Programs such as Excel, Access, etc. how become incredibly powerful and can be powerful tools in the hands of the individual investor. I’ll share my experience with a program I developed in Excel that has become invaluable for me. This is not used for day trading but to find long term value under any market conditions by focusing on company fundamentals.
There is an abundance of free information contained across various websites. The problem is gathering and downloading the information in one place then analyzing the data to make an educated decision. Excel allows this without any third party add-ins. There are some very good add-ins out there such as the SMF add-in but the problem with a third party add-in is if you work on another computer the add-in must be installed on that computer and in the same location as the original computer to work without any modifications.
There is a learning curve. It takes some basic knowledge of macros. That said every problem I’ve run into I’ve found solutions by searching the internet. The biggest headache comes when a website changes their design, format, etc. then you have to adjust your macros to avoid errors. The good news is this doesn’t happen very often with the bigger sites like Yahoo, Nasdaq and others and when it does it’s usually a simple fix to correct it. There is always the possibility they will change the site in a way that will not allow Excel to download the data.
Here is a basic video of some features I use Excel to perform.
The video is a few years old and there have been many updates since but you get the idea. If you just don’t want to get into macros/VBA you could use the SMF add-in to get similar results but there is also a learning curve. More information on the SMF add-in developed by Randy Harmelink can be found here. The beauty of this is you can design something that fits your views but it does take a little time. It’s time well spent learning some programing skills and you don’t have to become an expert or even close to it. If this is not for you the other option is to learn how to incorporate the SMF add-in which is freely available from Randy’s site.
A recent summary of stocks I have in this template can be found here. This list is usually updated several times a week. Some other applications I use Excel for is group insider transactions and market valuation. Developing your own application is only limited by your imagination and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Tools that truly empower the individual investor and cost little if you invest the time to build and test your own, not to mention the time saved by automating the tedious work.