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The Windows 8.1 Bing Finance App

The Windows 8.1 Bing Finance app doesn’t have any glaring usability problems. Well, okay, you can’t pinch to make the text look bigger. It’s heavy on the U.S. stock exchanges and very light outside the United States. But other than that, Bing Finance is reasonably usable, and it can even pin stock market quotes to your Start screen.

Here’s a quick run-through:

  1. On the Start screen, tap or click the Finance tile.

    Like the Bing News app, the Bing Finance app opens with a gorgeous, high-definition photo.

    On the right, take a minute to go through the Take a Tour option. When you’re done, click or tap Close.

    If the markets are open, you may also see the major U.S. index ticker at the bottom of the picture.

    image0.jpg
  2. Right-click or swipe from the bottom.

    Bing Finance shows you a navigation bar that’s more than a little bit like the Metro Bing News bar. As with Metro News, you can tap on a source (the Wall Street Journal and so on) and see a list of the latest filed reports from that source.

    image1.jpg
  3. Back on the main Bing Finance screen, tap or click the lead story or one of the other stories.

    You see a presentation identical to the one in the Bing News app.

    Pages can’t be pinched to resize the text, but you can swipe to move pages. Unlike the Metro Bing News app, the Finance app pulls in stories from many top-notch sources.

  4. Tap or click the left arrow next to the story headline and go back to the main screen. Scroll to the right.

    • Depending on your location and time of day, you may see a very capable, interactive graph of the major U.S. indices: DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ, and Russell 2000, with Day/Month/Week/Year tiles on the bottom. Tapping or hovering your mouse on a specific date or time brings up the index value, in blue, on the left.

    • News: Shows just what it says — more news stories.

    • More News From: Like the Metro Bing News Sources list, you can tap on a source (Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, Kiplinger, and so on) and see the latest news stories from that source.

      Of course, the Wall Street Journal has a paywall: You’re allowed to view a few articles every month and then you’re expected to pay. WSJ is notorious for its paywall, and the Metro Bing Business app won’t give you a magic key.

    • Money: A collection of rather typical investment magazine style stories.

    • Exchange and market rates: Currencies, Commodities, consumer borrowing and savings rates. Click or tap on any of the boxes and you see more detailed quotes.

    • Tools: Mortgage calculator, auto payment amortization, currency converter, retirement planner, and so on.

    • Ads: Golly, if you want to buy something from Microsoft, this app gives you the perfect opportunity.

  5. Go back to the main Bing Finance screen, right-click it or swipe from the bottom. Then tap or click the Watchlist icon.

    The Watchlist includes stocks, funds, and commodities — basically anything with a symbol — that you want to watch. It includes the following:

    • A Watchlist of specific stocks.

    • Gainers, Losers, and Most Active: By default, these are based on the NASDAQ. If you want to see Gainers, Losers, and Most Active for NYSE or Amex, tap or click the Market Movers headline. If you tap or click an individual stock, Bing Finance brings up full charts and news for the stock.

    • Currencies, Commodities, Bonds, and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds): You start with a summary. For more details, tap or click the topic that interests you. For example, tapping or clicking Currencies brings up a conversion matrix for many major currencies and a currency converter. Tapping or clicking Bonds brings up a chart of U.S. debt yield curves.

    • Current nationwide average mortgage, savings, and credit card rates: Tap or click the Rates heading for auto loan rates, savings rates, and much more.

    • Fund Picks: Highlights the top U.S.-registered fund performers in several categories. Tap or click the Fund Picks link, and you can slice and dice U.S. funds a hundred ways.

  6. At the bottom of the list, tap or click the plus sign.

    Bing Finance prompts you to add a company name or stock symbol to the Watchlist.

  7. (Optional) Add a company name or stock symbol or just tap or click Close.

  8. Slide the tile down just a bit, until a check mark appears in the upper-right corner, or right-click one of the stocks on the Watchlist.

    The App bar appears on the bottom.

    image2.jpg
  9. (Optional) To pin a tile for the stock to the Start screen, which shows the current price of the stock, tap or click Pin in the bottom-left corner.

    The stock price appears on a (wide) Metro Start screen tile, and it’s updated throughout the day.

You can pin just about anything — an individual stock, an index, an exchange, exchange traded fund, or a fund list — to the Start screen using the same action.

Step quickly through the rest of Bing Finance app’s App bar. Swipe from the top or bottom or right-click an empty space inside the app, and you see:

  • Market shows a snapshot of the leading market indices in seven countries worldwide. An indicator shows whether the markets are open. Click one of the indices, and you get a rolling, detailed price list for the latest day, week, month, year, or five years.

    image3.jpg

    The Market tab also lists currency exchange rates, commodity prices, and best performing funds.

  • News shows an expanded news feed, which starts with a handful of news articles shown on the main page.

  • Money expands on the general-interest investment articles shown on the main page.

  • Videos is like a YouTube of financial clips, except not as focused. Lots of TV show clips.

  • Rates goes to the Rates section — mortgages, home equity, auto loans, money markets, CDs, credit cards.

  • Tools brings up the tools also listed at the right-most end of the main screen.

    image4.jpg
  • Best of Web takes you to a list of a hundred financial websites, not unlike the Sources page in Bing News. If you tap or click a site, your default browser opens at the site’s home page. It’s up to you to find your way back.

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