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Technology Update

iPad tool provides stock research

Jan 20, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Davis Janowski

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(Chaikin Analytics LLC)

Many financial advisers have asked me about my favorite iPad applications.

First, advisers are interested in the fun or exotic. Then we briefly shift to office productivity apps. But quickly, the subject changes to core work-related apps.

That is where Chaikin Analytics for iPad (chaikinanalytics.com), including the new Mini, comes in. Not only is this equities analysis workstation a solid tool, it provides advisers with justification for toting an iPad not just for the daily commute or while traveling but for bread-and-butter stock portfolio analysis.

The tool is a fun, extremely informative stock research app.

The tool builds on work done for investor products (for example, in Chaikin Portfolio Health Check and Chaikin for iPhone) and elevates it into something just as handy yet with additional detail and context intended for a professional audience.

This app will appeal equally to institutional asset managers, wealth managers and the jack-of-all-trades registered investment adviser — anyone consumed with stocks, really — who want agnostic, objective analysis. The underlying data are provided by Zacks Investment Research.

The elegantly designed and simple-to-navigate interface belies the app's underlying complexity. In other words, advisers should head to the company's website if they want the academic underpinnings and methodology.

What they will find with the app are quick, clean, easy-to-follow charts for 5,000 stocks that are updated daily.

The pumping online heart of the app is the 20-factor Chaikin Power Gauge Rating, an invention of founder Marc Chaikin.

Its underlying methodology has been back-tested but, perhaps more importantly, can help a stock researcher spot potential moves in an equity that may be months away, thanks to the app's proprietary real-time fundamental and technical analytics.

Formally introduced Jan. 15, the app has been in production use for several weeks by 70 users, including 40 paying customers, according to Mr. Chaikin.

Among the app's other features are proprietary technical indicators and six pairs of buy-sell alerts that could serve as trading signals.

There are four ways of grouping stocks, as well, based on Power Gauge Rating, industry grouping, buy-side pricing and real-time buy/sell alerts.

For those not in the know, the Power Gauge follows a simple color scheme whereby red indicates a stock is in bearish territory, versus green for bullish.

Users can also, with the swipe of a finger, easily bring up potential bullish swaps with similar characteristics — industry group, for example — that can be added to offset bears currently held.

CHANGING ORIENTATION

Detail of the Chaikins Analytics for iPad page on Comcast. Check out Chaikin's website for more details regarding what the various charts and heat maps are telling you --- it is a lot for one screen, with plenty of underlying context.
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Detail of the Chaikins Analytics for iPad page on Comcast. Check out Chaikin's website for more details regarding what the various charts and heat maps are telling you --- it is a lot for one screen, with plenty of underlying context. (Chaikin Analytics LLC)

Another interesting feature is that if, after viewing the page, chart and gauges for a particular stock, users want more information, they simply can change the orientation of their iPad. Flipping from landscape to portrait automatically opens a four-page Market Insights report in PDF format.

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds will be added to the app in the future, though there is no announced time frame as yet. Also, while the app can be viewed only on the iPad itself for now, its information — with the next release in a month — will be viewable via the Chaikin website.

Mr. Chaikin demonstrated the tool, which he said he came out of retirement to design.

“I knew from the outset that it would be a special device, and I also knew I did not want to create a me-too application,” he said while taking me through the results.

IPHONE APP

The S&P 500, list of stocks alphabetically with the Chaikin Power Rating far left.
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The S&P 500, list of stocks alphabetically with the Chaikin Power Rating far left. (Chaikin Analytics LLC)

In point of fact, the iPad app has a bit of a pedigree following on the heels of Chaikin's popular iPhone app, which has more than 40,000 downloads.

Mr. Chaikin worked for 40 years on Wall Street, where he started as a stockbroker in the 1960s. In the 1980s, he was a managing partner at Bomar Securities LLP, which built one of the earliest technical-analysis programs for the Windows operating system. Bomar was sold to Instinet Corp.

Although among my growing backlog of apps for review is one from Morningstar Inc. that I expect will be a comparable product, at least in some ways, what I can say about the Chaikin offering is that it is a slick, impressive, easy-to-use tool that custodians and broker-dealers should consider. If they don't use it for integrating with their iPad offerings, they at least can put it to work improving their own offerings.

The tool is available free for download on Apple's iTunes App Store, but to open and activate the app requires a subscription, which costs $150 a month or $1,500 for an annual license.

In terms of looks, utility and objectivity, the app ranks up there with the free Absolute Return Mixer app for iPad from Brinker Capital (InvestmentNews, March 30).

For more information visit Chaikin Analytics online.

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