Some ideas for keeping tabs on stocks or funds you're considering.
By Jason Stipp | 03-10-04 | 10:30 AM | Email Article

Creating a Watch List or Hypothetical Portfolio
As regular users of Portfolio Manager on know, this powerful tool offers dozens of ways to dissect and track the stocks and funds you own in all of your investment accounts. But did you know Portfolio Manager can also help you keep tabs on investments you're still thinking about buying?

Jason Stipp is director of Morningstar's individual investor products.

This feature is perfect for stock investors. Morningstar analysts have often drawn a distinction between good companies and good stock buys. For instance, you may have found a sound business you'd like to own, but the stock might be currently overpriced. By creating a watch list in Portfolio Manager, you can keep track of price fluctuations, and even receive e-mails on major price movements or other news related to your watch list stocks.

On the funds side, perhaps you're considering an offering to round out your portfolio or fill in some gaps. Or maybe you're wondering how your current portfolio would perform with the addition of one or two new mutual funds. Creating hypothetical portfolios can assist you in making sound choices for your real one.

Action Plan
From's Portfolio Manager, click "New Portfolio" and name your watch list. Then click "Continue."

2. Enter the tickers for the stocks or funds you'd like to keep an eye on. (If you're unsure about the ticker for a particular security, you can use our Ticker Lookup tool in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.)

It is not necessary to enter share amounts, purchase prices, or commission information when creating your watch list. However, if you'd like to keep track of future hypothetical performance, you'll want to estimate the number of shares you would purchase, and enter today's share price for each security.

If you'd like to see the effects of adding a security or securities to your existing portfolio, you'll want to include your current holdings, along with their respective share amounts and original purchase prices.

When you're finished, click "Save Portfolio."

3. Within Portfolio Manager, you can keep track of each security's year-to-date total return in the "Gain/Loss" view. If you entered hypothetical share amounts and purchase prices when creating your watch list, you can also use the Gain/Loss view going forward to track how much you would have made or lost since you purchased the security.

The Gain/Loss view also gives you return information for the watch list as a whole, making it simple to compare a hypothetical portfolio with the real portfolio you also have saved in Portfolio Manager. To toggle between your saved portfolios, simply use the drop-down menu at the top-left of Portfolio Manager.

4. The Intraday View allows you to keep track of current price changes, daily highs and lows, daily volume (for stocks), as well as 52-week highs and lows. This helps you keep track of how your securities are currently trading relative to recent high and low points.

5. You can choose to have automatically e-mail you about important developments in your watch list or hypothetical portfolio, security by security. Simply go to the Stock and Fund Alerts section of's E-mail Subscription Center. Select your watch list or hypothetical portfolio from the drop-down menu. Then select the types of Alerts you wish to receive for the stocks and funds in that portfolio or watch list.

For example, if you have a watch list of certain funds that are currently closed to new investments, you could request to be e-mailed when any of those offerings reopens. You can also choose to receive an alert if a fund's star rating changes.

For watch-listed stocks, you may choose to be e-mailed in the case of big price movements, new 52-week highs or lows, a change in analyst earnings-per-share estimates or several other possible events.

6. If Portfolio Manager can offer you this much flexibility and information on securities you're just thinking of buying, image what it can tell you about your current portfolio holdings and diversification. To learn more about the in-depth portfolio analysis and tracking features that have made Portfolio Manager the number-one portfolio tool on the Web, according to Barron's, take our quick Portfolio Tour.

Learn More: Watch List Ideas
"The 30 Stocks in the Buffett Portfolio", by Haywood Kelly

"Large-Growth Stocks to Watch", by Amy C. Arnott

"Closed Funds Worth Waiting For", by Russel Kinnel


Securities mentioned in this article



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Jason Stipp does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar's editorial policies.
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