• CI in the Journal
  • The Top Financial Apps

    by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

    These are some of the best financial apps for iOS and Android devices. More app reviews can be found in AAII’s weekly Computerized Investing email (www.computerizedinvesting.com).

    CNBC for iOS

    The CNBC iOS app is the only free app giving users access to live, real-time stock quotes from both the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Marketplace before, during and after market hours.

    The app is divided into three main sections: markets, news and video. The markets section contains the bulk of the data available with the app and is divided into eight subsections: indexes, pre-markets, market movers, commodities, currencies, bonds/Treasuries, Dow impact and Stocks on CNBC.

    The indexes tab offers current quotes and performance data for major U.S., European and Asian indexes, including five-day return, a thumbnail chart of the day’s trading activity and a brief news headline. Tapping on an individual index will take you to a summary page with a current quote, chart and returns over the last five days, month and three months. Rotating your device to landscape view gives you a full-screen chart with options for various time frames. There is also a tab for news related to the chosen index and a returns tab with 52-week, five-year and 10-year price ranges and performance over the last five days, one month and five months.

    The Dow Impact tab shows the current Dow Jones industrial average quote along with point and percentage change for the day. It also lists those Dow components that are having the biggest positive and negative impact on the average for the current trading day.

    There is also a “My Stocks” section where you can create custom lists of stocks you own or track, view their performance in real time and retrieve current news content. From this list, you can tap on individual indexes or stocks to view a full-screen chart or a collection of news items. You can save articles for offline viewing and share articles via email.

    The CNBC app provides unlimited access to over 150 new videos each day from CNBC, CNBC Europe and CNBC Asia, plus content from shows such as Mad Money. Your video playback experience will be impacted by your connection speed.

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    The app is free from the Apple App Store.

    Heat Map for iOS

    MarketDelta’s Heat Map app offers a quick and easy way to scan for securities that are outperforming or underperforming their peers. The app’s heat maps let you visualize the stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) of a given category in order of percentage returns, with different colors and shadings representing the quality and degree of performance.

    Heat Map currently has several different heat maps. For stocks, there are maps that cover several indexes—the S&P 500 index, the Dow Jones industrial average, the NASDAQ-100 and the Russell 2000 index. You can compare world markets on a single heat map and identify the best sectors and their underlying stocks.

    After you choose the index or ETF category you wish to plot, you choose the type of heat map: current day’s return, 52-week high or low, or 50- or 200-day moving average, current day’s volume, average daily volume and current price.

    The app costs $9.99 and is available from the Apple App Store.

    Mint for Android and iOS

    Mint is a personal finance website from Intuit that pulls all your financial accounts into one place to help you create budgets, track your financial goals and more. Mint has partnered with most of the top financial institutions, including Paypal, so you can sync with all the accounts you have money flowing into and out of. This unrivaled coverage means you always have an idea of your financial status.

    Beyond giving a snapshot of your finances, the app offers budget planning and monitoring capabilities. Mint automatically organizes your spending across multiple categories, so you can identify areas where you can cut back. You can also set goals that help you control spending in order to reach your financial goals.

    The initial overview screen of the Mint app gives you an instant snapshot of where your money is going as well as areas where you may need to scale back in order to stay on budget. This is presented as a pie chart that you can tap on to get detailed spending on a given category. The budget bar on the overview screen shows you how much you’ve already spent against your monthly budget. Tapping on this brings up budget bars for each individual spending category.

    Lastly, the Mint app provides you with notices of upcoming bills, suspicious account activity, low balances and tips on how to save money.

    The app is available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

    Wikinvest Portfolio for Android, Blackberry and iOS

    Wikinvest is a free website that allows users to post, read and discuss financial information. In addition, its portfolio tracking tool can download your financial information from brokers and banks. The Wikinvest Portfolio app brings these same features found online to your mobile device. With it you can see all of your accounts at over 60 brokerages, all in one screen. You can see the biggest movers in your portfolio, get the latest quotes, and read company and market news. You can also read company analysis written by the community and study data fundamentals with comparisons to industry competitors.

    The app is available for free from the Apple App

    —Wayne A. Thorp, CFA, is senior financial analyst at AAII and editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter @AAII_CI.

    Wayne A. Thorp, CFA is a vice president and the senior financial analyst at AAII and former editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneTAAII.


    Charles Yaker from Fl posted over 3 years ago:

    All that info in Mint how secure is it?

    Something like the following which suggests multiple passwords and keeping things separate


    Johnathan Smith from LA posted over 3 years ago:

    I'm not too bright. Can the CNBC iOS app be used on Window XP?

    Victor from CA posted over 3 years ago:

    iOS is for mobile - If you have Win XP, just use a browser and go to cnbc.com.

    Scott from NJ posted over 3 years ago:

    Bloomberg has an app for Android.

    Paul Jariabek from CA posted over 3 years ago:

    I personally am partial to the MarketSmith app (and its related website). Good fundamental screener, decent charts. Pricey, but worth it.

    Kevin Lewis from CA posted over 3 years ago:

    The last time I tried it the CNBC app for the iPhone only supported a list of 20 securities in "My Stocks". The iPad version of the app supports a larger number. For the me iPhone app is worthless for that reason.

    I find the Bloomberg app more useful for overall monitoring of stocks and my portfolio. I don't believe it has real time quotes. It has a lot of other features. Its also nice that it syncs across the web, iPhone, iPad, etc. Make a change in one place and it is reflected on the other devices. You do have to create a free account on www.bloomberg.com and can create a "Watchlist" there.

    Vernon Roberts from FL posted over 3 years ago:

    What I would really like to see someone do is an INDEPTH article on PRIVACY and SECURITY. I do on line investing and have many advertising blocks, privacy filters etc etc setup. I DONOt use android, smartphones, Chrome etc or Google except for totally frivolous web access. With the recent (to me) release that ALL operating systems publically available have built in backdoors for NASA and other countries and co's, the break in security of VPN's etc, on-line banking now "distributing information" to advertisers, the gov (Health care web site debacle) putting everyone's life history on the web, George Orwell's "1984" has arrived and is progressing rapidly. Since there are ways to access "totally private secure" information, that simply makes it available to those who wish to use it -- for good OR FOR BAD. I'm about to go back to pensil and paper, since at this stage of my life I can't afford "Identy theft", fraudulent access to my bank accounts, stock accounts, etc etc. I would REALLY like to see an informed knowlegeabe article on HOW to remain private and secure on line -- even Tor has been hacked for crying out loud. I also think it would be valuable to everyone. And, I'm not talking about the "advertising" hype that is all over the web on "how to be secure on line". Off my soap box. :-)

    NewJoizey from NJ posted over 3 years ago:

    Vernon - I agree with you - that's a good soapbox.

    I thought Mint.com was a great idea in theory. I thought it was really useful to get a real time grip on your finances in a way that really isn't nomrally available to a regular person. I think in the past you'd need a full service financial manager to provide you with the kinds of insights it offers. It's nothing you don't already know in the back of your head, but I find that it's helpful to have all of that data at your fingertips.

    So I almost signed up for an account but then thought the better of it after a family discussion of privacy issues. I think in order to use it you essentially have to risk violation the terms and conditions of your other financial institutions by giving away your passwords to a third party. Which means if something ill happened to your accounts, there's no clear evidence that you wouldn't be held liable. The devil the act of voluntarily giving away your passwords, as opposed to if your account is hacked without your consent.

    At the end of the day, there are a lot of pros to mint, but they may not be worth that risk, and that gave me pause to signing up. I don't use it right now, even though I'd like to.

    David from CA posted over 3 years ago:

    Is there a review or evaluation of the best portfolio tracking Software for Desktop/laptop use (not App for Mobile)

    James Barr from TX posted about 1 year ago:

    MY wife is an elementary school counselor and has been to several presentations re: online security as it pertains to kids being online and child predators. They are told that, bottom line, if you want to be secure don't go online. I would venture to say the same rules apply for financial transactions. Having said that, though, I would also venture to say that your personal information is in so many places and exposed to so many people at different organizations that it may not really make that much difference whether you do anything online or not. About your only defense is to do business with only reputable sites.

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