9.6.17 Financial Services

YCharts Provides Enterprise-Level Economic Data and Online Tools to Interpret the Bottom-Line Impact of Business Decisions

By: Lauren Keys

The Crunch: In the financial analytics industry, YCharts inhabits a unique space. The services the platform offers fall between specialized terminal products — which specifically target investment brokerages — and free services aimed at entry-level financial services consumers. YCharts caters to professionals who may not spend every waking hour thinking about equities and funds but who need actionable financial information to help them make business decisions in context. Since 2009, YCharts has made enterprise-level, customizable financial data, and analytics tools accessible to those who need information to better their bottom line.

The news by Amazon that it would reduce the prices on products at Whole Foods by up to 43% prompted a market reaction investors won’t soon forget.

For investors in the retail grocery industry, that news was a bombshell, translating into a market cap loss of about $10 billion to $12 billion spread among the top five or six grocery retailers in one business day. Investors looking to capitalize — or survive — the news of Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market needed to know quickly how those top grocery stocks were performing and assess whether the shifts they were seeing would have a long-term impact on the sector.

That highlights the value of YCharts, a web application that helps investors and business professionals of any interest level or background find actionable data in a short time frame. Since 2009, the Chicago-based company has assembled an expanding financial and economic data set — and tools for access, interpretation, and visualization — to help investors and others make better decisions, earn more, and learn more.

After Amazon’s announcement about dropping prices at Whole Foods, Jeff Macke tweeted out big-box grocery retailer analytics he put together on YCharts.

The Amazon-Whole Foods news moved a lot of stocks, said investor and YCharts Superuser Jeff Macke.

“I posted a chart from YCharts on Twitter pulling up major retailers and their reaction to that news,” he said.

But before he made a move with his money, Jeff used YCharts analytics to reveal a little more about the impact.

“I needed to know which companies were getting hit, where investment made sense, and where it didn’t. YCharts — and 20 years of training — helped me in that situation,” he said.

The app is easy to use, dispensing with the arcane — and costly — computational methodologies of legacy terminals. YCharts uses an intuitive interface that is familiar and inviting, helping decision-makers act quickly. Moreover, it’s affordable in a way that a terminal app simply isn’t.

“We’ve been waiting for someone to come around and disrupt the business model for quite awhile,” Jeff said, “and YCharts is the best at it that I’ve seen.”

Monitor Brands Across Sectors to Stay Ahead of the Curve

YCharts offers easy-to-customize features that enable business professionals of all stripes to keep abreast of financial data in all sectors relevant to their responsibilities.

“It’s got a graphical interface that’s a significant step up in sophistication from the stuff that you get with your brokerage account — which is not tailored to someone at a professional level,” said Jeff.

As a web app, YCharts works in any browser — mobile or desktop — and email or in-app alerts inform users when the metrics they follow change. The latest financial news is also aggregated through YCharts, and users can filter their feed to stay current on what’s happening in markets that affect them. The app pulls from several prominent newswires, updating every five minutes.

“The more ways individual investors can chop up information, the better off they are, and YCharts does the nicest job I’ve seen in allowing me to translate what I’m doing into plain English.”— Jeff Macke, YCharts Superuser

Subscriptions are designed to suit a variety of budgets and use cases — from individual investors up to financial consultants.

“I don’t want to pay $25,000 a year for data,” Jeff said. ‘”But if you try to compile the information by yourself, it takes forever to do it. You’ve got to have a way to aggregate it quickly, and that’s what YCharts is doing.”

Designed for individual investors, the YCharts Standard plan offers stock and mutual fund screening, security analysis, monitoring, and visualization.

“The more ways individual investors can chop up information, the better off they are, and YCharts does the nicest job I’ve seen in allowing me to translate what I’m doing into plain English,” said Jeff.

The Power of an Institutional-Level Platform with the Ease of a Modern Web Application

Users can assemble market data in watchlists on the YCharts dashboard, build customizable charts, and read the news. The simplicity of creating an informative dashboard is made possible by the computational power and raw data that lies beneath the surface.

Watchlists are tables that pull together info on selected equities, funds, indices, and general economic data. The lists are editable, exportable, and viewable in several formats, and alerts can be created for metrics within them. Users can quickly search for and select datasets through YCharts’ search function and a drop-down menu.

But charts are the core feature of YCharts. Like watchlists, charts are easily configured to any user’s needs. They pull price data, general economic metrics — such as jobless claims — and costs and profits that are organized by category and described regarding their applicability to price data.

Customizable Data Analytics Provides Deeper Context for Decisions

The analytical tools available on the YCharts Standard plan give users the contextual insights they need to make the best decisions. And as the plans scale up, so do the analytic capabilities of the platform.

The Professional and Enterprise levels of YCharts contain data analytics and predictive models used by investment advisors, hedge fund managers, and other financial industry insiders.

Create Custom Stock Lists and Export the Results to a Watchlist

YCharts offers two main ways to screen stocks. Its equity screener uses complex filters driven by thousands of metrics to monitor particular assets, pulling comparisons according to type, exchange traded on, and industry sector. This is the app’s deepest and most complete dataset, with up to 50 years of pricing data and 30 years of fundamental data for the almost 22,000 companies listed on the major US and Canadian exchanges.

While perhaps most relevant to investment professionals, the YCharts fund screener is similar to the equity screener but with more than 40,000 mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.

Data from either screening tool is exportable as a watchlist, where it appears front and center on the user’s dashboard. The YCharts screener tools give a broad range of users an easy way to monitor vast universes of stocks by relevant criteria.

Charts and Graphs with 30 Years of Data to Back Them Up

Visualization tools — charts and graphs — pull time-series data from thousands of metrics with up to 30 years of history. Users can map any combination of company-specific financial metrics, indices, mutual funds, or economic indicators.

Charts based on both fundamental and analytical approaches can be constructed to compare companies’ metrics. For publication or presentation, users can save their charts as images or as HTML for embedding on websites.

Jeff says that YCharts’ visualization tools are what make it especially useful at an enterprise level.

“The ability to illustrate a point — the charting part of YCharts — allows you to articulate an investment idea in a way that numbers just don’t,” he said.

A Financial Data Research Platform for Modern Businesses

Jeff estimates the Amazon phenomenon is part of a trillion-dollar market-share change. With the right tools configured in YCharts, the data shows how quickly retail grocery competitors are rebounding from August’s Amazon-Whole Foods announcement. Perhaps that insight gives solace to some of Amazon’s competitors, and it might give pause to investors who sold those stocks at a loss instead of standing pat until the dust settled.

Either way, there’s a tremendous amount of money to be made for investors who take advantage of the shift to e-commerce. For retailers, there’s also plenty of work to be done in gaining market share, as Amazon continues to diversify its assets.

Superuser Jeff Macke says YCharts is a vital tool for those who use financial data analysis to make decisions.

“That’s because when you get a customer,” Jeff said, “they tend to be your customer for life.”

No matter how you make your money, YCharts can show that it might not be wise to think of Amazon as an unstoppable juggernaut.

“If you track Walmart from 1980 to 2000, your total return ends up being almost the same as Amazon’s from its IPO in May of 1997 through May of 2017,” Jeff said.

With YCharts, investors and retailers alike can get the data they need to react to shifts quickly — or even anticipate trends that will lead to future returns.

About The Author

Lauren Keys is an industry professional with a background in retail environments and service-oriented experiences. From a brick-and-mortar past, Lauren analyzes the shifting world of retail from both consumer and organizational perspectives as the industry seeks to grow online engagement with special offers and deals.

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