Update: New Computer Investing Products
by CI Staff
Hewlett-Packard has released the latest edition of its HP 12c best-selling financial calculator, called the HP 12c Platinum. The HP 12c is designed to accomplish simple and demanding financial calculations, with statistical, business and mathematical functions built in.
One of the biggest enhancements found in the HP 12c Platinum is the addition of the algebraic mode of data entry—the prior HP 12c only offered the RPN (reverse polish notation) method of calculation. (Reverse polish notation was developed in 1920 by Jan Lukasiewicz as a way to write mathematical expressions without the use of parentheses or brackets. HP was the first calculator to adopt the method.)
Additional improvements with the 12c Platinum include increased processor speed and memory capacity. Also, users now have 130 built-in functions from which to choose, up from the previous model’s 120 functions. The HP financial calculator can be put into a series of modes for calculation purposes. RPN, algebraic, finance, and statistics can all be used to perform more efficient calculations. Also, the calculator’s programming mode now has a capacity of up to 400 steps, up from 99for the previous model.
For business and finance features, the calculator, like its predecessor, can employ time value of money, amortization, bond prices and yield to maturity, register-based cash flows for calculation of net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR), memory for 30 cash flows (up from 20), various depreciation modes, and percentage change calculations.
For statistical functions, the calculator includes over 130 pre-formed functions, statistical analysis, standard deviation, linear regression, and forecasting by method of correlation coefficient.
Mathematical functions include power, square root, natural logarithm and exponential, fractional, integer, reciprocal, and factorial.
The HP 12c Platinum is one of two financial calculators authorized by the Association for Investment Management and Research for the certified financial analyst exam.
The calculator comes with an owner’s manual, battery, and carrying case.
The FutureSource Web site provides delayed and real-time information pertaining to futures, options, commodities, and foreign exchanges. The site’s recent partnership with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) has provided FutureSource with real-time quotes, charts, and news.
FutureSource’s home page is navigated via a series of tabs and includes quotes, charts, news, stocks, free tools and real-time sections. The site also provides news on stocks, commodities, futures and the weather. Users can create a custom quote portfolio area detailing information on commodity contracts such as time of data, high, low, open, volume, last price, and change. The page can be set to automatically refresh every two, five, 10 or 30 minutes.
The custom chart area allows users to utilize up to eight charts at once and features tick, intraday, daily, and monthly data. Charts can be displayed in bar, line, candle, or area form. The chart section also contains 25 studies that can be used to analyze charting patterns.
Headlines are posted on the home page and can be clicked on to retrieve the full article or news wire. Breaking and intraday news can be navigated by keyword or category.
A member forum is also included in the Web site, providing dialogue between investors. It should be noted that the forum is not a chat room. In other words, a member cannot sign into the forum while another member is posting a message. This method of communication is called a “conference system” and helps to keep conversations on topic and increase new topic discussions.
Premium service includes access to fsXtra.com, custom workspaces, and charting. FsXtra.com provides real-time price data, charts, and news anywhere with an Internet connection. The custom workspace can be designed to track the user’s most frequently traded contracts. Up to 10 workspaces can be used with delayed or real-time datafeeds. The two interactive chart options support either real-time streaming data or delayed data.
Bondsonline has launched a Web site providing continuously updated information on preferred stock, convertible preferred stock, and convertible bonds. Details reported for each security include dividend payments, rating changes, yield based on last trade and bankruptcy notices. Daily and weekly updates are provided for price and volume leaders, new issues, ratings changes, and called securities. Subscriptions are $29.95 per month, $295 per year, or $10.49 per single usage.
You can now order select mutual fund prospectuses or company annual reports for free at CBS MarketWatch. Currently, financial reports from 2002 are available; you can request E-mail alerts for new reports as they are posted. Reports and prospectuses can be either downloaded or received by mail. Ordering the reports is free, but you must supply your name and address for verification.
Prophet.net, a technical analysis Web site, has released the latest version of their JavaCharts. Subscribers can now apply technical studies to a price graph or to separate windows. Other features include drawing trendlines on studies and Fibonacci tools (for Gold members only). Premium members are provided with new drawing tools, which can be used to highlight chart areas in conjunction with text notes. Monthly memberships range from $9.95 to $34.95 and yearly memberships range from $99.50 to $349.50.
TradeStation recently upgraded their trading platform for active traders. The new version provides users with 14 additional indicators. Also, users can now track an unlimited number of symbols. Additional changes were made to order executions, chart analysis, and quote displays. Subscription costs $199.95 per month.
A tax-free bond specialist firm, FMSbonds.com buys and sells municipal bonds from their own portfolio for investors. The site provides analysis of current accounts as well as purchasing decisions of either bond funds or individual bonds. A current list of the site’s bond inventory is available with detailed information pertaining to each offering. Help with investing in bonds is also offered in the form of commentary, strategy advice, and analysts’ insights. Access to the Web site is free.
TriggerNews is an on-line news information service offered by News Technologies. The user sets up “triggers,” which can be a stock symbol, company name, or “catch phrase.” Newswires are monitored throughout the day and any news articles that include your “trigger” phrases are routed to you in the form of a pop-up window. Subscriptions start at $12.95 per month or $140 per year for 25 triggers. An additional 25 triggers can be purchased for $2.95 per month or $32 per year.