Useful Investing Tools

Following is a brief list of websites and tools that I have found useful in investing:

  • Morningstar - Articles, stock, fund, and ETF quotes, returns, performance, and holdings, investing tools, and discussion boards among other features. Overall, a solid site particularly for analyzing the holdings and hypothetical growth of mutual funds/ETFs. Certain articles and tools require a subscription.
  • Morningstar's X-Ray Tool - Analyzes the holdings of your portfolio by asset allocation, stock style, sector, stock type, world regions, and fees and expenses. This is a vital tool for any investor and should be tested against your portfolio periodically to confirm you're matching your desired asset allocation and risk level.
  • Google Finance - Google Finance is newer to the game than many other sites, but I find the graphical interface for stock and fund performance the most user-friendly of any site. Its news feed feature is also beneficial to get the latest commentaries on various companies. However, it lacks many important tools such as technical indicators and other important fundamental figures. I use it to track my own portfolio since I'm always logged into gmail, anyways. But I wouldn't solely depend on Google Finance to monitor my investments. (Update: Google Finance has had a facelift and new features have been added such as technical indicators).
  • Yahoo! Finance - Where Google lacks, Yahoo! excels. This site provides much more information with more active message boards, as well as key information, interactive charts with technical indicators, detailed financials, analysts opinions, company profiles, historical prices adjusted for dividends, and more! If there's one site to go to, it's Yahoo! Finance. I just wish the graphical interface was as well laid out and user-friendly as Google's.
  • Wikinvest - An investing wiki that has personal finance, generic investing, and commodity, industry, and company specific articles as well as charts, financials, and industry-specific data metrics (that are compared relative to their competitors) for individual stocks.
  • StockCharts - A site with some nice charting abilities. Especially useful are their comparative performance charts.
  • Wall Street Journal - All investors should read it. No more to say.
  • CNNMoney - Personally, I'm a fan of the layout and the simple, concise day-end market recaps on the site. I particularly enjoy Paul La Monica's The Buzz.
  • Sector Performance - Monitoring the cyclical nature of various sectors is important to get a grasp of the macroeconomic factors at play. Fidelity was the pioneer in offering sector-specific funds and still is the leader. If you're using a sector-rotation strategy or just want to see general performance figures of sectors offered, check out the linked site. Alternatively, look at the performance of Select Sector SPDR ETFs here.
  • ETF Screener - For the ETF investor, this is a really helpful screener to find the ETF that meets your objectives.
  • FinViz - This site really has some unique features for free such as a heatmap, a detailed screener, and informative charts, data, and news about particular stocks.  I could see this site being a must-see for traders.  They also have a paid for Elite version, but the free website has ample functionality, in my opinion.
  • Cake Financial - Automatically tracks your trades and performance of your individual and retirement accounts. Analyzes your portfolio, compares your return to that of the S&P 500 as well as other users, categorizes investments, gives suggestions that match your investing profile, and more. The most useful aspect of it that I have found is that it automatically links to your brokerage accounts and keeps track of all your positions in one place. If you have multiple accounts with various companies, it's useful to have it automatically organized and cataloged. (Update: Cake Financial has been acquired, and destroyed, by E*Trade as of 1/14/2010 without warning. Apparently, E*Trade is going to incorporate certain features into their own site, but didn't find the user-base and site traffic promising itself on its own to keep it afloat. An alternative social investment site that I like is MarketGuru.com out of Israel.)
  • Bogleheads Wiki / Forum - A variety of helpful generic articles by those that adhere to the John Bogle (founder of Vanguard) investing philosophy of low-cost index fund investing for the long-term are in the wiki. The forum provides a great place for questions about asset allocation and risk for particular individual circumstances, as well as generic investing questions. There are a plethora of individuals who would be happy to answer your portfolio questions and assuage your concerns.
  • The Motley Fool - It used to be a solid site with some nice articles. It has gone downhill since, with the articles being brief and short on analysis, and everything becoming a sales pitch for one of their newsletters or "secret stock-picking" services. I don't visit it as much, but it occasionally has a nice article or two.
  • Briefing.com - Daily commentary on market activity, trends, and more.
  • Recent T-Bill Auction Results - Keeping on eye on the T-Bill rates is useful.
  • AskStockGuru.com - Contains some nice features such as analysis of momentum and trends, how much to risk on a particular position, and more.
  • MSN Money - I really only use this site for one feature; it lists the top 25 holdings of a particular fund instead of the top 10 holdings most sites do. You can easily get quotes for all 25 stocks as opposed to just 10 on Yahoo! Finance. Always check the fund/ETF prospectus to confirm the latest holding information.
That's all I've got for now! I might add more later.

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