Over the last few weeks I have been spending inordinate amounts of time playing with Google Finance. It has slowly become my site of choice for investigating both stocks and mutual funds – and I should point out I have a "special" version of Morningstar and Globefund on my broker terminal, not to mention a direct feed to Reuters. (I have to admit the info from Reuters is unbelievable – by clicking on a stock symbol you can pull up everything from market depth to option chains to technical analysis charting functions and on and on and on – in fact there are probably over 50 different views I haven’t even gotten around to exploring.)
But back to Google Finance – if I only had one financial research tool available to me, it might be this one. It is very intuitive to use, which is probably it’s best feature. There is a search bar, just like with a regular google.com search, but when you start typing it will automatically suggest stock and mutual fund ticker symbols. Just click and instantly a wall of information and a beautiful chart pops up. There are discussion groups on popular stocks and information on MANY (if not ALL) stocks and mutual funds. I should point out that there is currently no information on individual bonds at this point.
All the key statistics appear instantly on the security… and the chart is a thing of beauty - you can scale it and get an instant cumulative return on any holding period, and also compare it against multiple other securities or indices. For example, if you want to see the difference between two different exchange traded funds that both track the S&P 500 you could pull it up instantly and then throw in the index (the S&P 500 itself) just for kicks: here is the chart.
If you have the fund codes of your mutual funds, you can enter those in directly as well. Fund specific information will be shown. As an example I looked up a fund that the Canadian Capitalist uses in one of his portfolios, the TD e-Series Canadian Bond Index Fund. Just type in the fund code (TDB909) and viola! (Side note, when looking at the alpha: it is negative, but that is to be expected as there is no active management. The alpha for an index fund will usually be negative and equal to it’s expense ratio. That’s normal.)
So, go ahead and check out Google Finance Beta – and play around a bit. Just a warning – you may spend countless hours on this site – warn your family now! :)
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