The stock market can be a bumpy ride. Depending on what you’ve invested in, a stock’s progress is determined by general market trends, analyst commentary, time of year, related news or product announcements, the weather and more. And the better you’re on top of all of the above, the better you’ll fare. Apps can make it easy to get a grasp of the stock market, whether it's learning about how it works, getting advice on what options you're looking to select or seeing what the hot commodities are. Most of these tools are fairly cheap, but all of them will certainly go a long way toward helping you understand the market — and, ultimately, your investments — better.
Economy ($3.99; iOS, Android)
If you're looking for a quick but detailed view of the U.S. economy, this best-selling app is just what you need. Economyhas a number of neat features, including the most updated values for U.S. economic indicators (such as manufacturing, trade deficit and others); support by the U.S. Federal Reserve; up-to-date numbers; optional Twitter support (using the #economy hashtag); and the ability to download data for offline viewing. This app is a must for investors.
TheStreet.com Mobile App (Free; iOS, Android, Blackberry)
TheStreet.com offers a helpful mobile app that lets you access all of its resources in one place. This free app provides detailed quotes across a proprietary stock-ratings model, as well as up-to-date news on the market, opinions from market and ETF experts and the ability to look up your favorite stocks quickly. It also sports a very user-friendly menu system.
Today in Commodities ($3.99, iOS)
Today In Commodities is the top-rated commodities app in the Apple App Store. Even though it's a bit costly — and requires a Twitter account — this app is great when it comes to looking up such things as sources lists (with news related to your current commodities), a proprietary MarketPulse algorithm that keeps track of content source lists, and a tracker for the Gold, Silver, Oil and Volatility/Option markets, this app really has everything you need to keep tabs on the market.
E*Trade Mobile (Free; iOS, Android)
E*Trade is one of the most dependable trading advisers out there, so it makes sense for investors to have its app on hand. The app offers free independent research for stocks, ETFs and mutual funds, as well as landscape-mode charts and EMA/SMA technical indicators to give you an edge. From E*Trade Mobile, you can access your accounts, deposit checks, quickly transfer cash with most financial institutions and, most importantly, place trades via both touch-screen and voice-command options.
GainLoss Calculator ($1.99, iOS)
Tired of messing with a real calculator when you're trying to figure out what kind of a gain or loss you’ve seen from a given stock? Try the convenient GainLoss Calculator from Commercial Networks. This app is ideal for measuring percentages of investments, and allows you to view gross gain/loss, commissions and margin fees — all with bright green (gain) and orange (loss) screens. The software also calculates taxes — along with in, out and share values — all in an easy-to-read format.
Bloomberg (Free; iOS, Android, BlackBerry)
Yes, Bloomberg has a downloadable app — and it's great. Featuring financial news, portfolio-tracking tools and market data as only it can provide, the Bloomberg app also comes with access to Bloomberg Television Live, a dedicated network for global business, as well as audio interviews, updated market data and stories. You’ll also find a social tie-in with fellow Facebook and Twitter users. You will, however, need to be a Bloomberg Anywhere subscriber, which costs about $2,000 per month for a two-year contract.
Yahoo Finance (Free; iOS, Android)
One of the most recognized names in the game, Yahoo! Finance is the way to go if you want to learn everything about the stock market. Featuring customizable My Quotes, Daily Ticker Videos and real-time and afterhours data, this app is quite helpful. You can also compare currencies across different countries and options (including easily readable graphs and diagrams). And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Yahoo! Finance is free.
Fantasy Stock ($0.99, iOS, Android)
Working more as a simulator than a full-on stock app, Fantasy Stockwill help you get your feet wet in the market. The app lets you use "play money" to invest in stocks, including Apple and other companies, while learning about how opening and closing prices change. That way, you don't put your own finances at risk, and still get a handle on how everything works. Convenient, helpful and affordable, Fantasy Stock is a viable choice for financial newbies.
iTrade Stock Market Simulator (Free; iOS)
Like Fantasy Stock, iTrade Stock Market Simulator gives you the option to "try before you buy,” allowing you to use virtual funds on certain stocks without taking a real-life gamble. With a stock portfolio that can be expanded to up to 100K, research options, the ability to compete with friends and family through private leaderboards, and updated news and history graphs, you'll get a grasp of the market in no time. Plus, you can avoid brokerage fees this way.
Stock Watcher (Free; Android)
Android users are in for a treat with Stock Watcher, which is synched with Yahoo! Finance. With multiple widgets and portfolios to choose from, the ability to zoom in to Technical Analysis Charts and up-to-date details straight from the market (including financial news and Twitter feeds), this app is perfect for keeping track of your favorite stocks. We also love the Market Movers feature. Although the app is free, if you win big in the market, you could always make a donation to the developer within the app.