The Top Financial Apps
Wayne Thorp will speak at the 2015 AAII Investor Conference this fall; go to www.aaii.com/conference for more details.
These are some of the best financial apps for iOS and Android devices. More app reviews can be found in AAII’s Computerized Investing newsletter (www.computerizedinvesting.com).
CNBC Real-Time for iOS
CNBC’s iPad app gives users access to live, real-time stock quotes from both the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Marketplace.
The app is divided into four main sections—markets, news, videos and “My Stocks.” The markets section contains the bulk of the data available with the app and is divided into eight subsections—indexes, pre-markets, movers, commodities, currencies, bonds, Dow impact and CNBC stocks.
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 full-screen chart with multiple time frames. You can overlay an additional index chart for comparison and choose from over 10 fundamental and technical indicators.
The Dow Impact tab shows the current Dow Jones industrial average quote along with the change for the day and its performance, and then lists those Dow components that are having the biggest positive and negative impact on the average for the current trading day.
The “My Stocks” tab allows you to 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. I did find, however, that watching video can be a little frustrating, depending on your Internet connection.
The app is free from Apple iTunes.
Heat Map for iOS
Ivory Bull’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(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, and has been increasing the number since its release. 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. The remaining maps cover exchange-traded funds (: WorldMap (country ETFs), CommodityMap, EnergyMap, SectorMap, MetalMap, Most Popular ETFs and Sector SPDRs.
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.
You can then track your own custom portfolio or watchlist, build your own heat maps based on any combination of stocks you desire, and compare them against each other based on their returns, volume, price, technical formations against key moving averages and more.
The app costs $9.99 and is available from the Apple iTunes.
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 Apple iTunes 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. 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 Apple iTunes, Google Play and Blackberry App World.
—Wayne A. Thorp, CFA, is senior financial analyst at AAII and editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter @AAII_CI.