The homepage. It's located at http://finance.yahoo.com. The first thing you see is the time and date (Eastern Time, of course), as well as the status of the financial markets (Open or Closed, Holiday, etc). Secondly, you see 6 major indices (Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500, etc; and it�s linked to more detailed info) along with its gain/loss, its current value, and the percentage change, if any. Next thing you see is the quote search tool, which is (quite honestly) the thing I used most on this site.
For real-time quotes, you can get them through any online broker (for a fee or for free), and one other place, http://www.realtimequotes.com; although I think they might have been bought out, it should still be free. But here's the rest of the goodies that you get when you look up Microsoft (or any other company, for that matter):
Yahoo provides all the press releases and online news that it can find on the company, and it is sorted by date. For instance, Microsoft has 53 news articles listed under its name on Friday (June 30), which are directly related or indirectly related to Microsoft. For instance, some article may only mention Microsoft�s ticker symbol as it relates to the Nasdaq or the software industry. I believe it keeps the links of the articles in its databases for a little less than a month, before it purges them from the system.
This takes you to the Yahoo Finance Message Board on Microsoft, and it will show you the post number, the subject, the author of the post, and the time and date of the post. This is a great tool, and I will expound a little more on it in a later review. But to summarize its benefit, you may have people who are trading this stock heavily, and you may hear the latest, breaking news here first.
One of my favorite things, the profile summarizes the nature of the company, its industry, etc. It also lists contact information, websites, the various indexes it belongs to, ownership information, as well as its top officers. Lastly (and most important), it shows all the key financial ratios, as well as stock related information. An example is that it tells you how many shares of Microsoft are being shorted, as well as the beta (helps determine the level of risk) of the stock, and it even shows the profit margin for that quarter. What great information that is all in one place.
This section details the number of brokers who are rating the stock (like epinions) as Strong Buy, Moderate Buy, Buy, Moderate Sell, Strong Sell. It tells the changes (from the week before) of average broker recommendations, as well as the expected Earnings per Share (EPS) for current and future quarters. In addition to detailed Earnings Growth and Earnings History information, a big plus is that it lists and links you to analysts� research abstracts. These will tell you things like expected future stock value, their rationale for buying / selling, etc. A big plus, I think, because I have a hard time tracking this information down on other free financial websites.
To summarize this, it is simply telling you which �Insiders� have been showing trading activity in the past year. Insiders are board members, officers, large institutional shareholders, large shareholders, etc. So if you see significant insider activity, it may indicate that there is something big happening in the future and that you may want to investigate into it. This section is a bonus, anyway, and it is interesting to see (for example) the movements of Bill Gates.
This section is brand new. It lists detailed information on the options on the market for various months and years, and if you are trading options, it can be very beneficial to you. It is not important to me, because I have not traded options in the past. But it gives you all the information associated with both the call and put options; the strike price, last trade price, the change in value, the bid and ask prices, and the volume.
It all sounds very good, is there a downside?
Quite honestly, I like Yahoo Finance because it gives me all the information I need at my fingertips. The only qualms I have about it is that its layout is not always the most intuitive. Compared to the Altavista Money website, for instance, it does not show you all the information you need on the same page. Altavista tries to personalize all your information onto your homepage; Yahoo does not (by default). There is http://my.yahoo.com, of course, but it is a more general customization. Also, Yahoo allows you to customize your finance page, but it is not as easy (in my opinion). Although the site allows you to search for stocks, it does not give you the option to just search, period. So I have to go back to yahoo.com.
Yahoo is my one-stop source
I love Yahoo Finance. If I didn�t, I probably would not write about it. I feel that it gives me so much more information in one place than if I had gone site to site trying to find each piece separately. Yahoo Finance is a good source to supplement that information. I would recommend this for traders of all trading types (short, medium, and long-term investors).