Best Maps of the Stock Market
These market heat maps can make you a better investor
A stock market map, also known as a market heat map, is an at-a-glance visual representation of real-time and historical market data. You can use these maps as an investment research tool to view the performance of different market indices, sectors, asset classes, or individual stocks, or even compare the stock market of a specific country to that of another nation.
Given the wide variety of data that these maps provide, data values are represented in different colors to help investors quickly zero in on the information they need. In addition to their eye-catching appearance, the best maps of the market have features that make investment research both informative and fun.
Finviz Market Heat Map
One of the best stock market maps, Finviz allows you to view, search, and analyze market data for free in a map or bubble format.
The map format lets you see the performance of a specific market (the S&P 500, for example), all markets in a given country, or a worldview of global markets.
The bubble version of the map of the market shows stocks in the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average in bubbles of different colors. When you hover over a bubble, a pop-up chart appears with stock data such as payout ratio or average volume, which you can customize. You can also narrow the stocks you view by sector, industry, market cap, and volume.
StockCharts' Market Maps
Although StockCharts offers paid access to maps, it also offers several free maps that pack a lot of data that active traders will find useful.
SharpCharts, the traditional charting tool, offers line graphs, bar charts, and other representations of individual stocks. Just enter a ticker symbol and click "Go" to view a chart of the stock's performance and obtain data points such as low and high share prices and volume. You can customize the chart with different colors, overlays (moving average, for example), and indicators like dividends.
The MarketCarpet map lets you view charts of data on groups of different securities, such as "S&P Sector ETFs." One section of the map depicts stocks in the market as squares; another section features a line graph of the selected stock. You can change the time frame of the stock map using the slide bar at the bottom. When you click on a square, the line graph updates instantly.
Morningstar Market Barometer
Morningstar's free market maps are the simplest of the five maps of the market, providing interactive snapshots of the performance of the U.S. and global markets.
The U.S. Market Barometer is a grid that lets you easily see how nine asset classes, including growth, core, value, large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap, have performed in relation to each other. When you click on an individual square in the grid, you get detailed data on the risk and performance of the asset class. The data on the U.S. market is updated each day at market close, but you can also see a mini-map of the asset class performance over the past day, year, three years, or five years. The tool illustrates that "the market" is not one cohesive entity that moves in the same direction.
For a view of the world equities markets, use the Global Market Barometer on the same page. Countries with gains in MorningStar global equities market indexes are represented in green, while those with losses are represented in red. You can view data in the same historical timeframes as you can in the U.S. Market Barometer.
Yahoo Finance Screeners Stock Market Map
Yahoo Finance offers free interactive heat maps of the market as part of the Screeners feature, which allows you to monitor the recent performance of 14 categories of securities ranging from undervalued growth stocks to high-yield bonds.
Clicking an individual category takes you to a page of stocks that fall into that category. From here, click "Heatmap View" for a visual representation of stocks in the category, each represented by a green or red square showing the gains or losses over the past day. When you hover over a square, a pop-up dialog appears with more detailed information about the stock, namely share price, price changes, and market cap.
To narrow the data in the map of the market, click "Edit" above the map and select a specific region, market cap, or volume; the map will instantly update to show stocks that match your selections.
Stocktwits' Market Heat Map
Stocktwits' free map of the market helps investors monitor trends in eight key sectors: utilities, industrial goods, basic materials, health care, financials, technology, consumer goods, and services.
The heat map of the market features a collection of squares in five different colors that represent price changes over the last hour, six hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours. representing individual securities in the sector.
When you click a square, the map zooms into the individual securities in that sector. Hovering over any square representing a security opens a pop-up with the price change of the security over the selected timeframe. Clicking "Zoom Out" takes you back to the sector-view of the stock market map.
The Bottom Line
Although active traders can benefit from the real-time data in maps of the market, such as share price changes and daily trading volume, market maps can also greatly benefit average investors.
Stock market maps allow busy investors to get a quick snapshot of a stock's performance before doing deeper portfolio research. They can also show someone with a long-term investment strategy why diversification matters by illustrating how certain sectors and asset classes fluctuate over time.
Investors can use the insights gained from a map of the market to make more informed picks about which securities to add to or remove from their portfolio and thereby achieve their short- or long-term investment goals.