Apps for Investors


"There's an app for that!" It's a common refrain these days, as we fill our nifty little mobile devices with handy tools. There are apps to help us as we travel, cook, seek news, play games, manage our schedules, participate in social networks, and do myriad other things. And of course, there are apps to help in our investing, as well.

Here are some apps you might want to look into. There are many others, though -- so keep looking, and perhaps share your own recommendations in the comments section below.

The Usual Suspects

Many of the usual online haunts that provide financial news, stock and mutual fund data, and other tools also have apps. Morningstar (MORN) houses a treasure trove of data on thousands of stocks and funds, for example, and Bloomberg offers a rich array of business news. Also check out AOL's (AOL) DailyFinance, MarketWatch, TheStreet, CNBC, The Motley Fool, Yahoo! (YHOO) Finance, and Google (GOOG) Finance.

Think about the companies with which you do business when you invest. Most of them probably offer apps. If, for example, your 401(k) is at Fidelity, your IRA is with Vanguard, or your main brokerage account is with Charles Schwab (SCHW), TD AMERITRADE (AMTD), or E*TRADE (ETFC), their apps can add more convenience to your life, often permitting you to check your accounts' status and execute transactions.

Some brokerages will let you set up alerts so that you'll receive a message on your smartphone should a stock you're interested in fall below a certain price. Many service-provider apps will be happy to send you news alerts about investments or topics that interest you. Better still, many of these apps, as well as the ones below, are free, while many others cost just a few dollars.

Specialty Sites

If you're interested in particular kinds of investments or activities, you'll find apps for those, as well. Want to read about compelling exchange-traded funds? Add ETFdb to your app collection. If you'd like to create and track some portfolios online, you can do so with apps such as StockWatch. Apps such as A+ Stock Screener will let you sift through thousands of stocks, filtering according to criteria such as size, P/E ratio, and more.

Advanced investors and those honing their analytical skills may want to check out FS Viewer HD, which offers detailed data from financial statements such as balance sheets and income statements. To deepen your understanding of financial topics, you might to use an app such as Finance Glossary.

The apps above are just the tip of the iceberg. Spend some time exploring app stores and app review sites such as MacWorld's AppGuide and PCWorld's AppGuide, and you'll likely encounter additional apps of interest.

Be Careful Out There

One final word of caution: While various apps can make your financial dealings easier, they can also potentially introduce some new headaches into your life, via security breaches.

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It was demonstrated recently, for example, that Android apps may be able to access the private information you have on your smartphone. Since smartphones are like computers, they can be susceptible to viruses and other malware. For maximum protection, you might avoid accessing your financial accounts on your portable devices. And, with all computers, tablets and smartphones, it's best to use strong passwords, change them regularly, and follow other safety recommendations.

Finally, know that the world of apps is growing and changing all the time, with new apps appearing regularly and existing apps being improved frequently. Services you wish were available may be available soon. And those security threats we face today may be conquered soon, though new ones can still pop up.

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Google and AOL, but she holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Yahoo! and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Yahoo!, Google, Charles Schwab, Morningstar, and TD AMERITRADE.