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Tracking your investments
Saturday, November 25, 2017
The Google Finance online portfolio tracker never offered much eye candy for users, but it was easy to use and popular with investors. Nevertheless, it appears to be on the way out. "Google Finance is under renovation," a notice on the website says. As a part of this process, the Portfolios feature won't be available until a later date, the notice continues. Ready to find an alternative for monitoring stocks, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds you own or are considering for your portfolio? Let's look at a bunch of contenders.
You get a pair of investment-monitoring tools here - a portfolio tracker for the investments you own or want to follow in depth and watchlists for stocks you want to follow on a casual basis. Both tools are integrated into one page that also includes news, analysis and events (earnings, dividend payments etc.) related to your holdings.
What you'll like: Most sites offer links to news about the stocks you own, but Globeinvestor stands out for providing news and analysis from The Globe and Mail rather than what are basically just news releases. Dividend-focused investors will like the data on payout ratios and dividend growth rates; also, useful information is provided on portfolio allocation. Find out here if you're overexposed to a particular sector or country.
Note: Some of the analysis on individual stocks is reserved for Globe Unlimited subscribers.
This independent investment analysis firm is a good source of commentary on stocks, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Also available is a portfolio tracker that lacks visual appeal, but compensates with its versatility and breadth. Note that some features are reserved for paying subscribers.
What you'll like: Click the "my performance" tab and you'll see your year-by-year returns as well as annualized returns over periods going back as long as 10 years, or since inception. There's also a visual display where you can compare your portfolio with various benchmark indexes. Another plus is how easy it is to blend stocks and ETFs as well as mutual funds in the same portfolio view.
Note: Not a leader in providing relevant news for your holdings.
Morningstar five-star ratings for stocks are shown, but you can't read the research reports unless you're a paying subscriber.
A more sophisticated portfoliotracking tool, but also one that will cost you money if you have a portfolio of more than 10 stocks. You can have up to 20 holdings for $12 a month, three portfolios with unlimited holdings for $19 a month and five portfolios with unlimited holdings for $25 a month. The latter two plans come with more sophisticated portfolio reporting.
What you'll like: Even the free plan offers some value. For example, you can track performance by dividends, capital gains and currency. A unique feature lets you share your portfolio with someone.
Note: The cost of unlocking the full capabilities of this portfolio tracker is pricey.
A straightforward portfolio tracker brought to you by TMX Group, which runs the Toronto Stock Exchange.
What you'll like: Easy to set up and maintain portfolios and create a custom view based on data you'd like to see. The "charts" view gives you instant charts of all your holdings and an option to compare them with various benchmarks.
The "allocation" view turns your portfolio into a pie chart showing how big a share each of your stocks accounts for. Also, TSX stock quotes are shown in real time, while most others use quotes delayed by 15 or 20 minutes.
Note: Although a free service, it's not as useful as some for tracking performance of shares and the portfolio as a whole.
This one's different. Rather than inputting the stock and funds you own into Wealthica, you use it to aggregate all your investing accounts (and some bank accounts) into one location, offering a consolidated view. This kind of portfolio aggregation has been around for years, but it hasn't caught on in Canada. One reason is security - you have to provide your user name and password from your various accounts to add an account to Wealthica, and this could violate security guarantees that most investment dealers offer against fraud or hacking. Wealthica's extensive security measures are listed on its website.
Note: Wealthica links up with more than 30 companies in the online brokerage, advice, robo-adviser and banking fields (participants include AGF Mutual Funds, Assante Wealth Management, roboadvisers Nest Wealth and Wealthsimple and nine online brokerage firms, including those owned by major banks,). Provide your log-in particulars and the account is linked. Once your accounts are loaded, you'll get comprehensive reports showing what you own and how it's performing. Check out the income report, which documents interest and dividend income generated by your investments.
Note: Many financial firms are not in the database yet.
Yahoo has been in the portfoliotracking business since forever and now offers a user-friendly service for following stocks you own and those you're just watching. Nine different portfolio views are offered, and there's an additional option to create your own view.
What you'll like: Simple to set up and maintain. The summary page offers a consolidated view of how all your various portfolios have done on an intraday and sinceinception basis.
Note: News for individual stocks is larded with "sponsored" items of no relevance and news releases.
There's not a lot of content that adds value for the Canadian investor.
Two watchlist offerings for investors who only need a quick-and-dirty view of the stocks they're following:
MarketWatch: This go-to website for following U.S and global markets offers a watchlist that shows how your stocks are doing on an intraday basis. Two useful details: Volume is compared with the daily average for that stock, while prices are shown in comparison with their range for the day and the past 52 weeks. For Canadian stocks, type CA: in front of the symbol.
MSN Money: The watchlist feature offers a "fundamentals" view that shows things such as price-earnings ratio, return on equity, earnings per share and revenue growth.
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