BlogInvesting Tips

Yahoo Finance vs Sharesight -- comparing portfolio trackers

by Angela Thompson, Sharesight

If you’re an investor that owns stocks on both local and international markets, tracking the performance of your portfolio is often beyond the scope of most portfolio trackers. Often this means tracking your portfolio manually using a spreadsheet, or alternatively Yahoo Finance, but there’s a better way — here’s 3 reasons why investors should be looking for a Yahoo Finance alternative:

1. Misleading performance

Like most brokers, the major issue with Yahoo Finance is that it only calculates your simple return — the difference between what you paid for the stock, and what it’s worth now. That’s bad because you can’t compare the relative performance of investments in your portfolio if you’ve owned them for different periods, to do that you need to calculate annualised returns instead.

See that +60.87% total gain figure in Yahoo Finance on this 2015 investment in General Motors? On an annualised basis that has seen capital growth at a rate of 8.7% p.a.

Screenshot - Yahoo Finance

Sadly, this is the most misunderstood concept when tracking investment returns. Once you start tracking your investments using an annualised calculation methodology, you’ll finally understand your true performance. This gives you the data-driven insights that allow you to make better investment decisions, (and hopefully become a better investor in the long-term).

2. Doesn’t factor in dividends

Other factors that impact performance are brokerage fees, foreign currency fluctuations and corporate actions such share splits and dividends. Sadly, Yahoo doesn’t allow you to track dividends either. If you own dividend-generating stocks and attempt to track them in Yahoo finance, your performance numbers will quickly go askew.

Remember that 8.7% annualised capital gain I talked about earlier? Here it is again. But once you factor-in the impact of dividends on your investment performance, the annualised return figure jumps to 12.43%:

GM - Dividend + Cap Gain

As you can see, dividends play a huge part in your performance return. And what about dividend reinvestment plans (DRPs or DRIPs), which let you use your cash dividends to purchasing additional shares in a company without paying commissions? These have an additional impact on your performance (and are yet another component of your performance that you can’t track using Yahoo Finance).

3. Doesn’t track the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations

If you’re investing internationally, knowing the impact of forex changes on your investment return is yet another part of the equation to understanding your true performance. Sharesight tracks the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations on your portfolio, Yahoo Finance does not.

Returning to our example above, if this was an an international investor based in Australia with an investment in GM stock on the NYSE, you also need to consider any change in foreign exchange rates since the original purchase. When you factor in forex impacts the total annualised return actually figure is 10.42% p.a.:

GM - Currency Gain

Why investors should use Sharesight instead of Yahoo Finance

Yahoo is a great place to check your old GeoCities email. But when it comes to tracking your investments, you should be using a purpose-built portfolio tracker like Sharesight, which not only tracks your annualised performance, but includes dividend tracking, tax reporting, plus wealth of other features specifically designed for DIY investors. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Yahoo Finance and Sharesight to show you what we mean:

 YahooSharesight
PerformanceSimple return

Doesn’t include dividends, brokerage, foreign currency
Annualised, money-weighted total return

Includes dividends, brokerage, foreign currency
Performance PeriodLimited: since yesterday, or since first purchase onlyAny time period
DividendsNoYes – automatically displays the exact dividends based on how many shares you own (these can be edited too)

Dividends are rolled back up into your performance calculation
DRPs/DRIPsNoYes
Foreign CurrencyNo – you can change the portfolio’s currency but currency fluctuations for foreign investments aren’t trackedYes – converts any foreign investments back to the portfolio’s home currency (with forex prices updated every 5 minutes)
Market CoveragePretty much everythingFull list of markets tracked by Sharesight
Price UpdatesMix of real-time/15/20/30 mins20 minute delayed pricing for AU and NZ, otherwise end of day
Number of Holdings & PortfoliosUnlimitedTrack up to 10 holdings for FREE, for more, see our pricing plans
Custom InvestmentsNoYes
Performance & Tax ReportsNoYes – performance, diversity, contributions analysis, taxable income, future income, etc.

Full list of Sharesight reports
BenchmarkingNoYes (Benchmark your portfolio against any of the more than 170,000 stocks, funds, ETFs)
Track Brokerage CostsNoYes – Here’s the impact brokerage costs have on your investment return.
Cash TrackingYesYes - Cash account tracking that syncs transactions to your portfolio.
NewsYahooLivewire, Firstlinks, The Motley Fool UK
Portfolio SharingNoYes – share secure access with anyone, according to the level of access they require: read-only, read-write, admin

It’s easy to import your Yahoo Finance portfolio to Sharesight

If you’re already using Yahoo Finance to track your investment portfolio, we’ve made it easy to import your data into Sharesight. All you need to do is:

  1. Download your portfolio from Yahoo Finance (as a .csv file)

  2. Upload it to Sharesight

That’s it. We go into more detail in our guide ‘Easily import your Yahoo Finance portfolio into Sharesight’.

Sign up today and track your investment performance (and more) with Sharesight

Over 250,000 investors like you are already using Sharesight to track their investment portfolios. What are you waiting for? Sign up and:

Sign up for a FREE Sharesight account and get started tracking your investment performance (and more) today.

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