CI Editor’s Note: In the Third Quarter 2010 issue of Computerized Investing, we published a letter from a long-time Captools user who was starting to have problems downloading fresh price quotes now that older versions of the program are no longer supported. This prompted a few readers to offer their suggestions. Thank you very much!
I have always utilized AOL for my quote service and have found it rarely in error. Here is the technique I follow:
—T.H. via e-mail
After quite a bit of searching, we started using the free Yahoo! & Google Historical Quotes Downloader, which you can download from the CNET website. It is fairly straightforward and can easily be configured to download data. From Captools’ Security List view, choose File/Import, select the import format, and point the program to the folder on your PC where you downloaded the quote data. It may take time to configure the format settings, but it works quite well.
—K.W.K. via e-mail
Editor’s note: The Yahoo! & Google Historical Quotes Downloader was the Featured Download in the May 2010 CI E-newsletter. You can download a trial version of the program from the Utilities area of the AAII Download Library at AAII.com.
Yahoo! has once again changed their data format, specifically the date format and the data alignment. I have created a new script file for Captools that seemingly handles these changes. I am still testing it, but so far it has worked for me. It is available at the AAII Discussion Boards: http://www.aaii.com/boards/messageview.cfm?catid=85&threadid=518&highlight_key=y&keyword1=captool. Users will need to locate the existing script file in the \Program Files\Captools directory on your PC (yahoo.svc) and rename it to yahoo.svc.bak. Then open the original yahoo.svc file in Notepad and overwrite the existing script with that from the post on the Discussion Board and save it.
—P.S. via e-mail
I own Portfolio Record Keeper (now called BetterInvesting Portfolio Manager) from Quant IX Software, which recently came out with a product called Investment Account Manager. I cannot tell the difference between the two of them and was hoping you could help.
—C.L. via CI Online Inquiry
Editor’s Response: After receiving your inquiry, we contacted Quant IX, the maker of both Portfolio Manager and Investment Account Manager. This is the response we received back from them:
PM5 (BetterInvesting Portfolio Manager) and IAM (Investment Account Manager) are near clones. The exceptions are that IAM still allows for importing of AAII Stock Investor Pro data and allows the use of the StockCentral.com data subscription for updating common stocks for sector, size, and a few other fundamental data points. AAII members qualify for a $20 discount off IAM ($109 AAII member price). PM5 is now available only to members of BetterInvesting.
—Matt Willms, President, Quant IX Software
Recently, I have run into a problem with one of my brokers that will affect all who invest using mutual funds so I thought I would share it.
Most, if not all, brokers have a list of mutual funds that you can purchase and sell through them with no transaction fees, or NTF. Unfortunately, sometimes the funds lose their NTF status and Scottrade has refused to “grandfather” existing holders of these funds with the ability to sell under the same terms in place when the funds were purchased. So you may have bought an NTF without a fee but will face a fee when you try to sell it. They also will not notify you when this status has changed.
So if your personal “rule” is to only use NTF, no-load funds, your research to sort out and find a fund could be undone the very next day after purchase without your knowledge or the opportunity to sell before the fee takes effect. And if you had intended to use this fund as part of a periodic purchase plan, the NTF status would be even more important to you but it would cost you a fee (plus more research time) to switch to another fund.
I have found that Firstrade also follows this unfriendly and unfair policy. As of two months ago, Fidelity’s agreement specifically states that the status in effect at purchase will be honored. I have switched accounts to Fidelity because of this.
—B.J. via e-mail
CI Editor’s Response: Have any other readers run into similar circumstances with other brokers? If so, let us know at email@example.com.