Our favorite Android apps for tracking and trading stocks

Our favorite Android apps for tracking and trading stocks

You don’t have to be a day trader to keep a close eye on the stock market. With the Dow crossing the 20,000 threshhold and tech stocks hitting record highs on a seemingly daily basis, watching the market can be as exciting as the Super Bowl, with ebbs, flows, peaks, valleys, and of course, a whole lot of money to be made (or lost!).

While Google doesn’t supply a standalone stocks app in Android, it does provide a way to track stocks in Google Now (or, if you prefer, the Google app). To monitor a particular stock, tap the menu button in the top left corner, then select Customize, and finally, Stocks. From there you can search for the symbols you want to follow, and they’ll be added to a new card.

But if you want something with a bit more flexibility, here are five apps that will fill all of your trading and tracking needs:

Investing.com

The key feature of any stocks app is the ability to get a quick overview of your portfolio (or, if you’re not investing, the stocks you care about). Investing.com’s Android app takes that one step further by offering an excellent snapshot of market conditions beyond the symbols you’re tracking, with real-time quotes for some 70 global exchanges and a unique calendar that keeps you apprised of the economic events that are happening around the world.

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Investing.com will let you choose between light and dark themes, depending on your mood.

You’ll also get Investing.com’s analysis and opinion to help guide your trades, and a steady stream of news broken down by category. You can easily share and save articles to your Google+ or Facebook page, quickly access recently viewed quotes by swiping up on the drawer at the bottom of the screen, and switch between light and dark themes. The free app will display a banner ad at the bottom of the screen, but if you can remove it by paying $20 a year.

Stocktwits

Any stock app will give you the latest quotes, news, and charts, but only StockTwits gives you a true real-time picture of what is happening and why. Kinda like Twitter for investors, StockTwits uses “cash tags” (ticker symbols with a dollar sign before them) to filter out the noise and get to the heart of what might be affecting a stock. It's sort of a stock-tracking social network.

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StockTwits gives you instant analysis alongside real-time quotes.

For example, on the day of an earnings report, StockTwits will not only show you what was reported, it’ll also tell you how investors are reacting and how the stock is performing in after-hours, where most other apps will simply say that the market is closed. Of course, you can use StockTwits to get a quick quote, but its real value is understanding why a particular stock is moving (or not), as well as spotting any trends that you might want to watch. Even if you don’t have a dime in the market, you won’t be able to look away.

Robinhood

Electronic trading is hardly a new concept, but Robinhood makes it cheap and easy. The setup process is a breeze, requiring your Social Security number for verification and access to your bank account for funding purposes, and you’ll be up and ready to trade before you can say Alphabet. The app is fairly rudimentary for stock-tracking purposes, offering basic information like price, volume, and market cap, but Robinhood’s real strength is in trading.

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Whether you’re buying penny stocks or blue chips, Robinhood has you covered.

Where other brokerage houses charge a fee for every trade and offer a confusing set of rules for how and when you can buy and sell stocks, Robinhood does it all for free with little fuss. When you find a stock you like, just hit the Buy button, enter the number of shares you want, and hit the green check mark. Then you need only swipe up to complete the trade. It’s about as easy as buying an app from the Play Store, and if you use StockTwits, you can link your accounts and buy as soon as you see a killer deal.

Acorns

If the whole business of trading is too scary for you, Acorns will make it super friendly. Built to take all of the friction out the process, Acorns is like having a digital broker that’s constantly looking to grow your investments. And before you know it, you could have a nest egg built up.

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Acorns will trade on your behalf using just the spare change in your bank account.

How it works is simple. Once you link your checking account, Acorns will round up the purchases you make and invest the difference a few cents at time. For example, if you generally buy a latte at Starbucks for $3.73 each day, Acorns will take $0.27 and invest it based on a set of parameters you’ve chose (how long you want to invest, what your goals are, etc.). It’ll cost a dollar a month, and trades will be carried out as often as you’d like. Of course, you can also buy and sell the old-fashioned way, but really, what’s the fun in that?

Note that Acorns doesn't let you buy and sell specific stocks; you invest in one of Acorn's ETFs (exchange traded funds). If you want to do long-term investing the broad segments of the market, it's great. But if you want to buy 10 shares of Tesla or something like that, you'll need to look elsewhere.

JStock

If you’re just looking for an easy way to track the companies you care about, you can’t go wrong with JStock. Minimal yet still packed with information, the app will dutifully keep tabs on all of your stocks and provide expert analysis of every quote. Simple and efficient, JStock will put your favorite stocks and indices right at your fingertips so you can see exactly when it’s time to buy and sell.

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JStock provides fantastic historical charts that track 10 years of market trends.

You can track what you’ve bought and sold, set alerts for target prices, and select which news source you prefer (Google or Yahoo), all while syncing everything back to a PC, Mac, or Linux app. But it’s with world index charts where JStock excels. Offering a customizable snapshot of an entire exchange, the app lets you dial into charts with pinpoint precision, setting moving averages and viewing daily candlestick lines (which tracks the market’s open, high, close, and color-coded performance) going back 10 years. Even if you don’t quite understand it, it’s fascinating.

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