How To Use Google Finance

A world of financial information is at your fingertips!  To get started accessing it, go to www.google.com/finance in your web browser.

Main Screen

Market Summary

On the main page of Google Finance, the menu on the left is your main navigation tool for getting around the website.

  • Markets gets you back to the main page on Google Finance, with general information on market performances.

  • News takes you to a list of the most prominent financial stories of the day.  You can also filter what stories you get based on what stocks are in your Google Finance Portfolio (see below).

  • Portfolios allows you to create your own virtual stock collection, in order to manage your personal finance.  It doesn't actually allow you to trade stocks, though; it just allows you to keep track of any transactions that you make.  You will also need to have a Google Account in order to create and save your portfolios.  See our Google Finance Portfolios tutorial for instructions on how to create and manage portfolios on Google Finance.

  • Stock Screener allows you to input financial criteria as minimum and maximum values (such as stock price, company's net worth, average yearly performance, etc.), and then find and sort stocks that match those criteria.  See our Google Finance Stock Screener tutorial for more detailed instructions on how to use this tool.

  • Google Domestic Trends is a unique feature of Google Finance that lets you see information on how often key words or phrases related to certain market sectors are searched for on Google's famous search engine, Google Search.  The thought is that larger search numbers may hint at better market performance; however, as with most things in finance, it's only one factor, and hardly a guarantee.  See our Google Finance Domestic Trends tutorial for more information on how to read and use this tool.

To the right of the main menu of Google Finance, there is a quick primer on the most prominent financial news stories of the day, plus a graph of how the three leading market indexes in the United States -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor 500, and the Nasdaq Composite -- are predicting market trends.  Click on a story to see more information, click on the graph to see a chart comparing the three indexes, or click the name of one of the indexes to see data specifically about that index.

Top Stories

Below this is the "Top Stories" section, which is basically the same as the News section.  If you click Markets, it displays the most prevalent general finance stories.  If you click Portfolio Related, it displays finance stories that are related to companies in your Google Finance portfolio.  Click a story's name to view that article, or click More Market News for a longer list of stories.

International Markets and Currencies

On the right-hand side is information about the performance of international market indexes, currency values, and bond values.  Click an index or currency name to take you to a page with more specific information; currency pages will have additional information on what that currency is worth relevant to other common currencies.

Trends

Below the "Top Stories" section is the "Trends" section.  Here you can view a quick summary of the performance of certain companies. 

Click an option at the top to display quick information on:

  • Popular -- shows you major companies that have been searched for frequently on Google Search lately.

  • Price -- shows you major companies whose stock prices have significantly increased or decreased lately.

  • Market Cap -- shows you major companies whose overall values have significantly increased or decreased lately.

  • Volume -- shows you major companies whose stocks have been traded frequently lately.

Click on a company's name for more information.

Sector Summary

At the bottom is a section entitled "Sector Summary".  Here, you can see a summary of how certain industries have been performing lately, with the average percentages of companies in each industry that have seen their overall value increase or decrease.  Click on a sector to see a more detailed chart of its performance lately, including a list of companies in that sector and information about their recent market performances.

Financial Information Screen

Once you click on a company name, market index, or currency name, you'll see a chart like this one.

(NOTE: You will need to have Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer to see the interactive graph.  If you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed, or don't know if you do, see this help article to learn how to check for and install Adobe Flash Player.)

In the top-left corner of the graph, you can click the links beside "Zoom" to see stock prices and trading volume for that company for the last day, the last 5 days, the last month, the last 3 months, the last 6 months, the past year (to date), the past year, the past 5 years, the past 10 years, and at every point in time since the company started publicly trading.

You can also change the time frame manually by clicking and holding the mouse button down on one of the two handles at the edge of the timeline, dragging it to the time that you want to start or end viewing from, and releasing the mouse button.  You may do the same with the other one, if you wish.  Then, you can use the scroll bar at the bottom to view different points on the graph while staying within the same length of time.

To compare a company's market performance to an another, click in the box beside "Compare" in the top-left corner of the graph, type in the name of the company or its stock market handle (a list of suggestions will appear to help you out), select one, and then click Add.  You can also click the check boxes beside Add to instantly add or remove information on common indexes or related businesses for comparison.

The letters on the graph refer to news stories about that company, which may help explain its market activity.  Scroll through the menu on the right and click a story to view it.

You can scroll down on the page to see more information about the company, like a description, its website address, key stats, and so on.

 

That's a brief introduction of how to use Google Finance.  We'll be covering some of its other key features in our later tutorials, so stick with us!

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