LONDON (MarketWatch) — The new search engine Wolfram Alpha won’t be replacing Google anytime soon in researching investments, but it does have some nifty features.
Wolfram Alpha was unveiled last week in the latest challenge to the Google empire. See related story.
Testing the service this week yielded some interesting dividends.
One nice feature is the ease in which returns are featured, in daily, monthly, year-to-date, annual and five-year performance, for stocks or mutual funds.
Simply enter in General Electric, for example, and those stats come out.
It also compares to rivals: in GE’s case, United Technologies and 3M, as well as S&P 500, bonds and T-bills.
Also, entering General Electric will bring up a number of key facts, like market cap, revenue, dividends per share, P/E ratio and dividend yield.
The problem, however, is the Wolfram Alpha data is based on trailing 12-month totals.
MarketWatch’s site, for example, has GE’s dividend yield at 3.11%, reflecting GE’s decision to cut its dividend to 10 cents a share; Wolfram Alpha has it at 9.8%, since GE was paying 31 cents a share each quarter.
The more mathematically inclined can look at return histograms and random-walk projections based on historical parameters.
Probably of more use is the beta calculation to figure out just how closely a stock has tracked the market in the past, though Google Finance and Yahoo Finance also have such data.
Entering “General Electric revenue in 2006” brings up annual results, and quarterly values, as well as a chart showing trailing 12-month revenue. The data does seem to be slightly off, however. For instance, Wolfram says GE revenue was $153.6 billion in 2006. That’s close, but not what GE says: $151.6 billion.
That number by GE was revised lower from its original report, which perhaps explains the Wolfram miss. GE results from 2008 yielded better results.
The charting functions bring up some impressive results. It’s probably not a huge surprise, but still interesting to observe from entering “market cap Ford / General Motors” that the ratio, 23.7 on Friday, surging off the charts.
Foreign data is harder to come by, however — it can’t figure out “market cap Ford / Volkswagen.”
Margins also are foreign to Wolfram.
But the service does feature nice options and mortgage calculators, which can easily be turned into PDF files.
View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-use-wolfram-alpha-for-investment-research