I hadn’t realized how dependent I’ve become over the past ten years on the Google Finance page. Google Finance’s debut coincided closely with my retirement from my job as a global equity portfolio manager. I found that GF met enough of my personal money management needs that I didn’t miss my $26,000/year Bloomberg terminal much at all. (The ability to see a company income statement dissected in a way that revealed major customers and suppliers–and their relative importance–came to
Bloomberg later. Assuming it’s still there, that’s a really useful feature for a securities analyst.)
What I liked about the old GF:
–everything was on one page, so I could take in a lot of information at a single glance
–it contained information about stocks, bonds and currencies, so I could see the main variables affecting my investment performance grouped together
–there was a sector breakout of that day’s equity performance on Wall Street
–I could add new stocks to a portfolio list easily, and thereby be able to see what was going up/down for a large group of stocks I was interested in
–I could compare several stocks/indices on a single chart, and vary the contents of that chart–and its timeframe–easily.
The charts themselves were not so hot. But I could either live with that or use Yahoo Finance. (I have a love/hate relationship with charts, in any event. My issue is that stretching the price and/or time axes can change a bump in the road into a crisis and vice versa.)
The new Google Finance?
–All of the stuff on my “likes” list has disappeared.
–The Dow Jones Industrials–a wacky, irrelevant index whose main positive point is that it’s easy to calculate–features prominently in coverage of the US.
–The Sensex has been consistently listed as a top-five world index, even though India is an insiders market that’s extremely difficult for foreigners to access. Same for Germany, where there’s no equity culture and little of the economy is publicly listed. No mention of Hong Kong or Shanghai or Japan or (most days) the UK. Yes, the UK economy is smaller than Germany’s. But London’s significance comes from its being the listing hub for many European-based multinationals.
My conclusion: the new page has been put together by people who, whatever their tech smarts, have no clue at all about what an investor needs/wants. Its overall tone seems to be to provide information that an investor will like to hear, based on browsing history. Put a different way, the new page strives to turn users into the prototypical “dumb money.” Actually, now that I’ve come to this realization, maybe the new page isn’t so counterproductive after all. Just don’t use it.