Real Time Data and Alerting Now Live

It’s been a labor of love creating and running Custom Stock Alerts.  Since inception it’s been a non-stop endeavor of fixing bugs and bringing new features and enhancements.  One of the most requested features was for real time data.  There have been numerous challenges with actually pulling this off, namely real-time data feeds can run in the tens of thousands of dollars per year.  Through the free data offerings provided by IEX this is now become a reality.  I’m incredibly proud to announce that real time data and alerting is now live.

Background

You may say, if only now it is real time, what was it before?  Previously based on data source availability there was about a five minute delay.  Not much and for 99% of use cases it was plenty fast enough to fit the bill.  The other 1% would be the day trading crowd.  A five minute delay could mean the difference in trading results for those folks and it was critical to have this function in real time.  Never shying away from a challenge, I made the necessary architectural changes to accomplish this.

The Changes

So what actually changed?  Well for starters, I switched the pricing data to come from IEX per their excellent API.  That presented some unique challenges to properly capture all quote changes coming in as there can be tens of thousands per minute.  The other half of the battle was implementing a real time alerting system.  As the data streams in, it will push out alerts that have triggered.  The end result is evident (and testable) with how quick you will receive alerts.  In my own testing I had a text within 2 seconds of updating an alert to trigger.  If you want to test this yourself, edit one of your alerts so that the target value will cause it to be immediately triggered.  Example, setting a “Price Above Limit” for AAPL with a ridiculous number like $1000 (current share price is approximately $210).

Conclusion

Real time data and alerting has been one of the highest goals of my own to achieve through this project.  I am more proud to have accomplished that for my users.  If you are into day trading, that is now supported!  Let me know what you think and if you hit any issues with it.

Launching The Stock Return Calculator

Background

Today I’m formally launching the stock return calculator!

Comparing investments is a common activity for investors.  How can you know whether a strategy is working without ample evidence versus an alternative?  Existing calculators are either too limited or inflexible.  I’ve ditched some of the basic assumptions and will allow users to select a list of tickers to compare at a glance.  Choose individual tickers or include an index ETF such as SPY, DOW or QQQ.

I’ve launched a new stock return calculator in the suite of tools offered by Custom Stock Alerts.  Up to 20 years of data is currently available.

Here’s a quick demo of the tool:

 

 

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Sample Custom Stock Alerts Use Case

As you know I follow a lot of companies but mostly dividend paying companies.  I wanted to highlight one sample use case of Custom Stock Alerts.  General Mills reported earnings this morning and based on those earnings I like to adjust the alerts I have setup.  In particular I want to highlight the power of what a membership can offer through unlimited alerts.

To start, packaged food companies have been utterly crushed by the stock market the past year.  Top line growth has stalled as consumer tastes have been changing.  The favorite snacks and cereals of yesteryear are seeing challenges in this modern day and age.

Check out the 3 year stock chart for Kellogg, General Mills, Campbell Soup and J.M. Smucker.

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New Stock Screener Utility

I’m proud to announce I have launched a new stock screener for Custom Stock Alerts.  There are several double handled sliders that allow you to quickly fine tune your filters you are interested in.  There are currently the following filters:

  • Market Cap
  • Dividend Yield
  • P/E ratio
  • 52 week range
  • Equity type (stocks, ETFs, preferred shares coming soon)

Enjoy the short demo:

screener_demo

More explained after the break.

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Completed The UI Upgrade For Custom Stock Alerts

I wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that I completed the Bootstrap 4 upgrade for Custom Stock Alerts that I first covered in this post.  Most of the upgrade was changing necessary code around to be compliant with Bootstrap 4 vs 3.  I did take the opportunity to rework the top navigation bar a little bit in preparation for more future changes.

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realty income alert

Textbook Example Of Custom Stock Alerts

Realty Income

On May 4, 2017, a story came out about Spirit Realty having credit issues with some tenants.  Shares for Spirit then proceed to drop 20%.  In the wake of that, other triple-net lease players fell hard, including Realty Income.  This is a textbook example of Custom Stock Alerts.

Realty Income is one of the most beloved REITs – especially given that it bills itself as “The Monthly Dividend Company”.  Shares tend to trade at a premium in the REIT space which in turn helps the company maximize money received by issuing shares.

As an existing shareholder, I am always looking to add to holdings when, in my opinion, they are unfairly beaten down.  That’s precisely what happened when an unrelated company reported bad earnings.

Custom Stock Alerts

My site, customstockalerts.com helped me out here.  I had existing alerts setup for Realty Income, seen here (this is how it looks after the fact, note the 2 inactive alerts).

realty income alerts

I have a multitude of alerts setup for the company, proximity to 52 week high or low, daily price movement, dividend yield above 5% and just a rough ballpark of a price I’d be interested in.

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How I Got a Perfect PageSpeed Score

My PageSpeed Score Journey

TL;DR – Faster pages make everyone happy

This is my journey of how I achieved a perfect PageSpeed score.

Firstly, besides writing here on Dividend Derek, I created and run Custom Stock Alerts (CSA).  Being in the IT field, it’s important to continue working on my skill set.  CSA was the perfect project for me to try out some new technologies.  It’s hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and I use a multitude of their services.  I honestly can’t speak highly enough of my experience setting everything up and the documentation available when I needed help (which is still often).

After launching CSA, I started researching how to make my site more visible, how to appear better on Google for SEO, things of that nature like any small business would.  I came across PageSpeed Insights and ran my initial test.  It wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great, I think my initial PageSpeed score was in the 60s.

A high PageSpeed score is important for a few reasons, users won’t wait around on a poor performing site and Google understands this.  They won’t say just how much, but it appears to play a role in how high you rank on organic searches.  Also, to reiterate, being in IT it was something I also wanted to do to learn new things.

Initial Setup

The first trick was getting mod_pagespeed installed on my web server.  In a nutshell, the mod will do things like inline CSS, javascript, minify files, a lot of web tweaks plus a multitude of other things.  The mod is compatible with Apache and Nginx, I personally have Apache setup.  Once I had it installed and confirmed it was working.  Reran the test and my PageSpeed score only jumped to about 70.  Not the complete slam dunk I was hoping for.

Early pagespeed score

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