Messages: What Members Are Asking On-Line
by CI Staff
AAII Shadow Stock Screen
I am interested in the Shadow Stock Portfolio. Is there any way I can run this stock screen on my own instead of waiting monthly or quarterly for the Web site to be updated?
CI Editor Responds: CI Editor Responds: The Shadow Stock screen is built into AAIIs Stock Investor Pro fundamental stock screening and research database program. For $198 per year you have access to weekly data updates that you can download from AAII.com as well as monthly data updates via CD or download. The Shadow Stock screen is titled *IISSP in the list of preprogrammed stock screens.
If you are looking for a free service to run this screen, you may wish to check out the Reuters PowerScreener Lite module from the Reuters Investor Web site (www.investor.reuters.com; click on Ideas & Screening). PowerScreener Lite is one of the most robust free Web-based screeners available, and with it you are able to recreate the majority of the AAII Shadow Stock Screen (see figure). The only criterion you are not able to enter is the requirement that earnings per share from continuing operations for the last fiscal quarter are positive. The Reuters Web site does offer quarterly financial statement data, so you can verify this element after running the screen.
Both Stock Investor Pro and Reuters PowerScreener are among the CI Editors Top Investment Product Picks for 2006; see the article that begins on page 9 of this issue.
Secure On-Line Portfolio Data
Web-based portfolio monitoring is enticing. However, I am unable to find any site that offers a secure connection. This would seem to expose any personal information entered at the site to potential hackers. Am I right?
CI Editor Responds: Any information that is stored on a computer or is transmitted over the Internet via a non-secure connection is susceptible to being intercepted or hacked. When you enter in your portfolio information with an on-line service, your portfolio data is typically stored on servers, not your own computer, which allows you to access your portfolio data no matter what computer you are using. Here are how two of our favorite on-line portfolio tracking services handle portfolio data security:
- Morningstar.com, according to their Web site, stores portfolio data on secure servers with firewall protection. The information, however, is not encrypted, as they believe doing so would greatly slow down performance.
- MSN Money, also from their Web site, also saves portfolio information on secure data servers, but your data is only accessible using your Microsoft Network information (the E-mail address and password you use to sign into the Passport Network). In addition, if you are using the Deluxe version of MSN Money, it stores a local copy of your portfolio information in a data file on your computer.
We were able to establish a secure (encrypted) connection with the MSN Money portfolio tracker. To do so, we entered this URL: https://moneycentral.msn.com/stock_portfolio. It is important to include the s in https, as this designates the secure, encrypted connection. Attempting this with Morningstar.com was unsuccessful.