New Computer Investing Products
by CI Staff
Bloodhound System is a strategy building and screening Web site. To start, you add trading strategies to your personal list. You can choose from public strategies or you can create your own custom strategies.
Bloodhound ranks each stock that meets your selection criteria in order to build a model portfolio. The ranking is based on applying an index value to each stock in the candidate pool of 6,000 stocks. Stocks with the highest ranking values are put into your model portfolio.
The index value is calculated by dividing a measure of value by the cost of acquiring that value. A measure of value is a data point that the program has determined to be a good predictor of a company’s ability to create future shareholder value.
The cost of acquiring is usually the stock’s most recent closing price, but you may choose to discount the closing price by some factor, say the earnings growth rate, as a way to put a value on expected growth.
Summary results from backtesting the strategy are shown in a graph and a chart. During the simulation, stocks are bought at the start of the chosen reporting period and are held until the expiration of the stated minimum holding period, and are then reevaluated against the strategy’s criteria. The results show you how well your strategy performed during its best and worst periods, and its average performance.
You can also use the Strategy Search function to find strategies that meet your defined levels of performance (i.e., rates of return, investment horizons, probabilities of return or acceptable levels of risk).
In addition, Bloodhound has a portfolio tool, a section to help with life planning, a stock screener and the ability to create watchlists.
System Requirements: Internet connection; Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or Safari; Adobe Flash (free download)
Price: $995/year to $2,995/year, based on level of service; free 14-day trial
Bloodhound Investment Research, Inc.
6215 Fox Meadow
Edina, MN 55436
Zignals is a free site that offers individual investors tools and personalized investment services including stock alerts, charts and screening.
After registering with the site, you are prompted to enter a ticker symbol. A simple price and volume chart is shown with a multitude of customization options, including the ability to specify date ranges and add trendlines, support and resistance, price indicators and moving averages.
Technical indicators are located in the left panel, which slides out when you hover over the panel with your cursor. There are over 50 indicators for momentum, volume and trend. You can choose the color of each indicator line as well. Charts can be saved, E-mailed and annotated with comments and notes.
The site’s stock screener offers 100 different screening variables, including performance, financial statement data, insider trades, short interest, financial ratios and dividends. Screen criteria can be entered manually or set using slider selectors. The screener is easy to use and displays the passing company list below the criteria list. Newly entered criteria are automatically screened against the database of stocks.
You can also set up over 50 price and volume alerts on factors such as simple moving averages, price gains, price gaps, daily volume and more. You can see how your alerts would have fared in the past with the Historical Test tool. Each alert is shown on an Alerts page in its own box.
Finally, Zignals has a portfolio tool that allows you to track multiple transaction portfolios. A list of current holdings is shown along with a transaction history, portfolio composition graph, annual return charts and a summary of the portfolio’s performance over various time periods.
System Requirements: Internet connection; Internet Explorer or Mozilla
2nd Floor, Manor House
Malahide, Co. Dublin
+353 1 8168882
eToro is a forex trading platform that enables users to trade futures in an educational and casual environment. eToro allows beginners to trade with fake money for practice and experienced forex veterans to trade using real money accounts.
After you download the program, you choose “Trade for Real” or “Practice Trading.” There are two versions of the program: Visual for beginners and Expert for traders with experience. The Visual version uses animation and easy-to-understand descriptions to show you how your virtual trades are being executed and how they are performing. The home page has a trading arena that allows you to navigate between different styles of forex trading. A newsreel shows a continuous stream of forex news and updates. At the bottom of the page, a box shows your open trades and how they are performing, a list of live forex rates and your current virtual account balance.
Placing trades is simple. The program takes you step-by-step through the process and includes visual cues to show you exactly what is happening with your trades.
The Globe Trader allows you to trade currencies using a world map. The Forex Trend arena allows you to trade the U.S. dollar, euro and pound against multiple currencies. The Marathon arena allows you to trade the U.S. dollar, euro, pound and yen against various currencies.
Forex Charts allow you to use technical analysis to place trades. Finally, the Trade Box does away with the visual cues and animations of the other arenas, allowing you to place multiple trades, view price charts and track current rates.
The program also offers various “community features” such as a chat room where you can discuss futures trading with other users; a trading challenge that tracks the performance of participating traders’ portfolios; and Traders Top Insight, which monitors the most popular trades executed by the top 100 traders.
The Expert mode presents all of the data and trading options on one screen, with none of the visual aids found in the Visual version.
The Web site offers great help tools and videos that discuss each component of the program in great detail.
System Requirements: Windows XP or higher (Vista compatible); Internet connection
Price: practice version, free; $100 minimum account balance to make real trades
eToro USA/FX Solutions
1 Route 17 South
Saddle River, NJ 07458
Quicken’s Home Inventory Manager software program helps investors keep an organized record of possessions and receipts as well as photos of important items. Using this software can expedite insurance claims by providing documented evidence of everything you own. It also allows you to easily track belongings during a move and can assist with estate planning.
The program has a photo manager that allows you to drag and drop photos of your possessions into the inventory manager. You can also scan and attach price tags, receipts, warranties, appraisals and any other related or necessary paperwork to the items in your inventory. You can attach up to five files for each inventoried item. Using this system allows you to easily prove the value of items if necessary. It also allows you to track the replacement and resale values of your items, and all of your inventory items are compiled into one comprehensive report.
Quicken’s Inventory Manager also allows you to compare your actual insurance coverage with replacement costs of items. You can use this for car and homeowners insurance. This allows you to gauge if you are over- or under-insured.
You can also integrate any of the data you have in Quicken (the financial planning and portfolio management tool from Intuit) with the Home Inventory Manager. A simple import function allows you to view the total net worth of all of your physical and financial assets as well as debts.
Finally, an estate planning tool allows you to note beneficiaries for each of your possessions.
A useful feature is an on-line backup, which allows you to backup your data and access it from anywhere in case your computer is inaccessible. You can also print comprehensive reports and summaries of your items. The Inventory Value Summary Report displays pictures, replacement costs, resale values, purchase dates and prices for all of your items.
System Requirements: Windows XP or higher (Vista compatible); Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
2632 Marine Way
Mountain View, CA 94043