NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
WOW Personal Investor 5.0
A Review by Bob Frye - November 97

Window On WallStreet's (WOW) Personal Investor 5.0 is a specialized program for fundamental and technical analysis of stocks and mutual funds. Investors use stock analysis to help decide whether it is better to buy (or sell) stock in Company A or in Company B. Fundamental, or value-oriented, analysis uses such factors as a company's sales, dividends, earnings, debt, etc to determine its relative worth to other companies. Technical analysis primarily uses a stock's price history to predict future performance.

Personal Investor consists of two parts: a securities database, and analysis and charting programs. The included CD-ROM has a five-year historical database of nearly 14,000 stocks, mutual funds and market indices. The analysis and charting programs can access the database directly from the CD, use data files created or copied to hard disk, or a combination of both.

To conduct fundamental analysis, you use SmartScan Plus, a database query tool. SmartScan searches the securities database for your specified criteria. You choose from 61 filter criteria including changes in price, trading volume, earning-per-share, dividend yield and a host of others. You can specify multiple criteria for any scan, and choose whether you want your picks to meet all (Boolean AND search) or any (Boolean OR search). You can use SmartScan to search individual or groups of securities, as well as the whole database. It takes my Pentium 200 system nearly an hour to scan the whole database. SmartScan creates a file of all the securities that met your criteria that can be saved on disk or printed, as desired.

The technical analysis charting program is the primary focus of Personal Investor. Using the price/volume portion of the historical database, you can chose from 43 technical indicators ranging from Accumulation Swing Index to ZigZag. Both the manual and on-line help give short, concise explanations of these indicators to help the new user. Personal Investor includes a feature rich toolbar for manipulating your chart displays. You can easily change between daily, weekly or monthly price/volume displays, create multi-pane displays, and add overlays like moving averages, Fibonacci arcs and Gann angles (there's 13 overlays to chose from). You can save your chart displays so you can quickly reuse when needed (similar to a template).

Personal Investor includes the Personal Investment Assistant (PIA), an unattended process scheduler. With PIA you can automate end-of-day security data downloads, have it then run SmartScan and print a report of the results. PIA can even display custom messages to remind you of appointments and other significant events. The on-line research module is full customizable so you can use dial into any security data service to get security information, including news stories. Personal Investor can directly read data formats from most major data services, as well as import comma separated ASCII files. You can also directly type in information into the hard disk database, in case your on-line connection isn't functioning. WOW provides a subscription service that provides quarterly market data on CD-ROM. Personal Investor is compatible with Quicken 3, 4 and 5. With a couple of clicks, I can update my Quicken Portfolio with price information from my WOW database. The Hint Line feature reminds the new user of the functions of the various tool buttons (just hold the pointer over button).

Personal Investor requires a 386 processor or better, Win 3.1 or better, 8 MB RAM and 10 MB disk space. You'll need a 2X or better CD-ROM drive to use the Stock Data CD. You need a modem and an active data service account to use the on-line download, research and news features. Street price is about $55. If you're a serious investor, or want to be, I recommend you consider using Window On WallStreet's Personal Investor.

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