Update: New Computer Investing Products
by CI Staff
Money Pools is a portfolio tracking application that includes a variety of analysis tools. You can start by downloading and importing portfolio transactions and holdings from a number of financial institutions. All you need is your on-line login and password information.
After the data is downloaded, you can label the account by type (401(k), 403(b), checking or savings), goal (retirement or college) and tax status.
The home page combines all of your accounts but you can view the makeup of each account separately in a pie chart. Underneath each of the charts, you can see a performance chart. Returns can be calculated for a number of time periods from one month to 10 years. You can view performance for your entire portfolio or for each individual account.
An interesting aspect of the program is the “Auto Benchmark,” which looks at the makeup of your portfolios and creates a benchmark specifically based on the percentages you have invested in various types of securities. For example, one such benchmark could have 45% in large cap, 15% in mid cap, 5% in foreign, 10% in intermediate bonds and 25% in small cap. Money Pools uses index performance to create the custom benchmark.
You can also analyze the make-up of your portfolio by asset class, investment type (stock, bond, exchange-traded fund, mutual fund) and industry. These analyses can be run on your entire portfolio or your individual accounts. A risk analysis places your assets into risk categories—average, aggressive, conservative and moderate—and then analyzes the performance and percentage of holdings in each category.
Money Pools is a great on-line tool for more advanced portfolio analysis and performance comparison.
StockDiagnostics Pro offers a site that analyzes stocks’ cash flow from operations in addition to earnings per share. Free data on 7,000 stocks includes 20 quarters of operating cash flow, free cash flow and earnings per share.
The idea behind analyzing operating cash flow is that it is harder to manipulate than earnings per share, which can be affected by changes in accounting methods. In addition, the site’s operators believe that cash flow per share can predict trends in earnings per share six to nine months in advance, warn investors of trouble ahead, or highlight a stock that might perform well in the near future.
Data from the last 20 quarters and the last five fiscal years is presented in a bar chart. To see actual per share numbers, you must hover the mouse over each data bar. You can see price and 52-week high and low prices as of the latest close along with current news headlines.
The program indicates when stocks are showing signs of distress or success. For example, if a company reports record earnings, but has negative operating earnings per share, this could be a sign of trouble ahead.
For $30 per month, you can access lists that track companies meeting certain criteria. You can also search the site with an advanced tool. For $100 per month you will get additional analysis and data including other earnings figures and industry data.
Scottrade Offers New ETF Screener
Scottrade now provides real-time market data and a screener for exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The new NASDAQ Velocity and Forces tool provides ScottradeElite customers with real-time data. The new, but basic ETF screener has 18 criteria for screening and you must choose between predefined values. The criteria categories are ETF basics (i.e., asset type and classification), total return performance, fundamentals, and Lipper leaders (which ranks funds based on expenses, performance, tax efficiency and more over a number of time periods). The ETF screener is free for Scottrade customers.
TidalwaveTrader Provides Trading Education
TidalwaveTrader is a new site that features investing video tutorials, training and trading tips. The site’s main offering is Video Trade Alerts that use technical analysis tools and charts to time the market. The videos discuss a stock, the technical analysis of the stock’s price and volume movement, and why those movements are important. An education area of the site provides videos that dissect trading patterns and concepts for those unfamiliar with technical analysis and charting. A community area allows members to discuss their investing thoughts and trading ideas. A subscription costs $49 per month. The site offers a handful of sample videos as well.
TD Ameritrade’s New Bond Resources
TD Ameritrade has introduced Bond Wizard and Bond Ladder. The Bond Wizard helps investors search for bonds and CDs meeting customized criteria. The tool presents a list of securities meeting your criteria and then asks you to choose from a list of ready-made bond ladders. You can also create your ladders with the Bond Ladder tool. These tools are free for TD Ameritrade customers.
TradeStation Introduces New Fee Schedule
TradeStation, which offers a trading platform with brokerage services for users to manually or automatically trade custom strategies, has a new trading commission schedule. You can now choose between per share and new flat-fee commission plans. The flat-fee commissions generally range from $6.99 to $9.99 per trade (depending on a customer’s frequency of trading) and offer discounts to customers with a higher volume of trades. For a detailed commission schedule, go to: www.tradestation.com/brokerage/commissions.shtm.
Zen Trader Mechanical Trading Systems
Zen Trader is run by a freelance engineer who develops mechanical trading systems. The new ZenDynamic Indicators tool includes three market dynamic and non-linear indicators. The indicators focus on dynamic averages of non-linear price changes over a variety of time periods and compare these with the current state of the market. The site includes a PDF file with more detailed information about the indicators. For free demos and pricing information, visit the Web site (click “view website in englishlanguage”).
Interactive Data Upgrades Trading Platform
Interactive Data Corp. has enhanced its Java-based, streaming real-time data trading program. Market-Q now includes a quick link to export data to Excel and can continuously pull market data into Excel. The program has also added “Hot Lists” of investments in 34 different categories. Additionally, weather maps for futures markets are now provided.