Portfolio trackers are a topic that hits investors where they live. Perhaps because that's where investors'
In this year's two online broker surveys, swarms of
readers kvelled and grumbled over their brokers' trackers, especially about how often they update. "I stopped using
for several reasons," wrote reader
, saying "My portfolio did not update in real time."
needs to have real-time account and portfolio updates," wrote
. The most important feature is real-time portfolio tracking and here
is the best, said another reader.
Just how important is it to have an immediate view of your holdings and account buying power? Is once a night OK? Or is real time the new minimum standard?
topic will look at real-time portfolio updating, along with related tracker issues. For example, are there other portfolio functions that are as or more important than real-time updating? Does your broker's tracker provide them? Or do you track your portfolio at a better, nonbroker site and is that a viable alternative?
We'll also talk about the trendy streaming quotes feature that's gaining traction this year. Streaming quotes are like real-time quotes, except you don't have to hit enter on your keyboard or refresh your screen -- the latest quotes stream right in.
, for example, offers streaming quotes to account holders and nonaccount holders (fewer quote-watch lists for the nonaccountees), while DLJdirect and
, a nonbroker
site, offer streaming for a fee. Others, like
, provide streaming to "power" customers.
So here's what I'd like us (that's me and you, the
readers) to tackle:
How important is real-time portfolio updating? Is it critical to you that your broker offers that feature? Can it be improved?
What other features are as or more important, and does your broker offer them? Do they work?
Do you keep your portfolio at a nonbroker site, and if so, why?
How valuable are streaming real-time quotes?
Finally, are there hidden downsides with real-time portfolio updates or streaming real-time quotes? Do they function as promised? Can they stand improvement?
Please write in to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name and the broker and/or other portfolio services you use. Also, please indicate what type of investor you consider yourself to be (buy and hold, active, day trader, etc.).
This week What Works tested the online stock screeners. Let us know what you think of our
share your views on stock-screening tools.
Also, see the favorite sites of
, chief options strategist at
Swiss American Securities
in the reader
mailbag on last week's
wireless trading report.