It is fair to say that the Internet has revolutionized many industries, but the financial services industry comes to mind as one that has been most profoundly affected. Thanks to the Internet, millions of investors are able to analyze markets on their own, which has served to disintermediate them from brokers and professional money managers.
Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) started back in 1994 and rolled out Yahoo! Finance shortly thereafter. Google Inc. (GOOG) was launched in 1998 and rolled out Google Finance in 2006. Below is a comparison of both popular financial sites. (Ready to see how good you'd be at playing the market? Check out Investopedia's article, "How Do You Use Stock Simulators?")
Both Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance operate popular financial websites that provides stock quotes, financial market news and general business news. Yahoo! bills its Finance portal as its industry-leading business and financial news product, and the service has evolved from its desktop origins to utilize the mobile internet and mobile apps. Both sites consistently rank among the top 15 most popular personal finance websites and are quite similar in the financial information they provide.
Both sites are popular, but Yahoo! Finance is nearly twice as popular as Google Finance. Recent estimates put Yahoo! Finance at an estimated 70 million unique visitors each month while Google Finance is well behind at 40 million. This puts Yahoo! Finance in pole position while Google Finance is number four behind MSN Money (65 million unique monthly visitors) and CNN Money (50 million).
Perusing both websites, Yahoo! Finance has a better look, feel and much more content. Looking at each firm’s 10-K filing, Yahoo! devotes much more time and description to its Finance offerings. Yahoo! Finance has a stated mission to help users make informed investment decisions regarding investments and financial markets. It provides financial data, market information and a wide array of applications to help users obtain detailed and current market information. In stark contrast, Google only mentions Google Finance once by name and mentions it is a Google-owned site that helps it drive advertising revenue.
Google Finance does have loyal followers, however. Some market participants appreciate that it emphasizes stock charting capabilities, which is not a strength of Yahoo! Finance. Google also appears to offer more comprehensive real-time stock market quotes, though Yahoo! does offer some real-time capabilities. Some blogs have criticized Google for inaccurate market information, however Yahoo! has had its fair share of alleged data errors, although none are seen as major and the vast majority of information appears to be accurate and timely.
The Bottom Line
Both Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance are great at offering overall financial market information, stock quotes and investment data, but it appears that the nearly 10-year lead that Yahoo! Finance has over Google Finance shows; the site has more robust data and content capabilities, and displays it in a much more appealing and efficient manner.
At the time of writing Ryan C. Fuhrmann did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.
The tools finance professionals use to screen securities, gather statistics and analyze market intelligence are invaluable. Unfortunately they can be so expensive that the individual investor typically cannot access them; that’s where Yahoo! Finance can help. Yahoo has a set of tools that rival the professional ones so that individuals will not be at a disadvantage. To use these tools there is an enormous amount of data to go through, so we've provided a guide to help steer users to the top tools for investors.
Ranking of Top Tools
1. Stock Research Center: This tool is the most comprehensive, go-to page on Yahoo! Finance for investors. From here, investors can click on links to get information related to company earnings (dates, surprises, etc.), analysts’ research (company research, upgrade/downgrades, sector analysis), company reports (annual, quarterly, all SEC filings), financial calendars (stock splits, IPOs, M&A, economic data) and research tools (screeners, historical or real time quotes) for stocks, bonds, mutual funds and options.
Let's walk through the steps to get started. First you select the "Market Data" link on the left side of the home page, then you scroll down 3/4 of the way till you see the "More Market Stats" box on the right, then select the "Stock Research Center".
Once that page loads, you can select from among all the categories. For example, if seeing which companies are reporting earnings today, select "Company Earnings" then "Earnings Dates." Or if you are looking for price trends, select the link for "Historical Quotes" to get prices for a specific time frame.
2. My Portfolio (NOTE: You have to have a Yahoo account to access this, as it requires you to log it): After utilizing all the resources provided in the Stock Research Center, "My Portfolio" is perhaps the next most useful tool. It allows investors to track portfolios or securities of interest, customize the screen view, choose fields based on investor interest, such as valuation metrics, estimates and price movements, among others. It even allows investors to input the number of shares purchased and the purchase price to track gains or losses. Not only can investors maintain current information, Yahoo! Finance turns that list of tickers into the news feeds for users, tailoring which news stories the user receives based on the tickers in the portfolios. Finally the tool allows users to sync up with other sites to their actual portfolios.
Let's go through an example. The following stocks are in a portfolio: American Airlines (AAL), General Electric (GE) and Apple (AAPL). To Track these names, first select "My Portfolio" on the left side of the home page. From the "My Portfolio" page select "Create New."
The page opens to allow input of a portfolio name, ticker symbols, market indices and allows for the selection of which stock characteristics are of interest to view (it is automatically set to "default"). This screen also allows linkage to brokerage accounts.
As you can see the output screen provides an easy way to track all investments in the portfolio and at the bottom in the "Recent News" section, the news stories are directly related to the stocks in the portfolio.
3. Market Data: This section covers every asset class and provides a quick glance of the current market - from performance of various indices, to stock movers, to an index decliner/advancer heat map - giving investors a complete overall picture of the trading day. To get to this page, select "Market Data" on the left side of the home page. (We did this previously when accessing the Stock Research Center).
The Bottom Line
Professional investment tools are typically out of reach of the individual investor, but by using the tools hosted by Yahoo! Finance, individuals can intelligently research and track securities.