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Tech review: Apps to make investing easier

E*Trade's app is user-friendly and loaded with charts

E*Trade's app is user-friendly and loaded with charts and free research on potential investments. Photo Credit: E*Trade Financial

Investing in stocks in 2018 was a wild roller-coaster ride with heart-pumping highs and heartbreaking lows. Thinking about investing in 2019? These apps will make it easy, although there’s no guarantee you’ll profit from the experience.

E*Trade

(iOS, Android; free)

Virtually every big bank and brokerage such as Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity Investments and Chase offer dedicated online trading or have trading as a feature of their all-purpose banking apps. But E*Trade has been doing online trading since 1982, and it shows. The app is easy to use and loaded with charts and free research on investments. E*Trade charges $6.95 for most stock trades.

Stockpile

(iOS, Android; free)

Aimed at small and new investors, Stockpile lets you buy stocks with an investment as low as $5. And if want to invest in some Apple stock with your $5, you can: Stockpile allows you to buy fractional shares. If you have kids or teens you want to get interested in investing, you can open a custodial account for them, and they can watch their investments grow, or shrink. Stockpile charges 99 cents for most stock trades.

M1 Finance

(iOS, Android; free)

One of the newer financial apps for mobile devices, M1 Finance takes the long view on investing, so if you’re interested in day-trading, look elsewhere. You can pick the investments you want, or M1 will put together a portfolio of stocks, bonds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on your goals and risk tolerance. M1's biggest selling point: There are no fees or commissions.

Wealthfront

(iOS, Android; free)

If you’d rather have experts make your investment decisions, Wealthfront may be for you. Your money is invested in a globally diversified portfolio chosen by Wealthfront’s money managers based on your risk tolerance. There’s a $500 minimum. Wealthfront says it has $10 billion in assets under management. Its one-year return as of Jan. 31 was -6.3 percent, a little worse than the S&P 500.

Back in the fold

It’s been a while since Samsung made a big splash on the smartphone scene, but that might change Wednesday. The South Korean tech giant is expected to launch as many as three Galaxy S10 phones, which are rumored to have powerful cameras and massive internal storage. Samsung might also finally show off its much-anticipated foldable phone.

— PETER KING 

Express line

Kroger and Microsoft are joining forces to improve the often tedious ritual of food shopping. Kroger, America’s biggest supermarket chain, is testing features that include “digital shelves” that show ads along with a network of sensors that keep track of products and help speed shoppers through the aisles. Customers using Kroger’s self-checkout app will be guided through the store to items on their shopping list.

— BLOOMBERG NEWS

Internet give and take

Businesses are dependent on the internet — maybe too dependent. A study by Accenture found that 90 percent of companies say “internet-related initiatives” are vital to their growth. But 59 percent say the internet is “increasingly unstable” because of cyberattacks. A separate report from insurer Lloyd’s says a massive ransomware attack — for which the global economy is unprepared — could affect 600,000 businesses and inflict $193 billion in damages.

— PETER KING

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