Messages: What Members Are Asking On-Line
by CI Staff
I was wondering if you would suggest some more advanced spreadsheets or services for portfolio analysis than what Quicken and Microsoft Money make available. I do not need all of the bells and whistles of, say, CAPTOOL, but I would like to get more sophisticated asset allocation analysis than I can get with Quicken. I have yet to find anything that would allow me to create multi-level asset allocation tables of mutual funds and stocks showing how sensitive my portfolio is to interest rates or changes in the dollar.
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CI Editor Responds: If you are looking for a detailed breakdown of your portfolio, Morningstars premium Portfolio X-Rays may fit the bill. X-Rays can break down your portfolio and present your holdings in different formats. Ten different premium service X-Rays can be displayed, including asset allocation, style box diversification, stock sector, stock type, world regions, and fees & expenses. Another premium X-Ray is the unique Stock Overlap X-Ray, which analyzes the diversification of your portfolios across mutual funds and among individual security holdings. Access to Portfolio X-Rays requires a premium Morningstar membership (www.morningstar.com), which costs $14.95 a month. A free 14-day trial is available.
If you are more interested in portfolio optimization services, Excel Business Tools (www.excelbusinesstools.com) offers a spreadsheet template called Portfolio Optimization 1.0. This model, which is more advanced than some other spreadsheet templates we have seen, calculates the optimal weighting for a basket of investments that generates the highest return with the lowest risk. This shareware product requires an $18 registration fee after using it for 30 days and can be downloaded from the Download Library at AAII.com. You may also wish to read the On the Internet column from the July/August 2004 issue of Computerized Investing, which covers portfolio optimization sites. The article is available at the Computerized Investing section of AAII.com.
In order to compare our mutual fund performance to our stock portfolio performance, we need a stock portfolio that tracks year-to-date (YTD) percentage change for the individual stocks as well as for the entire stock portfolio. I do not know of a stock portfolio manager that does this and was hoping that you could suggest one.
CI Editor Responds: There are a number of free on-line portfolio trackers that offer YTD performance of individual holdings as well as portfolios. One of the best is MSN Moneys portfolio manager, which allows you to track one portfolio that can include up to 50 accountswhich are essentially 50 mini-portfoliostracking up to 5,000 securities total. The portfolio application handles an above-average range of securities, including bonds and options. A cash balance can also be monitored within the manager. Portfolio displays can be refreshed at any time manually or automatically when you are in the module. The frequency of these automatic updates is adjustable to a timeframe selected by the user and can be as short as a minute.
For performance reporting, the portfolio tool breaks portfolios down, allowing you to analyze them according to security type, asset class, and investment style. It also reports the combined performance of multiple portfolios. A return calculations view offers eight different performance returns, including YTD. The next issue of Computerized Investing will include our latest reviews and ratings of the most popular on-line portfolio managers.
Do you know of any spreadsheet plug-ins that have the capability of receiving market data on selected stocks?
CI Editor Responds: A number of useful utilities have been developed to retrieve data from free on-line data sources. XLQ by QMatix (www.qmatix.com) is a favorite around the AAII office. The program delivers intraday as well as historical stock data into an Excel spreadsheet from the Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money Web sites. XLQ runs in the background and provides users with over 150 different spreadsheet formulas that can pull a variety of current and past stock data directly into a spreadsheet. These formulas allow users to design portfolio managers and financial spreadsheets for stock analysis that can be updated automatically.
The utility enables users to view the data directly; pull quotes from multiple sources; produce intraday logs for multiple symbols; and view historical daily, weekly and monthly data. XLQ can even handle real-time data, provided you subscribe to Yahoos real-time quote service for $13.95 a month. XLQ is a shareware program that can be downloaded and tested for 45 days at no cost. After that, the cost is $69 for the Lite version, which includes one year of free updates. A more feature-rich version, XLQPlus, can pull data from AAIIs Stock Investor Pro fundamental stock screening and research database into an Excel spreadsheet. It also supports streaming, real-time intraday data from IQFeed (equity, options, and futures) and InteractiveBrokers (equity, options, futures, forex, and bonds). XLQPlus costs $114, but AAII members receive a $25 discount by using the code AAII-SIP when checking out through the QMatix Web site.