Assuming you’re like me, you’re constantly looking at stocks. I’m looking at big ones and small ones and medium ones and ones that look good and ones that don’t maybe look good but then they do once you get them all naked… and examine their numbers. I bet you thought I was talking about something other than stocks there, huh?
Anyhoo, if you’re doing all that looking, chances are you’re going to want ways to track your portfolio online. I used to write out my watch lists on actual paper, and I’d stick that paper on the wall over top of my desk. Obviously this low-tech solution wasn’t ideal, so I’ve moved onto online options, because apparently I’m cool enough to deal exclusively in the cloud. Take that, kids in 7th grade.
Without further filler, allow me to present 4 ways to track your portfolio online.
1. Google Drive
When did Google Docs become Google Drive? And why didn’t they consult me first? I DEMAND VENGEANCE.
This is my favorite way of tracking a portfolio, since it’s just so customizable. You can put in anything from 52 week highs and lows, to the volume of the stock in question, to the market cap or the P/E ratio. It’s a pretty powerful tool.
It’s pretty easy to make your own spreadsheet, or you can just start with one of the sheets someone else has already customized. Here’s the steps to making your own.
All you need to do is put the proper function in each cell. Assuming you’re using Blackberry’s shares for some reason, some sample cells would look like this.
=googlefinance( “bb.to” , “price”)
=googlefinance(“bb.to” , “volume”)
And so on. Here’s a list of all the functions Google Drive supports. There’s a notable exception, and that’s dividend yield. It’s pretty simple to create your own formula by just dividing the yearly dividend by the price to get the yield. You’ll have to keep an eye on the dividend and make sure it hasn’t changed, but that’s not so hard.
And here’s a picture of my actual Canadian stock watch list, built with Google Drive. Don’t go stealing all my ideas.
2. Google Finance Portfolios
Because hey, Google already knows everything about you. You might as well tell it all the stocks you own too.
Here’s what you do. You go to Google Finance, and click “Portfolios” on the left side menu bar. Go ahead and enter as much or as little information as you’d like, and presto. You’ve got a portfolio. You can enter the price you paid and number of shares if you’re looking to track actual performance, or you can just type in ticker symbols if you’re putting in a watch list. You can even withdraw or add cash to your account.
Google will also give you a nice graph of your portfolio’s performance, a newsfeed with all relevant news, and the option to add upcoming events to your calendar. Considering the overall weakness in Google Finance overall, this isn’t such a bad tool.
3. Yahoo Finance
Like with Google Finance, the process if pretty simple. From the Finance homepage, click on My Portfolio and then Create Portfolio. From there you’ll be asked to name the portfolio, (don’t bother to take Nelson’s Millions, it’s taken) and add the ticker symbols you want to track. Make sure you type .to after any symbols are from the Toronto Stock Exchange and that have identical NYSE or NASDAQ tickers. Don’t worry, it’s pretty straightforward.
Then choose from a few customizable options and BAM, you’re done. Seriously, a monkey can do it.
And finally we have Marketocracy, which is probably one of the most interesting ways to track your portfolio online.
What’s so interesting about it? You can’t really use it as a watch list tool, since it tracks your performance compared to all the other investors who use it. As you tell the service what you buy and sell, it updates your results in real time, keeping track of your portfolio.
All portfolios have a value of $1M, and you can manage more than one different portfolio at one time. Once you start to manage a portfolio, you’ll be asked to make trades, in real time, as you add positions. You can make as many or as few as you want, whatever floats your boat. It’s a good tool to use if you’re going to do paper trading too.
(Update: Stupid Marketocracy doesn’t allow you to buy Canadian stocks. That’s a big bummer.)
And that’s about it. I know there are more services, but hey, somebody has to keep the content flowing. Hey, you could always just use the tools your online broker has. Or not. Feel free to mention your favorite in the comments.