Counting Mounting Losses

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By Chris Wood, CPA - For all of you that didn’t convert their 401K’s into fixed income investments last October when the market hit its high, here is a method to keep up-to-date on the stock market while working in Excel at the same time. Make a data connection to the web in order to accomplish this. I did this in my blog “Inflationary Spreadsheet Tactics” on 3/19/08, but it never hurts to repeat a lesson. That’s the best way to learn.
First, select a cell in the current worksheet and go to DATA tab and click on the “From Web” button in the Get External Data Group.
This will bring up a web browser. Navigate the web browser to anyone of a thousand links to the Dow, particular mutual fund or individual stock.
Now set some conditional format rules to focus your attention to that link as the market moves during the day. Conditional formatting is found in the Home tab under the Styles group. Go to “New Rule”.
Select “Use a formula to determine which cells to format” in the first box. Then write the formula. In this example I’ve set a couple of simple constraints. First, I’ll write a formula to set a format if the value in B1 (which is the location of my link) is greater than the previous close. Click on “Format” and set the fill to green.
Next, I’ll write a formula to set a format if the value in B1 is less than the previous close in the same cell (B1). Multiple conditions can be used in the same cell. Click on “Format” and set the fill to red.
Next the refresh update has to be set up. This will automatically refresh the worksheet to the data connection link. Go to the Data tab and select “Properties” in the Connections Group.
This engages the External Data Range Properties Dialog Box.
Below is the first refresh. Market is up 53 points. All is well.
Twenty minutes later, I’ll check my spreadsheet, and lo and behold the amounts have been updated.
Still up by 23, no worries. I’ll check again in another 20 minutes.
Wow! Up by 67. I’m in the money now. I think I’ll go out and celebrate. I’ll check again at the end of the day.
Damn! Now the Dow is down by 160. It’s only 3:49. I’ve still got time to call my broker and SELL, SELL, SELL.

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