Online Social Networks for Stock Pickers

It's like Facebook meets Yahoo Finance—sites where investors can swap ideas or just brag.

Jerry Richardson, at home in Indiana with daughter Madeline, is a top investor on Cake Financial.

Jerry Richardson, at home in Indiana with daughter Madeline, is a top investor on Cake Financial.

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Another site, Covestor, also pulls data from members' brokerage accounts, but the goal here is to replace professional investors and to "deinstitutionalize money management," says Perry Blacher, the company's founder and president. "Instead of putting money into a mutual fund, you can just invest alongside brilliant self-directed investors," he says. The idea is for users to track and piggyback on the real-time trades of fellow investors, who are ranked by the performance of their portfolios and other measures. Eventually, says Blacher, members will be able to set up managed accounts that automatically execute trades in sync with a chosen investor, "who will be compensated like a pro," he says. For now, users can sign up to receive automatic E-mail notifications when members of their network make a trade.

With ZeccoShare, Zecco account holders can post their portfolios and join groups such as Green Investing for Tomorrow or Boomers Retirement Investing. (The site's most active group is the New Investors forum.) Users can track others' holdings and performance (including the community's top-performing portfolios) and receive instant notifications when anyone in their network makes a trade. They can also see the network's most widely held stocks, as well as the most-traded stocks of the previous business day. The site features user-generated blogs and old-fashioned forums, too. Soon, ZeccoShare aims to allow customers of other online brokerages to upload portfolios.