News papers and syndicates that deliver the news; in particular the outlets that have a business focus we expect to have a robust portfolio. We all typically have a news outlet we go to first for our news, and we might even log-in so we can leave comments. Most likely the newspaper offers an on-line portfolio.
Some of these news outlets offer premium features to paying subscribes, or even have entirely separate offerings for professionals. This review however is focused only on what’s available to the general public as a free service. For the average individual, who just wants to keep tabs more frequently than monthly or quarterly statements, the fees to access the premium services are not justified.
Bloomberg is an American news outlet with a business focus. Their portfolio, quotes and charts are clean and efficient. I especially like the use of charts directly in the portfolio. Overall though the portfolio is fairly basic and not very innovative.
It should be noted that Bloomberg is one of the primary providers of news and data for professional advisors and portfolio managers. But what I’m looking at here is what is available to the general public, without a subscription.
This is more of a business magazine than a daily newspaper outlet and the appearance of the web sites reflects it. They’ve outsourced their portfolio, quotes, and charts to Barchart and unfortunately it shows – everything related to stocks seems to happen in its own little box. There’s some nice little fly-overs in their portfolio but you don’t get as much information as other sites.
They have a very impressive Watchlist feature that scrolls a ticker across top of the web site, and you can click on a symbol to get more information or go to a full blown quote & chart page. Although in the actual portfolio manager, the quotes, and charts are bare-bones and visually un-appealing. This a web site that makes me think of the early days of the web when Flash ads were all over the page!
This site has everything – including a pink background. And does it really well. My initial impression of the web site was not very good; but in terms of data and functionality this gets an A+. With the added bonus that it really is international – not just North American. There’s a lot of information provided on the first page for each stock, and charts open over the page (very web 2.0 – even though they preserve the Netscape-look of the site while doing it).
Globe and Mail Investor
The quintessential Canadian business news web site. Their stock and fund filters are the foundation used by many other organizations. They recently revamped their on-line portfolio and it looks much slicker, but it no longer has all the detailed functionality of the old one. You can’t track your exact position but, for stocks at least, you can track how many shares you own. The quotes and charts pages are split up along traditional lines, and their functionality is limited but at least all the Canadian data is there.
There are premium features available to Globe Plus and Globe Investor GOLD subscribers but these were not reviewed here.
Market Watch (Dow Jones)
Here is a very innovative portfolio manager, from the way it is laid-out to the way it works (it’s the only one that allows you to tag a stock and filter your stocks by tag). You can’t track all your transactions, but you can track your positions. The quotes for Canadian stocks are complete, and the charts are from Big Charts (another Dow Jones company so it’s not really out-sourced) so they’re very well done.
Note that Dow Jones is another important service relied upon by many professional investors and portfolio managers.
Of all the news outlets the best of the bunch are definitely the Financial Times and Market Watch. Unfortunately the Canadian ones in the bunch aren’t stepping up.
In the next installment I’ll look at what financial services companies offer the public and what customers of brokerages get.
Cross-posted on Schultzter’s Blog
Disclaimer The material in this article does not constitute advice and you should not rely on any material in this article to make any decision or take any action.