AOL DailyFinance Review

  • June 26, 2009

This was an article I published on the iPhone app review site that I am in the process of launching with some friends and figured I would cross-post it on InsideArbitrage for some light weekend reading, especially for investors who own an iPhone or are considering buying an iPhone.


The siren song that tempted me to switch from using a Blackberry (RIMM) to the iPhone was the native Stocks application on the iPhone. The ability to rapidly scroll through the list of stocks to view quotes and charts was in itself worth the price of admission.

The Internet sun may appear to be setting on AOL, which posted a 20% decline in advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2009 and ranks fourth for financial websites after Yahoo Finance, The Wall Street Journal network and MSN Money. However the DailyFinance app developed by AOL Money & Finance is a brilliant time saving app that is my chosen partner for breakfast every morning. In about 5 minutes it helps me quickly get a read for not only the market but the dozens of stocks I track everyday.

Before switching to the DailyFinance app, I used the native Stocks application for almost two years and then tried out the Bloomberg application for a few weeks. Neither app can hold a candle to the DailyFinance app.

My key frustration with the native iPhone Stocks app was its inability to show news related to the stock I was looking at. The little Yahoo! icon at the bottom left of the app would simply do a web search for the name of the stock and display a bunch of non-finance related results. So if Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIMM) jumped up by 20%, I would have no idea why unless I looked elsewhere for that information.


RIMM Chart AOL Daily Finance App

In contrast tapping on a stock from the DailyFinance app opens up a screen that displays real time quotes during trading hours and extended hour quotes after the close of the regular session. Income investors would be happy to see dividend and yield information at their fingertips. There are two additional tabs that display news and charts. Oddly enough these two tabs and the dividend information will only show up in portrait mode. Not only does the chart display volume information at the bottom, it also shows the gains in percentage for the time period you select. For example in the screenshot to the right, I am looking at a year-to-date chart of RIMM and it shows that RIMM gained 71.51% since the start of this year despite strong iPhone sales and a very favorable launch for the Palm Pre (PALM) but over a 1 year period the stock has lost 51.35%.

Version 1.2 of the DailyFinance app solved a couple of issues I had with the app. The app used to open by default to the markets section and it took a couple of clicks to get to my Watchlist. The new version is supposed to let you set a default screen to open to but I am yet to find this setting. I am just happy that it opens to the last section I was viewing before quitting the app.

The second issue the latest version solved was the ability to reorder your Watchlist so that you are not restricted to viewing stocks in the order you entered them. As you can see from some of the screenshots below, I have grouped the apartment REITs AvalonBay (AVB), AIMCO (AIV) and Essex Property Trust (ESS) together as well as software-as-a-service (SAAS in industry parlance) providers like NetSuite (N), (CRM), Rightnow Technologies (RNOW) and SuccessFactors (SFSF) together.

AOLDailyFinanceWatchlist AOL DailyFinance Watchlist Edit

The Markets section of the app allows you to stay on top of domestic markets, bonds (10 year treasury note), international markets, currencies (limited to Euro and Yen right now) and commodities (Oil and Gold) from a single page. It would have been cool if the app allowed users to update this section to view commodities of their choice (at this time corn futures interest me more than oil) and also view additional international markets.

AOL DailyFinance Markets

The news section is organized by sector and the movers section allows you to view most active stocks as well as the top gainers/losers of the day. A few things the DailyFinance team could do to improve the app are,

  1. Allow users to share Watchlists with other investors by email.
  2. When adding a stock to the Watchlist or looking up the quote for a stock, automatically bring up the keyboard like the native iPhone Stock app does instead of making users go through the additional step of clicking on the search box to bring up the keyboard.
  3. Allow users to customize the Markets section to suit their preferences.
  4. Let me track multiple watchlists without having to sign on to AOL to create portfolios.

I was about to add “allow users to view charts in landscape mode” to the list when I discovered that the feature already exists and exudes “cool” as you can see below. A well deserved 5 star rating.

Additional Information:

Version Reviewed: 1.2

Release Date: April 17, 2009

Cost: Free