Wednesday , 22 May 2024

The Best Free Investing Tools on the Web (+2K Views)

…You don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on investing8historical data providers to access useful financial data in the Internet age. There are plenty of really useful free websites out there that have historical market data, back-testing tools, risk statistics and scenario analysis capabilities. Here are a number of them that I have found helpful over the years:

The comments above & below are edited ([ ]) and abridged (…) excerpts from the original article by Ben Carlson (

NYU’s stock, bond & cash historical returns
…This site shows the annual returns for stocks (S&P 500), bonds (10-year treasuries) and cash (3-month T-bills) going all the way back to 1928. You can also download an excel file that contains historical interest rates, bond yields, and dividend yields. I use these numbers frequently.

Check out my Facebook wall. There’s a lot to “Like”!

Portfolio Visualizer
…[On] this site…there are probably 20-30 different asset classes and sub-asset classes you can back-test to the 1970s with historical returns, drawdowns, real (after-inflation) returns, and growth of your initial investment…[You can also] perform Monte Carlo simulations on withdrawal strategies, correlation matrixes between different assets, risk factor analysis and back-test real world portfolios using actual mutual funds and ETFs. That this website is available for free is pretty remarkable.

Robert Shiller’s online data
Shiller’s…famous CAPE spreadsheet has the monthly stock price, interest rate, earnings and dividend data going back to 1871…[plus] comprehensive real estate data on home prices going back well over 100 years.

Twitter is my go-to source for what’s going on in the world of finance and the markets along with under-the-radar research.  I’m constantly finding helpful research, graphs, data and analysis that I wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise.

…This site is a factor investing nerd’s dream, although the site does take some time to figure out how to use efficiently (at least in my experience). French updates his data regularly with historical returns on factors such as small-cap stocks, value stocks, quality stocks and momentum stocks going back to the 1920s. The site also has great data on sector and industry historical returns. All of the data is easily exportable to excel.

Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook
…This report is updated once a year with numbers on stocks, bonds, and inflation going back to 1900 for a number of different countries. It’s worth it to go through the entire report at least once.

MSCI provides the most comprehensive free source of historical market data on foreign stock markets…[with] performance numbers going back to 1970 for different countries, regions, and markets, both developed and emerging.

Abnormal Returns
[This site has] the best curated content each and every day on investing, personal finance, research and anything else in the world of finance. If you miss anything worth reading you can be sure it will be here.

Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED)
Econ geeks love this site because the Federal Reserve has data on almost anything related to economics you can think of. There’s also plenty of good market data on stocks, bonds, and interest rates as well and the site allows you to personalize the graphs and datasets.

…Morningstar has the best data on mutual funds and ETFs for performance purposes…[with] annual returns going back 10 years, and monthly and quarterly returns going back 5 years. They also provide after-tax returns and fund behavior gaps, which I find really useful for seeing what investors are actually earning in these funds. You can also find breakdowns of fund holdings, investment styles, geographic allocations and more.

Yahoo! Finance
I like Yahoo! Finance for daily historical data on stocks, interest rates, and indexes. They also have annual and quarterly performance numbers for mutual funds going back to inception, many of which give you decades of returns.

Portfolio Charts
This is another great asset allocation back-testing tool that allows you to see how a number of different well-known portfolios have performed over the years. This site has the best visuals of any I’ve played around with. You can also stress-test a large number of asset classes and strategies.

And here are a few more I’ve used over the years:

[Comment in the section below] if there are any that have been missed and they’ll be forward to Ben].

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