Google Finance Portfolios

Let's face it: trading stocks is a complicated business.  It would be a huge help if you had a place where you could easily manage and keep track of your financial assets, including adding new stocks and quickly comparing how they're performing on the markets.  Fortunately, Google Finance is here to help!  Its "Portfolios" section lets you build your very own virtual stock portfolio in order to keep track of your transactions related to investing your money in shares of publicly-traded companies.

Note that any transactions that you make in your Google Finance portfolio don't actually happen; your portfolio is just a tool to help you record and manage the purchases, sales, deposits, and withdrawals that you make in real life.  This means that when you use a Google Finance portfolio, your actual money is safe and isn't going anywhere!

Also note that to use Google Finance portfolios, you will need to create a Google Account.    An easy way to create one is to sign up for Gmail, which is Google's email service.  This doesn't mean that you have to use Gmail as your email client now, but if you feel like doing so, then you sure can!

See our How to Create a Gmail Account tutorial to learn how to sign up for Gmail.

How to create a Google Finance portfolio

  1. Go to www.google.com/finance in your web browser and click Sign In at the top-right corner.

  2. If you have multiple Google Accounts, click on one to select it.  Then type in your password and click Sign In.

  3. Once you are signed into your Google Account, click Portfolios in the left-hand menu.

  4. You will have one portfolio, called "My Portfolio", created by default.  To create a separate portfolio, click Create New Portfolio in the top-right corner, type in a name for your portfolio, and then click OK.

How to add a cash transaction to your portfolio

(NOTE: Just a reminder that these transactions are just to help you track cash moving into and out of your financial portfolio in real life.  You won't actually be moving your money around with your Google Finance portfolio, so it's safe!)

  1. Beside where it says "Cash", click Deposit if you are adding money to your portfolio, or click Withdraw if you are taking money out of your portfolio.

  2. Click in each of the boxes that appears and type in the date of the transaction (you can use the little calendar graphic that pops up to click on a date), the amount that the transaction is for (just input the numbers, not any currency signs), and any other information you want to add about the transaction (like where you got the money from or where it's going to go).  Then click Add to Portfolio.

You will notice that the "Cash" section of your portfolio will change to reflect the transaction that you just entered.


 

How to add a stock or stock transaction to your portfolio

(NOTE: Again, adding purchases and sales of stocks in your Google Finance portfolio just helps you remember that you did them in real life.  These transactions won't actually happen, so your money and finances are safe!)

  1. Click in the box marked "Add Symbol" and type in the name or stock market symbol of the company that you want to add to your portfolio.  As you type, Google Finance will come up with suggestions as to what you might be looking for.  Click one to automatically paste it into the box, and then click Add to Portfolio.

  2. You can also add a company to your portfolio by visiting its information page, clicking on Add to Portfolio, selecting which portfolio you want to add it to, and then clicking the Add to Portfolio button.  (It's similar to the process in the step above.)

  3. When adding a company to your portfolio, you can also add details regarding a transaction you made with that company's stocks.  Follow step 1 in this section, but before clicking Add to Portfolio, click Add Transaction Data.

    Here, you can select the type of transaction, the date it took place, how many shares were involved, and the price of those shares.  If you want, you can also note any commission you had to pay on the transaction, and any other notes you want to add.  You can also choose whether or not to have the sum of the transaction added or deducted from the cash currently in your portfolio (depending on whether you're selling or buying).  When you're done, now you can click Add to Portfolio.

Other portfolio functions

  1. To create a chart that compares the performance of one or more stocks in your portfolio, click the check boxes beside each of them and then click Compare.  In the same manner, click these check boxes and click Delete to remove these stocks from your portfolio.

  2. Click the headings in the top-left corner to switch between different views of your portfolio; Transactions is probably the most useful one, as it shows you a record of all transactions that have been made in this portfolio.  Click the parameter headings to sort the stocks in your portfolio by that parameter, either in ascending order ("up" arrow) or descending order ("down" arrow).

  3. You can also click Edit Transactions if you need to make any changes to a transaction that you've previously made to this portfolio.  Then simply click on the area of the transaction that you want to change, and then select or type in the new information.

     

    You can also click the check boxes under "Cash-Linked" if you want a transaction to directly affect the cash assets in your portfolio, or click "Delete" if you want to delete the transaction.  When you're done, click Save Changes.

  4. You can also download your portfolio as a spreadsheet, so you can take it anywhere that a computer (storage device) will go, without needing to connect to the Internet.  Simply click Download to Spreadsheet, and follow the save prompt (i.e. click the button beside "Save File", click OK, and then — if applicable — use your computer's file explorer to select the location that you want to save the file, and click Save).

That's a brief overview of how to use Google Finance portfolios!


Google Finance Domestic Trends

A unique feature of Google Finance is its "Domestic Trends" function.  This lets you see how often keywords related to certain business sectors are searched for on Google's famous search engine, Google Search.  From there, you can compare the search volume of those keywords with the market performance of companies in that business sector.  Who knows… you might see a pattern that will give you a hint about where (not) to invest your money next!

To view Google Finance's Domestic Trends, first go to www.google.com/finance in your web browser.  Then, click Google Domestic Trends, and then choose a business sector that you want to see trends for from the list underneath.  Let's click Furniture as an example.

How to read Google Finance Domestic Trends

Google Finance Domestic Trends shows you the relative search volume of keywords that have to do with a particular business sector on Google Search.  So, for our "Furniture" example, Domestic Trends shows you the relative number of times people have used Google Search to look for words like "furniture", "chair", "clock", "carpet", "IKEA" (a major furniture company), and so on.

(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.)

We say "relative" because Google Finance measures the search volume of those keywords against everything else that is searched for on Google Search.  This means that a rise or drop in the relative search volume of a particular sector doesn't necessarily mean that that sector is being searched for any more or any less than it currently is.  It simply means that its searches make up a larger or smaller proportion of everything that everyone is looking for on Google Search.  Also note that all of the statistics on Google Finance Domestic Trends are only for searches on Google Search that originate in the United States.

Anyway, all relative search volumes start at a value of 1, beginning on January 1st, 2004, and fluctuate from there.  So, in the example screenshot above, we can see that the relative search volume of the furniture industry has overall been steadily decreasing.  However, if we look closer, we can see that it bottoms out at around 2010, and then seems to pick back up a little.  Let's investigate this.

In the top-left corner of the graph, you can click the links beside "Zoom" to see relative search volumes for the past year, the past five years, the past 10 years, and at every point in time since January 1st, 2004, respectively.

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.

So, if we change the timeline to view the relative search volume of the furniture industry from its low point in 2010 until now, we can see that it has actually rebounded a little bit. 

What does that mean in terms of how the furniture industry is doing?  One way to find out is to directly compare the relative search volume of the industry to the market performance of some of the major companies in the industry.

How to compare Google Finance Domestic Trends to market performance

To compare a company's market performance to an industry's relative search volume, 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.  Let's try adding La-Z-Boy Furniture.

Now, from this 5-year period graph, we can see that the low point in relative search volume on Google Search for the furniture industry (represented by the blue line) matches with a drop in performance for La-Z-Boy's stocks (represented by the red line).  Similarly, as search traffic has picked back up for furniture, La-Z-Boy's market performance has recovered as well.

Let's try this once more by adding Pier 1 Imports.  Again, we can see a similar pattern with the yellow line in this 10-year graph: sinking market performance bottoming out around 2009-2010, and then, as relative search volume for furniture on Google Search picks up, so has the stock value of Pier 1 Imports (though it noticeably has trailed off within the past two years or so).

Beside the "Compare" box, you can also click the check boxes to compare relative industry sector search volumes to common business indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poor 500, and the Nasdaq Composite.  You can also click to uncheck boxes if you don't want to compare these indexes or the performance of certain companies against relative search volumes.

How to share Google Finance Domestic Trends

You can click Download to Spreadsheet in the lower-left corner of the graph to save the relative search volume of an industry over time as a spreadsheet of comma-separated values.

You can also click Link to This View to produce a web address for the current view of the graph that you're looking at.  From there, you can right-click and click Copy to copy the web address, and then click Paste to share the address with someone through an email, instant message, social media, or wherever!

 

And that's just about everything there is to using Google Finance Domestic Trends!


Google Finance Stock Quotes

Looking for stock quotes on Google Finance?  Looking for quotes on stocks in a certain country or business sector, or being traded on a specific market?  Google Finance's stock screener will let you search for stocks based on these criteria and more, such as a company's market cap, year-to-date performance, or stock price.  You can organize the stock quotes that you find based on these criteria, too, in order to do quick comparisons and see who's on top of the financial world at the moment!

How to find Google Finance stock quotes

  1. Go to www.google.com/finance in your web browser.

  2. Click Stock Screener in the menu on the left.

  3. The first step is to set the general criteria for the stock quotes that you want to see. 

    Click any of the four drop-down menus across the top to select:

    – The country where the stocks are for sale
    – The market on which the stocks are being sold (or select All Markets)
    – What business sector the company selling the stocks is in (or select All Sectors)
    – What currency any monetary values will be listed in

  4. Next, you will have to set the specific criteria for the stock quotes that you want to look for.

    The four default criteria are:

    Market Cap: the total value of the company on the stock market
    Price/Earnings Ratio: the value of an individual stock relative to the company's total worth
    Dividend Yield: How much a company pays its shareholders relative to its stock price
    52-Week Price Change: How much a company's stock price rose or fell over the past year

    HINT: Clicking the question mark buttons () will tell you more about what each criterion is.

    You can screen for stock quotes by clicking and holding the mouse on the handles () on the "Company Distribution" graph for each criterion, dragging them to a certain point, and then releasing the mouse button.  You can also simply click in the boxes at either end of each graph, and input a minimum value (on the left) and/or a maximum value (on the right).  If you want to eliminate a criterion, click the "X" beside it.

  5. If you want to add extra criteria to your search, you can click Add Criteria.  This will open a menu with categories of criteria; simply click a category, then click a criterion within that category, and then click the Add Criteria button.   Or, if you want to reset all changes to your criteria (including values changed and criteria added or removed), click Reset.

  6. At the bottom of the screen is where you will see the stock quotes that the screener found for you, based on the parameters you have entered (they will change more or less immediately in response to any change in those parameters).  Click on a company's name or trading symbol to take you to a page with more information about that company, including a more detailed stock quote.

  7. If you click on one of the blue parameters highlighted at the top of the results chart, you can sort the stock quotes that you found by the values of that parameter.  Clicking once displays a small "down" arrow beside the parameter, and sorts your stock quotes from high to low.  Clicking the same parameter again will change the arrow to an "up" arrow, and sort stock quotes from low to high.  Clicking it a third time will go back to sorting stock quotes by alphabetical order of the companies.

  8. Finally, you can click on the buttons at the bottom-right corner of the search table to choose how many stock quotes you want to see per page, or to go to the first, previous, next, or last page of stock quotes.

That's a quick lesson on how to find stock quotes on Google Finance by using the stock screener!


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!