteria. You can add conditions such as “and not,” “or” and “or not” to your screens.
In the quality data group, users can search using the trend of a company’s five-year percentage pretax income margin, or trending return on equity. The service will assess the trend of these figures and assign a value. This allows investors to see the downside and upside of screening results.
The service is often updated with new features. The website contains a useful Help section, as well as a guide to make usability simpler.
System Requirements: Internet browser
Price: $39.99 for an annual subscription
Yodlee Money Center
Yodlee is a personal budgeting website that pulls data from other personal financial sites and compiles it in one place. You can track your spending and create budgets in order to stay on top of your finances.
When you visit the Yodlee Money Center website, you first have to set up your account. This is a secure process that has specific password protection requirements to make sure your account is safe. Once your account is verified, you can begin linking your bank accounts, investment accounts, bills and more. If you’re not comfortable linking your accounts to the system, manual accounts can be created.
One particularly useful feature is the financial calendar. Many individuals like to view their bills and other expenses on a calendar. In the financial calendar, you can sort by different accounts or include all accounts.
On the personal finance tab you can view your account summary. The Dashboard displays portions of each section such as expense analysis, net worth, bill alerts and more. Also under the personal finance tab, you can view many different types of spending reports. Cash flow analysis can be performed and displayed on a chart to show you spending over time. This can be broken down into monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual reports. Users have the option to create budget goals and, unlike other budgeting sites, Yodlee will show you different spending categories such as groceries, restaurants, personal care and more. Your spending in each category for the month can be displayed, as well as the monthly averages. From there you can create your own monthly budget goal.
Customized categories can be easily created, and users can override the auto categorization feature. Yodlee also lets users construct shared accounts. If you wish, you can split an amount between two or more categories. For example, you might spend money at a grocery store and then allocate that expense among groceries, health care, and general merchandise.
What Yodlee has that other budgeting sites don’t is a module that links to news websites; you can also link your email account to Yodlee.
System Requirements: Internet browser; also available as app for mobile devices
Yodlee Money Center
Beat the Benchmark
Beat the Benchmark is a website that seeks to help investors “turn their trading account into a real asset management business.” You can track, analyze and compare your trading activity to a benchmark that you assign.
First you create a benchmark by clicking “my benchmarks” and “create new.” From there, you can pick the asset class, currency and more. Users can choose a combination of different existing indexes and assign weights for each in their created benchmark. Next, you create your portfolio by clicking “my portfolio” and “create new.” Again you can pick different currencies, as well as how often the portfolio will be revaluated.
Then you will “fund your account” by manually adding monetary values to a given portfolio. Clicking the “add position” button toward the top of your portfolio screen lets you add information regarding the asset class, instrument type and more. By linking a security to Yahoo! Finance, the security’s end-of-day data will be provided for you. It is important to choose one of the benchmarks that you’ve created in order to compare the portfolio against the benchmark. After you’ve added information about your portfolio and linked the end-of-day prices of the securities to Yahoo! Finance, if available, you can click on “summary statistics and charts.” This tab displays statistics regarding alpha, growth, volatility and exposure. Alpha measures the excess return that a portfolio generates over its expected return: It essentially takes your portfolio return and subtracts the benchmark return. Several different statistics are provided on the page to help you analyze how well your portfolio did in comparison to your chosen benchmark.
Another interesting component of the website is the blog section. Users can create their own blog to remember specific results that may have caught their eye, or simply take notes on performance. By clicking “my blog” at the top, you can add categories for different blog topics and write your observations accordingly. The site is in the process of being upgraded, and should eventually allow you to link your brokerage accounts to the site and avoid manual input.
System Requirements: Internet browser
Beat the Benchmark
ChartLabPro is a website that provides investing advice and solutions using a proprietary quantitative algorithm to select securities and construct portfolios. ChartLabPro gives each security a rating on a scale of 1 to 5, from strong sell to strong buy. ChartLabPro focuses on managing downside risk while participating on the upside.
A value barometer using the S&P 500 index gives an opinion on whether or not the market environment is favorable. An accompanying explanation includes a recommendation on whether to reduce or increase equity exposure. Market research is provided below the value barometer, so investors can stay on top of economic and current events.
Other tabs include the Dashboard page and the Market Internals page. Users can see the strongest and weakest securities in a given sector as well as create custom scans. A heat map shows each sector separately and the ratings of securities within a sector.
The Watchlist tab allows users to create different models based on risk metrics. Along the right-hand side, a daily update shows which markets are currently moving.
The bottom half of the page is geared toward providing common metrics such as beta, correlation and return since inception. Your top 10 positions are shown in a daily performance chart. For each individual security, you can also see a barometer based on volatility. Watchlists can be created that suggest what you should be doing systematically with your stock or ETF portfolio. The program will also give you a recommended action for your position: for example, remain long, reduce short exposure or sell 100% of your position.
The Charts tab provides a bar chart for a security over several different time periods. On the graph, you will see the numbers 1-5 based on when the ratings were changed. On the chart, you will also see when the security is approaching an overbought or oversold condition. Users can also view a specific security’s company profile, analyst updates and downgrades and more.
Overall, ChartLabPro is a great resource for investors. Their approach makes understanding the market easier, personalizes information based on your portfolio, and helps you create an efficient portfolio. Investors can align their portfolio goals with a specific asset allocation based on market movements. The site is easy to understand and very visual. If you have any issues, a free one-on-one demo is provided.
System Requirements: Internet browser
Price: Basic, $19.90/month or $179/year; Pro Plus $29.95/month or $279/year (25% off if you purchase a year’s membership)
New Version of Budget View Software
BudgetView is a personal budgeting program that allows individuals to manage their personal expenses and track spending. A simple set of envelopes is used to group income and expenses. Financial statements can be imported from your bank’s website, and BudgetView automatically categorizes as many transactions as it can. The program also forecasts your budget into the future. The system is secure, as your personal information is not sent over the Internet. BudgetView is updated frequently; the latest version, 3.11, improved functionality and added more user-friendly features. BudgetView is free to try and $19.99 to buy.
Afraid to Trade Teaches Trading Skills
Afraid to Trade is a technical analysis website dedicated to helping investors overcome their stock market fears. Investors can use the site to build their pattern recognition skills and apply new techniques. Afraid to Trade has a free educational resource page and a daily blog. Fee-based services include a private mentorship program, premium lessons and daily or weekly newsletters.
Stock Rover Upgraded to Version 4
Stock Rover is a free online tool for researching and screening stocks as well as creating data tables, portfolios, watchlists and more. In version 4, users can now tag tickers with their own keywords for easy reference and organization. A second addition is Portfolio Reporting, which keeps track of your holdings history and lets you view snapshots of your portfolios and watchlists. One notable new feature is the Investor’s Library, which lets you import screeners, watchlists, and views from other Stock Rover users directly into your account and request custom metrics from Stock Rover.
GnuCash Accounting Program Updated
GnuCash is a free program available for different platforms that is designed for personal and small business accounting. GnuCash lets you track bank accounts, investments, income and expenses and balance your books. Recent upgrades to the program include the ability to print a PDF version of reports and invoices as well as utilize different filter settings.
Money.net Introduces Desktop App
Money.net is designed to be an all-in-one application for investors. It gives you real-time market data, news from more than 500 sources, comprehensive charting capabilities and more. A popular feature is the RadarXray visual analytics module, which presents itself as a heat map of the market but has added features for sector and industry breakdown. Money.net’s new Desktop app allows you to access your portfolios directly from your desktop without using a Web browser. Users can share screens and settings and create member chats and private chats. Money.net’s professional live technical tick charts now include forex and futures charting. Another added feature is the Excel plug-in API for quick importing and exporting. Money.net costs $50 a month; a free five-day trial is available.
The Options Guide Offers Education Resource
The Options Guide is a free website that teaches individuals about options trading. Topics covered include options basics and strategies, futures trading, futures options, index options and VIX options. Links to different articles about basic options investing are also available, as well futures basics and key terms.
Tradescapes Software Analyzes Trading Signals
Tradescapes is a program designed for traders who use signaling systems to enter and exit trends. Tradescapes creates a three-dimensional visualization to assess the tradable performance of financial securities. It seeks to find the best trade-off between lag and accuracy and expresses tradability in terms of “reward-to-pain,” or an entity’s reward against its average retracement. Tradescape Standard Edition is $995; a free 14-day trial is available.
Market Traders Institute Teaches Forex Trading
Market Traders Institute is a foreign exchange training company that provides education to all different levels of traders. Beginner currency traders can learn about trading rules and strategies, take quizzes, identify strengths, attend online classes and more. More advanced traders can learn about capturing more pips based on U.S. dollar trades or how to trade on multiple time frames. Although most services charge a fee, there are also free webinars available and a free “starter kit” that includes a free webinar, two e-books and a video.