Lifehacker finance Jedi Alicia Adamczyk would warn against the practice—and it’s good advice—but it can be tough to resist the temptation to check the stock market every day. You don’t have to do anything with this information; sometimes it’s just nice to watch the world burn, as it were, because someone said or did something and the entire market took a 1,000-point poop.
(It’s also fun to watch it go up 1,000 points for seemingly no reason.)
It’s been over a year since Google cut a ton of functionality from its super-helpful, free stock tracking tool, something I would have recommended for casual and aspiring investors looking to get a little more understanding about what the market is doing each day.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other solid alternatives for getting your daily dose of financial depression (or exuberance). Here’s a quick roundup of a few of my favorites—starting with a quick reminder that Google Finance isn’t really dead, just different.
I, like many of you, assumed Google Finance was over and done when the company announced in late 2017 that it was making substantial changes to the free service. I quickly started looking elsewhere for my financial fix, but perhaps I abandoned the site a bit too early. If you only need the most basic of information about your portfolio, Google Finance is still a viable free service. It’s also a lot more spartan now, post-changes—for better or worse.
On Google Finance’s primary page, you’ll get a small box that shows you a subset of stocks on your watchlist—not the whole thing, because that would be too useful, but a handful of stocks you’re tracking. You also get a quick glance at stocks you’ve recently searched for, a box that shows stocks you might be interested in (ha!), and a quick look at the major indices for U.S. and world markets. (Currencies, too.)
You can add stocks you care about to your aforementioned watchlist, and you can see everything on that list on a separate “Your Stocks” tab. Clicking on any stock brings up the ol’ familiar price chart, and you can compare the stock’s performance to any other stock you want. While you don’t get a data box that dishes out the company’s financials, like its dividend yield, market cap, or P/E ratio, you can at least quickly see how its latest quarterly statement is doing.
I probably wouldn’t use Google Finance to day trade—especially since it killed a separate tool you could use to find companies by market cap, P/E ratio, and other criteria—but Google Finance isn’t terrible if you only need a quick peek at your portfolio from time to time (or all the time, even though you’re going to drive yourself crazy).
Even though I don’t like anything about Yahoo—sorry, fantasy football fans—the company’s free stock-tracking service has become one of my daily go-tos. Since it’s Yahoo, however, its Finance website starts covered with news, not numbers.
I appreciate that you can create your own custom list of stocks you want to track, and Yahoo gives you plenty of categories to browse if you’re trying to find new stocks to add to your list—whether you care about regular companies, cryptocurrencies, the most active stocks of the day, commodities, ETFs, et cetera.
You’ll need to sign in with a Yahoo account to create your portfolio, which at least gives you a reason to resurrect it (unless you’re a closet Yahoo Mail fan). You can also link your Yahoo account to an outside broker, which is useful if you’ve already built a portfolio at Fidelity, Coinbase, Robinhood, or other similar entities.
I also think it’s great that Yahoo Finance gives you a good amount of information about an individual stock—a company, really—when you click through to view it. You’ll get all of the basics:
In addition, you can compare stocks to one another on a big-ass chart, view any posts other Yahoo users have made about the stock (oof), and get a whole boatload of statistics about the company (including P/E, outstanding shares, operating margins, and other fun 10-Q information, as well as dividend yields and payouts). Additionally, you can view historical highs and lows, see analysts’ estimates, and check out institutional holders. That sure is a lot for a free service; I hope it makes you rich.
Alternatives: Investing.com, MarketWatch
Now we’re getting interesting. I like that TradingView really focuses on numbers instead of news, which is pretty apparent the first time you load up the page and see a giant, real-time stock tracker covering the top of the site. And that’s just the start of the fun.
Pick a stock. Any stock. Enter it into the handy search bar, and you’ll immediately get a giant, blown-up chart to stare at, as well as helpful data points—the daily range, volume, EPS, P/E, market cap, and dividend yield—right above the graph.
It gets better. Click on that “full featured chart” button to transform your monitor into a giant trading terminal—well, the look and feel of a trading terminal, at least:
I won’t get deep into the basics, since Tradingview lets you do it all: create watch lists, compare stocks, quickly scan through all kinds of markets, and browse to find new stocks based on a variety of technical parameters. It costs nothing to set up a standard account, which lets you save and track your portfolio (and set up a single alert for a stock, among other features). If you want to do more, you’ll have to pay $10 monthly—at minimum.
I wanted to call out Stockrow, specifically, because I love the site’s spartan design. It’s not full of eye-catching annoyances, just simple, plain text and hyperlinks to related corporate news that’s presented with quick headlines and brief synopses—even though the sentences can look a little garbled.
I wouldn’t use Stockrow to track my portfolio, since you’d have to sign up for an account (registrations are closed as of when I wrote this). You’d also have to pay Stockrow $14/monthly for a membership, which lets you do things like watch a portfolio or receive realtime stock prices.
However, if you’re looking to get insight into stocks every now and then, I like the site’s charting tools. Click on the “Chart” link on the site’s front page, and you’re taken to a tool that lets you pick the parameters you want the chart to have before it gets generated. You can add a variety of companies you want to track at once and pick which indicators—stock price, P/E ratio, Dividends per Share, Debt to Equity, et cetera—you want the chart to focus on. Heck, you can have a few, if you don’t mind a messy chart.
If you want to stick with the basics—and only investigate a single company at once—the site presents its charting tools in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. You can even mouse over the company’s various data points to get a quick description of what it actually means (saving you a Google, if you’re still learning the ins and outs of finance). Additionally, a handy “Snapshots” button gives you a wealth of key information about a company’s income, balance sheets, and cashflow at once, all organized in a series of charts that you’d otherwise have to create yourself on other sites.
Alternatives: Gurufocus, if you need pretty graphical bars to let you know how a company’s various indicators are performing against the industry and its own financial history.