Now for something completely different: Bloomberg on your iPhone

bloomberg9The name Bloomberg is quite synonymous with the world of business and financial news. It also is a leader in providing timely market data and technology (its Bloomberg terminals are quite sweet). So it makes quite a lot of sense for this titan to have one of the best finance apps on the Iphone.

Now, let me be clear, the term “best” is relative. This tool at its best will give the infrequent long term investor all the data s/he could ever imagine. At the very least, it provides a quick means to access daily data. More on this later. Let’s delve into some features.

This app is conveniently divided into 4 equally important categories; News, Markets, My Stocks, Stock Finder. News offers you up all the Bloomberg news you can handle. The app comes preset with “Worldwide” and “Exclusive” selected. Click on the edit button at the top right corner of the page, and you’ll be able to choose 34 other categories. Presently i have 7 categories chosen and probably wouldn’t go any higher than that. The reason is that you’ll start to see a lot of redundancy! “Oil Rebounds from its lows” would show up in both the “Commodities” and “Energy” cat. Also remember, that news is constantly updated therefore the more categories selected, the more time it will take to download. Pictures have recently been made available in stories with new updates. They are unnecessary. I would rather see Bloomberg concentrate on making their daily video clips available with related stories but I highly doubt this will happen until they transfer over to a more widely accepted video format.

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Markets is where I spend the largest chunk of my time. I have to say. I absolutely love it (and I don’t say that often). This tool will make most mobile investor/traders weep with adoration!. Let me break it down for you. Within Markets is 4 sub categories; Equity Indices, Commodities, Bonds and Currencies.

Equity Indices will give you every major market index. From the NASDAQ to the Indian Sensex, its listed here. All these indexes are divided into continents for easy navigation. A click through on anyone of the indexes will bring up a detailed view of the index. Let’s look at the S&P/TSX comp.

Information on the screen is clear and concise with a 52 week graph to give you an idea of how this market is doing. But that’s not all. Bloomberg has capitalized on the accelerometer available in the Iphone and with one quick flip of the phone to landscape mode, you get a much more visually rich graph with  1 day, 1month, 6month, 1year and 5year views available from the tabs. One thing you might notice is that graphs don’t always format nicely to the size of the screen due to extreme volatility.

Back on the detailed screen, Industry and Stock Movers allows you to drill down and really see what’s moving the markets. These are incredibly rich with detail. The industry movers pie chart, similar to the one used on Bloomberg television, is pure eye candy. Drill down by clicking on a portion of the chart. Clicking in the centre of the chart will back to the previous chart.(not clearly marked)

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Commodities is the second sub-category. Again, very detailed! Everything is covered right down to the going rate for live cattle and lean hogs. Umm.. Meaty! But this commodities section lacks a lot of tools that makes the “equity category” so wicked. There is no detailed page for each commodity and no corresponding graphs. Real-time or Delay.. no way to tell as Bloomberg only posts the data downloaded time at the bottom of the screen. Nevertheless there would be some minute-to-minute delay. Lots of room for improvements here.

Bonds; the third sub-category is very similar to Commodities in that it does a nice job to present the current data in a simple table. That’s it. No extra detail panes here. If you’re a fixed-income kind of fellow, you might find this lacking.

Currencies is actually useful to almost everyone. Well everyone that travels across borders, that is. The only problem is that it’s buried so far in the app that I think most typical users would never find it. Again, just like commodities and bonds, this section is just a simple table with data. Acceptable for the avid traveler and curious investor maybe trying to hedge their currency risks, however not so useful for the FX power users!

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My Stocks allows you to add a small selection of stocks you may hold or wish to track. More directed to the buy and hold investor, it does a nice job of keeping track of quantity and price bought at.

Stock Finder does exactly what the title says. Search through thousands of stocks from worldwide markets even OTC pink slips. Very simple and convenient, However, I believe that Bloomberg dropped the ball by not incorporating real-time quotes. With other major mobile web financial sites recently upgrading to real-time systems and dishing it out for free, It truly comes as a surprised that it is not an integral part of this app. At the very least they could provide the North American stocks. Detailed views are available as well as the tilting landscape graph similar to the one found in equity indexes.

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News Content notwithstanding, this can be a powerful tool for a typical retail investor no matter where you are in the world. With a few improvements such as the addition of equity index futures, real time quotes and video content, this could become a traders best friend in good or bad markets.

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App Summary
Title:BloombergDeveloper:Bloomberg LP
Price:FreeApp Size:1.1 mb
  • Data Data Data
  • Worldwide market indexes
  • 36 categories of business news
  • an all-in-one finance wonder
  • Video clips should be incorporated
  • Inconsistency between real-time data and delayed data
  • lacking tools for traders

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