Let Websites Read Stock Charts for You - dummies

Let Websites Read Stock Charts for You

By Matt Krantz

There’s no shortage of websites that promise to help you read the message of the markets buried inside stock charts. If you’d rather have the computer help you find stock price patterns, consider using these sites:

  • StockCharts.com: Here you can find a stock chart for just about anything you can imagine. In addition to long-term stock charts of stocks and indexes, you can customize charts to your taste, including creating simple line or bar charts.

    StockCharts.com lets you display charts that plot stock prices in such a way that it makes significant stock moves easier to spot. You also find a feature that lets you compare different securities to one another. And StockCharts.com offers other types of charts that show you how stocks inside specific indexes are doing. StockCharts.com charges for some portions of the site but also provides free advanced charting tools.

  • NASDAQ.com’sStockConsultant: This NASDAQ feature does much of the chart-reading work for you and boils down its findings into easy-to-understand conclusions. Just enter the symbol of the stock you’re analyzing into the white symbol blank at the top of the screen and click the Info Quotes button.

    On the new page that appears, click the StockConsultant link located in the middle of the screen. You can scroll through the report that pops up to get all the nitty-gritty technical details.

    If all this chart-reading stuff is too confusing, StockConsultant can help. At the top of the StockConsultant report, you can see the site’s bottom-line rating, from bearish to bullish. The site also measures your potential upside and downside.

  • FreeStockCharts.com: While some free stock chart tools have been scaling back over time, this one keeps boosting its features. FreeStockCharts.com uses advanced Internet technology that lets the site load screens quickly as well as letting you customize the data it displays. The site also provides free real-time quotes for not just stocks, but also market indexes and currencies.

    You can also create charts and share them with other users or notify the world about what you see over Twitter. Another nice feature is the capability to download the year-end prices of investments, which is handy for calculating long-term performance statistics. (You can buy a gold version for $30, which eliminates the large ad on the right side of the page.)

  • Wall Street Analyzer: This site is worth a look, if only because it’s free — unusual for a site offering technical analysis software that you download to your computer. The software plots stock charts and lets you look for patterns.

  • AnalyzerXL: This site allows you to download stock-trading information into Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet software. AnalyzerXL’s basic software (used for downloading historical data) costs $50, and the more advanced software (the one you can use to test your trading strategies and spot trends) costs $250.

  • QuoteLinks.com: The folks at QuoteLinks sell a variety of software programs designed to help you spot trends in stock charts. Some software programs do everything from plotting stock charts to letting you view various technical indicators. Most of the software ranges in price from $40 to $300.

  • YCharts: Here’s a website that’s attempting the unthinkable — blending charts with companies’ fundamentals. Rather than just plotting a stock’s price, YCharts plots key elements of companies’ performance, including profit and revenue. It’s an interesting way to blend chart reading with in-depth company research.

  • StockFetcher: This site uses advanced computer graphics techniques to help you quickly find stocks with desirable trading patterns. Visitors can see limited lists of stocks that meet certain trading criteria, such as those hitting a new 52-week high, crossing above or below moving averages, or gaining or falling for several straight days. Most of the site’s features, though, require a subscription that costs $9 a month.