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InvestmentNews takes advisers through the developments and innovations in technology that’ll change the way you do business today—and tomorrow.

YCharts: Bloomberg for the rest of us?

A data service providing real time market info -- at a fraction of the cost of that more-famous terminal

Jul 17, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

By Davis Janowski

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When it comes to getting real-time or near-real-time stock or other equity data there are two ends of the spectrum.

At one end are free services, the best known and most-used of which is Yahoo! Finance and then at the other is having a Bloomberg Terminal or a terminal from one of its many competitors such as Reuters or Factset among many others.

There are not that many such services somewhere in the middle.

Enter YCharts.

YChart's buzz phrase is “The Financial Terminal of the Web”.

“We provide 90% of the functionality of the other financial data terminals available but at just 10% of the price,” said Shawn Carpenter, co-founder and chief executive of

Mr. Carpenter had years of experience in investment banking and financial services and most recently had spent a couple years at Google prior to starting YCharts in 2009.

It was at Google he said where he really began to see the potential of data visualization technology and analysis.

In other words taking macro-level data, search query trends and other data and correlating it all to see patterns in what people wanted and creating better formats for conveying it.

“We took that concept and matched it to the financial markets,” he said, to come up with YCharts.

Two big-name firms, one large in investment technology and another with a big footprint in scientific publishing have bought stakes in the firm since 2010 (I have not had a chance to verify the names, otherwise I would list them here). The site is also closing in on having 1,000,000 users (which includes its free limited plan, Gold plan and Platinum subscribers).

A lot of YChart's underlying technology is open source while its parsing algorithms are proprietary and built in-house.

“We pull from hundreds of sources directly and license from others including our work with Morningstar,” said Mr. Carpenter.

Aside from being less expensive than terminal solutions the folks at YCharts tout the system's simplicity noting that those embarking on use of a terminal product often have a fairly steep learning curve.

By comparison, YCharts is fairly intuitive and straightforward for those with a fairly broad understanding of the financial markets.

The online application and service allows users to screen on 3,000 metrics per company. And there are over 16,000 different equities within the YCharts database. Simply enter a ticker symbol, keyword, or company name. All the major indices and lots of types of public economic data can be set as filters or comparisons.

It is very easy to generate charts in YCharts, charts that are interactive and with over 16,000 equities to choose from and 3,000 points of data per company.
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It is very easy to generate charts in YCharts, charts that are interactive and with over 16,000 equities to choose from and 3,000 points of data per company. (YCharts)

Another aspect that is simple is in coming up with lists of stocks that meets your particular needs and the ability to simply eliminate those you are not interested in or removed from your results.

On the main search page are tabs for “Quote”, “Fundamentals Chart”, ”Technical Chart”, “Data”, “Pro Ratings”, “Key Stats”, “Analyst Estimates”, “Performance”, “Valuation”, “News”, “Dashboard” and “Financials”.

A user can add up to 12 different items to a single chart (whether 12 companies, 12 metrcis, or a few companies and different metrics, etc.).

And the site has certain historical data dating back more than a century, for example yearly gold prices dating back to the early 1800s.

The pricing for YCharts is pretty simple, the Professional membership is $199 per month per user and an annual subscription currently gets you a 10% discount.

Pro is the version most advisers will probably want though there is a more limited “Advanced” membership for $49 per user per month but it provides only around 100 advanced stock metrics (compared to 3,000 described above), only 25MB of data export (compared to 500MB), the ability to save only 100 charts and 100 “Pro stock” report PDFs (compared to 500 each).

The Pro version also provides access to the YCharts data export center and download of an Excel add-in that allows an adviser to have all of Excels features at his or her disposal for additional analysis or calculations. And there is dedicated customer support with the Pro package as well.

In an upcoming post I will compare a few other somewhat similar or at least partially overlapping products that I have taken a look at including Chaikin Analytics for iPad, and IDC's Market-Q Mobile among others.

For more information visit YCharts.com online.

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