If you own stocks, sometimes keeping track of them can be a real pain. Multiple accounts, poor brokerage online user interfaces, and lousy web-based trackers (see Yahoo Finance or Stockhouse.com) have many investors with a bad taste in their mouths.
Slowly improving this trend of poor web-based stock portfolio trackers is Google Finance. This app (really a website) from Google links into your Google account. You can access it in the same way as Google Docs or Photos. Use the drop-down menu under “more“.
Entering a Portfolio
In Google Finance, click on the “Portfolios” link in the left-hand menu. Google Finance looks at your browser’s geographical location and alters your finance site (e.g., www.google.ca for Canada). You can then start adding stocks by entering the ticker symbol in the “Add symbol” box (outlined above in red). A menu will pop up that allows you to confirm the symbol with the company name. This is important as Google Finance covers many stock exchanges and different companies can have the same symbols. If you wish, you can also enter transaction data (data, # share, price, etc.) about the stock to allow you to quantify your portfolio’s progress. Note that multiple transactions for the same stock have to be entered individually. You can also enter additional portfolio’s using the link “Create a new portfolio” in the upper right. Cash deposits and withdrawals can also be entered (use the links next to “Cash”).
Tracking Your Stocks
Once you have entered your stocks and the related information to buys and sells, you can start to look at the dollars and cents. The “Transactions” tab is of particular use as it not only shows the transactions you entered, but also dividend payouts, splits, and other important information concerning your holdings. Not all other web-based portfolios do this correctly. For example, Google Finance uses your initial pre-split value (purchase price x shares) to calculate your gain/loss (see “Performance” tab) whereas some other sites may not consider when the split occurred, leading to an erroneous gain/loss calculation. Although Google has to improve how difference currencies are handled.
Google Finance also gives up-to-date news feeds regarding your stocks from a variety of internet sources. This is expected, being Google. The “Fundamentals” tab allows you to look at current market cap, P/E ratio, and other useful indicators.
Do you use Google Finance? If not give it a try and tell us how it compares with what else you are using.