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Computerized Investing > Fourth Quarter 2009

XLQ: Excel Spreadsheet Add-In

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

Without a doubt, the Internet has provided a tremendous boost to individual investors in terms of the amount of information we have at our disposal. Bring up almost any investment Web site and you have access to stock quotes, fundamental ratios and multiples, financial statement data, earnings estimates, and more.

For me, however, one of the biggest failures of the Internet has been the lack of this same data in a form where the end user can manipulate it in either a database or spreadsheet program for free. To be sure, many financial Web sites, such as Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money offer free historical price data going back many years. However, you are only able to pull up one ticker at a time and this lack of “batch processing” makes it time-prohibitive to rely on these sites for maintaining a database on many stocks.

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