Among the many other roles that the iPad plays so well, Apple's tablet can act as an excellent stock trading and learning tool, with its near constant connectivity and big display. Whether you're just starting to get to know the stock market, managing a well-established personal portfolio, or seeking out quotes and news on particular companies, there's an app for you. Some of these apps are enabled by cloud services, for synchronization of watch lists with all of your other devices. Better yet, many of these apps are free. Here are seven of them, a number that just might turn into a lucky one for you.
Bloomberg for iPad (Free)
If you want to see (and even hear) news and educational info along with stock tickers, check out the Bloomberg app for your iPad. Its wealth of resources ranges from podcasts and Bloomberg TV stories to charts showing the latest currency and commodity trading figures, bonds and equity indices, and data on individual stocks.
Everything is presented in a clear and easy-to-use fashion. Admittedly, there are a few ads. However, these are minimal and not distracting at all, appearing only at the bottom of a page of a news article, for example. This app is highly recommended regardless of your level of stock trading expertise -- and of course you can't beat the price.
In case we needed any more evidence that social networking is taking over the world, here's another example. MarketBuzz identifies the most talked about stocks by using blogs and social networking. It also ranks them based on the increase in "buzz" over historical coverage. This is an interesting idea, and it might help you to pinpoint stocks which you should investigate further.
On the main screen of the app you'll find four choices: Top 100 Stocks, Hottest Stocks, Stocks by Sector, and a personal Watch List. Choose one of the four categories and you'll be presented with a grid of stock names. Underneath each company name is a listing of the relevant news articles, blog posts, and tweets. When you select a stock, you can see charts for one day up to one year, plus a few statistics and the news headlines and social media postings associated with that stock. The news reader in this app is particularly well done. It loads quickly and presents info in text only. Consequently, you won't be slowed down by a bunch of graphics and advertisements unless you choose to turn on the graphical Web view.
If you just want to follow individual stocks, this is a great app to try. You can simply search by individual company names -- no ticker symbol required -- to see daily, weekly, and monthly charts for up to ten years of performance.
By entering in your number of shares and the entry price, you can track your profits, as well. There's nothing terribly fancy or exciting here, but the app works flawlessly.
The help section contains tons of information and settings for moving averages, Bollinger Bands, rate of change, and other options to help you get the clearest picture possible on the stocks of interest to you. Best for minimalists.
StockSpy HD ($19.99)
If you're looking for more than just charts and graphs, StockSpy is an excellent choice. It pairs each company's ticker information with relevant news articles from across the web, whether that's the New York Times or the Motley Fool.
Through this smart approach, investors and potential investors can quickly learn a lot about a company and its prospects.
The layout is easy to follow, with links and statistics neatly organized. You can also create a free cloud account in order to use StockSpy with all of your other devices, including the iPhone, Mac, and PC. That's a handy timesaver. StockSpy is a truly well-rounded tool, useful for casual and serious investors alike.
StockTouch ($4.99, Universal)
If you're interested in the top stocks in each sector, the real market movers and shakers, check out StockTouch. This very slick app offers a unique visual presentation, showing the top companies in the middle of the screen and then spiraling outward based on market capitalization.
When you touch a company, you get detailed charting information, as well as relevant news stories. You can set specific companies as your favorites and optionally highlight them on the larger grid.
You can also change how companies are organized to show them by volume, percentage gains, or alphabetically. Time can be adjusted for a single day up to three years, and you can focus either on US stocks or the global market. Although sometimes relatively slow to load on the older iPad, StockTouch is engaging and creative.
Wikinvest Portfolio HD (Free)
Do you have accounts at more than one brokerage or financial service provider? If so, you know that it can be difficult and frustrating to track them all, even if each firm offers its own iPad app. Wikinvest takes all of the hassle out of tracking multiple portfolios by allowing you to add each of them to the app, either directly or by logging into Wikinvest.com.
You can also get information on the market as a whole. You can view overall winners and losers, get quotes for individual stocks, and read the latest market news. There's nothing terrifically thrilling about this app. Yet it works well. Anything that helps make it easier for you to keep track of your money and how it's performing for you is a good thing.
E*Trade Mobile Pro for iPad (Free)
This stock news app isn't anywhere near as immediately appealing as the Bloomberg app reviewed above. Yet while it suffers from somewhat choppy presentation, E*Trade Mobile Pro offers more than enough charts and tables to satisfy almost anyone with a craving for financial market data and stock news. Information is highly compartmentalized, in small boxes on the main page of the app which you can enlarge if you'd like. The controls for each box are in the top right corner of each box. You can also search or refresh each one.
If you're an E*Trade customer, you really do need this app. Even if you're not, you might want to check it out to see whether it's helpful to you. Just be aware that many of the advanced features, such as streaming video from CNBC, require at least an E*Trade account and as much as a Pro Elite account.
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