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Instrument Types

Instrument Types

Portfolio mobile allows you to track a wide range of securities from around the world.  The following is basic information regarding types of securities, how to track them, and supported markets and services in our apps.

 

Security Types

Our apps allow you to track nearly every type of financial instrument imaginable from stocks to cash equivalents.  The intricacies of each financial vehicle require special handling by any financial application and here we try to explain our support for each.  Regardless of security type, all recorded trades are processed in chronological order. For most cases, an accurate trade date is sufficient for recording your trades.  However, investors that engage in day trading or have multiple trades in a single day on the same position, will need to take care to ensure that times are correctly entered to ensure proper ordering of events.  Out of order activity can have unexpected consequences including reported errors and inaccurate performance values.

Stocks, ETFs and Funds

Stocks are the most common security type.  As such, support for  stocks has received the greatest effort on our part.  The section Quote Services (below) enumerates the online services that our apps can use to automatically retrieve quote prices.

You can track securities not supported by these services by adding them an manually managed securities which you will manually update the price for.

Our apps support long and short positions with over a dozen different transactions for recording activity.

Investors interested in tracking long positions should use the familiar Buy and Sell trade types for recording the purchase and sale of shares.  The Buy to Open and Sell to Close trade types are synonymous with Buy and Sell and may be used interchangeably.  These trade types support the following fields:

  • Date
  • Type
  • Quantity
  • Price
  • Fee
  • Exchange Rate

Trade quantities are always positive regardless of the activity.  For example, Sell trade should not be entered with a negative value.

Foreign investments (those whose trading currency is different than that of your portfolio currency) should use the Exchange Rate field to provide today’s exchange rate converting from the stock trading currency to the portfolio currency.

Investors in tracking short positions can record shares in and out using the Short and Cover trade types. The Sell to Open and Buy to Close trade types are synonymous with Short and Cover and may be used interchangeably.  These trade types support the same attributes listed above.

The trade types described thus far all have inherent cash side effects. That is to say that, when you buy and sell shares, the cash outflows and inflows are debited and credited to your default cash account.  To record the addition (or removal) of shares without affecting cash balances, such as when shares are transferred from another account, use the Transfer transaction type.

The Transfer transaction type is the only one that supports both an in and out movement and thus the quantity field should be positive to record incoming shares and negative for outgoing shares.

 

Infrequent events such as stock splits,merges, spinoffs and exchanges can be handled with one of several specific trade types including:

  • Split
  • Reverse Split
  • Exchange

When using these types it is important to understand how the quantity field is interpreted.  For splits, the quantity field should represent the number of new shares added to the position.  While when exchanging shares, the quantity should represent the total number of shares in the position after the exchange.

 

Options

When tracking options it is important to have an understanding of how specific settings are interpreted in our apps.  Firstly, our apps support automatic quote retrieval of options from Yahoo! Finance only.  Currently, they are the best source for option quotes for US securities.

You can track options not supported by Yahoo! by adding them an manually managed securities which you will manually update the price for.

When added to the app, option positions appear as unique securities, rather than an addition to a stock entry of the parent company.

Currently, there is no method of linking stock and option positions.  To view aggregate performance, we suggest using Categories to group the two and calculate total P&L.

It is important to ensure that option type (Put / Call) and strike price are properly set in the security settings.  If you added the option on a supporting quote service, then these values should be set for you automatically.  These settings are critical for performance calculations and should be re-verified in the event of atypical P&L values.

Recording options is performed similarly to stocks with support for:

  • Buy (Buy to Open)
  • Sell (Sell to Close)
  • Short (Sell to Open)
  • Cover (Buy to Close)

The more verbose, Buy to Open, Sell to Close, etc trade types were developed for option trading specifically to help reduce ambiguity in trading activity.  It is important to note that when recording option trading activity, the quantity entered is always in 100 share contracts, not the total number of represented shares.  All calculated figures for options are automatically multiplied by 100 to account for this.

 

Bonds

Bonds are possibly the most confusing security to track due to the way they are valued. Unlike stocks and options, the value of a bond is typically represented in percent.  When viewing current bond prices, you may notice that the price fluctuates around 100 (representing 100% of face value).  Bonds trading above 100% are said to be sold at a premium while those below are at a discount.  Thus, when updating the prices for bonds, enter the current percent value  (eg. 101.5 to represent 101.5%).

To record the purchase and sale of bonds, use the Buy and Sell trade types, providing the quantity and purchase price for the bond(s).

When adding bonds, a number of attributes exist solely for recording the bond in your records.  For instance, the number of payment terms and length of the bond are unimportant for value calculations by the app but may be useful in identifying or tracking income for the bond at a later time.

 

Income and other events

Recording cash income is another important part of tracking your position.  Our apps contain a variety of ancillary transaction types for supporting these activities including:

  • Basis Adjustment
  • Corporate Action
  • Dividend
  • Fee
  • Interest
  • Misc
  • Tax

These types are applicable to all security types and can be used universally to recognize various activity.

Record these transaction types by entering the total amount in the Price / Amount field.  Cash flow direction is automatically inferred by most of these transaction types and should therefore always be entered as a positive value.  The exceptions to this are Basis Adjustment and Misc which can take negative and positive values to recognize the remove or addition of a basis amount from the position, and cash inflows, respectively.

 

Quote Services

The app supports the following services for automatic quote updates:

  • Bloomberg
  • Boerse Frankfurt
  • Euronext
  • Google
  • Morningstar
  • MSN
  • Reuters
  • Yahoo

Note that not all of these services support every instrument type and we continually work to add support as requested by our users.

 

 

 

 

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