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Online Investing Hacks

Book Description

For the geek who's an investor, and the investor who's a geek, we present Online Investing Hacks, 100 industrial-strength, bleeding edge tips, tools and techniques for analyzing and managing online portfolios.Individual investors have become more computer-literate and technology-dependent than ever before. Whether you're looking for suitable investments, studying alternatives, or managing your portfolios, you need data. The Internet can be a goldmine of financial data and research, but today's online investors also use spreadsheets, databases, and financial applications to select, study and manage investments. If your proficiency has grown to the point where you crave industrial-strength tips and tools to turbo-charge your efforts, this is the book for you.Online Investing Hacks covers:

  • Screening Investments
  • Collecting Data
  • Fundamental Analysis
  • Technical Analysis
  • Executing Trades
  • Investing in Mutual Funds
  • Portfolio Management
  • Updating Stock Data
  • Financial Planning
Other books for managing online investing are either out of date, are for beginners and don't go beyond the most basic advice, or are so dull and boring they squeeze that last bit of fun out of the topic. Online Investing Hacks is for the customer who wants to know the latest techniques, to go beyond the basics, who gets jazzed by cool online tools and services, and who actually wants to have a bit of fun while trying to strike it rich (or at least not lose their shirt).

Table of Contents

  1. Online Investing Hacks
  2. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
  3. Credits
    1. About the Author
    2. Contributors
    3. Acknowledgments
  4. Preface
    1. Why Online Investing Hacks?
    2. How to Use This Book
    3. How This Book Is Organized
    4. Conventions
    5. How to Contact Us
    6. Got a Hack?
  5. 1. Screening Investments
    1. Hacks #1-6
    2. Screen Savings Rates
      1. See Also
    3. Screen Fixed-Income Investments
      1. Consider Bond Variables Before Screening
      2. Screening Bonds
      3. See Also
    4. Screen Loan and Mortgage Rates
      1. Unraveling Mortgage Costs
      2. Screening Mortgages
      3. HSH Calculators
    5. Fast and Free Stock Screening Tools
      1. The Best of the Bunch
      2. Using Quicken.com’s Full Search Screening Tool
    6. Build Industrial Strength-Stock Screens
      1. Using the MSN Money Deluxe Screener
    7. Weed Out Results
      1. Tinkering with Results in a Spreadsheet
        1. Sorting
        2. Filtering
  6. 2. Hacking Excel for Financial Analysis
    1. Hacks #7-13
    2. Download Data Using Excel Web Queries
      1. Creating an Excel Web Query
      2. Making a Web Query Work for Any Ticker Symbol
      3. Hacking the Hack
    3. Make Good and Bad Values Stand Out
      1. Applying Conditional Formatting
      2. Hacking the Hack
    4. Make Nested Functions Work in Excel
      1. Using Named Cells
      2. Creating Stubs
      3. Creating Excel Subroutines
      4. Hacking the Hack
    5. Prevent Growth Calculations from Blowing Up
      1. Calculating Growth Between Start and End Dates
      2. Protecting Regression Calculations
      3. Calculating R-Squared Without Mishap
    6. Flexible Techniques for Referencing Data
      1. Searching Labels in a Column
      2. Searching Labels in a Row
      3. Retrieving Values When Rows and Columns Change
      4. Retrieving Data Near a Label
    7. Add Conditional Commentary
    8. Create Financial Charts in Excel
      1. Using the Excel Chart Wizard
      2. Getting Charts Right
      3. Matching Charts to Objectives
  7. 3. Collecting Financial Data
    1. Hacks #14-24
    2. Fathoming Financial Statements
      1. The Income Statement
      2. The Balance Sheet
      3. The Statement of Cash Flow
    3. Download Mutual Fund Data
      1. Picking the Data Behind Door Number One or Door Number Two
      2. Building a Mutual Fund Data Workbook
    4. Choose Your Favorite Flavor of Data
      1. Types of Financial Data
      2. Choosing a Data Source
    5. Obtain Price Quotes
    6. Download Historical Price Files
    7. Download Financial Statements
      1. Financial Statements from EdgarScan
    8. The Best Data for Free
    9. The Best Data for a Fee
    10. Download News
      1. News Delivery
      2. The Best Free News Services
      3. News for a Fee
      4. See Also
    11. Locate the Competition
    12. Obtain Averages for an Industry and the Competition
      1. Calculate Competitors’ Averages Using Stock Screen Results
      2. Hacking the Hack
    13. Create Alerts
      1. Free Alert Services
      2. Alerts for a Fee
  8. 4. Analyzing Company Fundamentals
    1. Hacks #25-45
    2. Investing in Growth
      1. Starting with Simple Percentages
      2. The Value of Compounded Growth
    3. Insisting on Quality
    4. Buying Good Value
    5. Calculate Percentage Change for Growth and Return
      1. Taking Dividends and Commissions into Account
    6. Calculate Compound Annual Rates of Growth
      1. Estimating Compounded Annual Growth Rates
      2. Calculating Growth with the LOGEST Function
      3. Hacking the Hack
      4. See Also
    7. Calculate Price and Dividend Ratios
      1. Dividend and Yield
      2. The Payout Ratio
      3. Going Beyond the P/E Ratio
      4. Viewing Price and Dividend Ratios and Trends
        1. Historical price and dividend charts
        2. Comparing historical price ratios
        3. Comparing ratios to the competition
    8. Calculate Additional Valuation Ratios
      1. P/E to Growth Ratio
      2. Price/Book Value Ratio
      3. Price/Sales Ratio
      4. Price/Cash Flow Ratio
      5. Hacking the Hack
      6. See Also
    9. Calculate Financial Strength Ratios
      1. Current Ratio
      2. Quick Ratio
      3. Debt-to-Equity Ratio
      4. Long-Term Debt-to-Equity Ratio
      5. Interest Coverage Ratio
      6. See Also
    10. Calculate Management Effectiveness Ratios
      1. Evaluating Return on Equity
      2. Evaluating Return on Assets
    11. Calculate Turnover Ratios
      1. Asset Turnover Ratio
      2. Inventory Turnover Ratio
      3. Receivables Turnover Ratio
      4. See Also
    12. Calculate Profitability Ratios
      1. Key Profit Margins
        1. Gross margin
        2. Operating profit margin
        3. Pre-tax profit margin
        4. Net profit margin
      2. Analyzing Profitability
      3. Hacking the Hack
      4. See Also
    13. Compare Year-to-Year Results
    14. Compare Several Competitors to Identify the Strongest Candidate
      1. See Also
    15. Measure Earnings Predictability in Excel
      1. Getting the Earnings Data You Need
      2. Understanding the R-Squared Measure
      3. Using Excel to Calculate R-Squared
      4. Hacking the Hack
    16. Use Rational Values to Buy and Sell Wisely
      1. The Signature PE
      2. The Historical Value Ratio
      3. Rational Price and Rational Value
      4. Code
    17. Are You Walking on the Wild Side?
      1. Understanding Risk
      2. Risk Measures
      3. An Online Tool for Checking Risk Versus Return
        1. Evaluating individual investments
        2. Evaluating your portfolio
        3. Another view of risk
    18. Use Ready-Made Fundamental Analysis Applications
      1. NAIC Software
        1. NAIC Classic
        2. Take Stock
        3. Investor’s Toolkit
        4. NAIC Stock Analyst
        5. Value Line Investment Analyzer
        6. Expert Investor
      2. See Also
    19. Spot Hanky Panky with Cash Flow Analysis
      1. Enron’s Financial End Run
      2. WorldCom’s Approach to Cooking the Books
    20. Use Online Analysis Tools
      1. Research Wizards
      2. DividendDiscountModel.com
      3. Quicken One-Click Scorecards
      4. ValuePro.net
      5. See Also
    21. Find the Best Free Excel Tools for Fundamental Analysis
      1. Analyzing Ratios
      2. Data Requirements
      3. See Also
    22. Find the Best Excel Tools for Fundamental Analysis for a Fee
    23. Analyze Real Estate Investment Trusts
      1. What Is a REIT?
      2. REIT Analysis: Something Old, Something New
      3. Obtaining REIT Data
      4. See Also
    24. Bank on Banks
      1. Revenue Measures for Banks
      2. The Lowdown on Loan Loss
      3. Evaluating Bank Profitability
      4. Flavors of Data
    25. Steps to Building a Financial Analysis Template
      1. Asking Questions and Documenting Decisions
        1. Qualitative steps
        2. Quantitative steps
        3. Action items
      2. Using a Checklist
  9. 5. Technical Analysis
    1. Hacks #46-53
    2. A Short History of Technical Analysis
    3. Computers and Technical Analysis
    4. Technical Charts
    5. The Importance of Money Management
      1. See Also
    6. Use Line and Bar Charts
      1. Line Charts
      2. Bar Charts
    7. Light the Way with Candlestick Charts
      1. See Also
    8. Point and Figure Charts
      1. See Also
    9. Look for Patterns in Technical Charts
      1. Recognizing Reversal Patterns
        1. Head and shoulders patterns
        2. Double top and bottom reversal patterns
      2. Recognizing Continuation and Consolidation Patterns
        1. Head and shoulders continuation patterns
        2. Flags and pennants
      3. See Also
    10. What’s Volume Got to Do with It?
      1. How Volume Confirms Price
      2. On-Balance Volume
    11. How to Use Indicators and Oscillators
      1. An Introduction to Indicators
      2. Moving Averages
      3. See Also
    12. Support and Resistance
    13. The Best Tools for Technical Analysis
      1. Online Trading Tools
      2. Standalone Software Applications
  10. 6. Executing Trades
    1. Hacks #54-58
    2. Pick the Right Type of Trade
    3. Execute After-Hours Trades
      1. Placing an Extended Hours Trade
      2. Drawbacks of Extended Hours Trading
      3. See Also
    4. Sell Fractional Shares
    5. Build Your Own Mutual Funds
    6. Buy Bonds Online
      1. Keep an Eye on Online Bond Trading Fees
      2. See Also
  11. 7. Investing in Mutual Funds
    1. Hacks #59-72
    2. Mutual Funds Are Here to Stay
    3. It’s Your Money
    4. Index Funds, Anyone?
    5. Why Don’t My Funds Perform as Well as Others?
      1. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: How Expenses Impact Returns
      2. See Also
    6. Calculate the Damage of Mutual Fund Expenses
      1. Calculating Mutual Fund Costs and Return
    7. Analyze the Hidden Costs of Fund Turnover
      1. The Direct Costs of Turnover
      2. Neutralizing Turnover
      3. See Also
    8. The Taxman Cometh for Your Fund Returns
      1. Tax Avoidance Strategies
    9. Evaluate Short-Term and Long-Term Returns
      1. Hacking the Hack
      2. See Also
    10. Manage Interest Rate Risk with Bond Fund Duration
      1. Bonds Versus Bond Funds
      2. Using Duration to Evaluate Risk
      3. Where to Find Duration Information Online
    11. Evaluate Mutual Funds
      1. The Index Advantage
      2. Management, Cost, and Turnover
      3. Past Performance
      4. Tools for Evaluating Mutual Funds
    12. The Best Mutual Fund Screens for Free
      1. Sifting Through Fund Criteria
    13. The Best Mutual Fund Screens for a Fee
      1. What You Pay For
    14. Beware of the Closet Index Fund
      1. Using Data to Spot an Index-Hugger
    15. Spot Mutual Funds That Don’t Play Fair
      1. Staying Current
      2. What You Can Do
    16. Know When to Fold ‘Em
      1. When Funds Go Bad
      2. When to Sell
    17. Comparison-Shop for Mutual Funds
      1. The Mutual Fund Checklist
      2. Hacking the Hack
    18. Compare Mutual Funds Online
      1. Fund Comparisons for a Fee
      2. Fund Comparisons for Free
  12. 8. Managing Your Portfolio
    1. Hacks #73-86
    2. What Is Portfolio Management?
    3. Tracking Results
    4. Build an Online Portfolio
    5. Asset Allocation: Less Risk on the Road to Returns
      1. Determining Your Risk Tolerance
      2. Managing Risk
      3. Asset Allocation Saves the Day
      4. Online Tools for Asset Allocation
      5. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
      6. See Also
    6. Keep Allocation in Line
      1. How Often Should I Rebalance?
      2. Rebalancing Strategies
      3. Tools to Help Rebalance Your Portfolio
    7. The Best Portfolio Management Tools for Free
    8. The Best Portfolio Management Tools for a Fee
    9. Portfolio Management with Excel
    10. Take the Sting Out of Portfolio Management
      1. Playing Defense
      2. Playing Offense to Increase Returns and Reduce Risk
    11. Use Bonds in a Portfolio
      1. Understanding Bonds
      2. Bonds Versus Bond Funds
      3. Putting Bonds to Work
    12. Calculate Investment Return Over Different Time Periods
      1. Using Internal Rate of Return to Calculate Performance
    13. Compare Your Return to a Benchmark
      1. Comparing Returns Based Only on Initial Investment
      2. Comparing Returns Using Cash Flows
      3. See Also
    14. Forecast Future Returns
    15. Compare Returns for Alternative Investments
      1. Comparing One-Time Investments
      2. Decision Making with Risk
      3. Comparing Investments with Multiple Cash Flows
    16. Assess Portfolio Quality
      1. How to Recognize Quality
      2. Measuring Quality
      3. Using Quality Measures
    17. Flag Fundamental Sell Signals
  13. 9. Financial Planning
    1. Hacks #87-100
    2. Choose the Right Type of Account
      1. Types of Savings Accounts
      2. Types of Investment Accounts
      3. Tax-Advantaged Accounts
    3. Choose an Online Broker
      1. A Rundown on Online Brokerage Features
      2. Find Your Perfect Broker
    4. Pick the Best Broker for Your Trading Style
      1. Estimating Commissions
      2. Choosing the Best Deal
    5. Save Up for Something Good
      1. Choosing the Right Investment
      2. Calculating the Time Value of Money
        1. How much will you have if you invest a lump sum today?
        2. How much will you have if you invest some money each month?
        3. How much do you have to invest each month to reach your target?
    6. Up, Up, and Away: The Cost of College
      1. The Actual Costs
      2. See Also
    7. Let Me Count the Ways to Save for College
      1. See Also
    8. A College Savings Plan in Every State
      1. See Also
    9. Balance Risk and Return for College Costs
      1. Get a Head Start on College Costs
      2. The Middle Years
      3. Hacking the Hack
    10. When It’s Time to Break the College Savings Piggy Bank
      1. Spending Assets to Qualify for Financial Aid
      2. Spending College Savings When Financial Aid Isn’t an Issue
      3. See Also
    11. Save for Retirement While Still Enjoying Yourself
      1. Online Retirement Planners
      2. What You Need to Know to Plan Your Retirement
      3. Analyzing the Results
    12. Juggle Multiple Objectives
    13. Get Out of Debt Before Debt Takes It Out of You
      1. Keeping Debt in Check
      2. Bringing Debt Back in Line
    14. Find a Financial Planner
      1. Different Strokes for Different Folks
      2. Finding and Hiring a Planner
    15. Build a Ladder of Fixed-Income Investments
      1. The Benefits of Fixed-Income Investment Ladders
  14. Index
  15. About the Author
  16. Colophon
  17. Copyright