Google finance adds split handling

Looks like it’s been a good while since I’ve posted on this blog. My “professional” blog, which gets much more traffic, has been getting my focus, and I’m still not sure what will be happening with this blog.

Anyway, on with the post.  I use Google Finance for my everyday checks on my stock portfolio and the market in general.  I check for prices and news.  It gives me a basic idea of my returns for each stock and for my overall portfolio, though it doesn’t seem to match perfectly with my tracking in Quicken.

A while back they began tracking dividend payouts.  They are not entirely accurate, which is probably why the numbers are off.  They also are not applied to the returns of individual stocks, only the whole portfolio.  Since Quicken can show me per-stock returns with dividends, this provides a nice comparison between market returns and overall returns.

So just today I looked at my portfolio after having not payed attention to it for several days or so, and suddenly my returns were way up (from around 60% overall to 80%).  I was somewhat excited for a second, but confused because the overall market had not jumped that much, and as I looked through prices, none seemed that different from where they were.

I noticed my return on Apple had gone way up even though the price had only gone up a bit.  Then I saw the number of shares and though “That isn’t how many shares I have”.  I excitedly thought, “Did Apple split?”  Looking at the page on Apple and the related news, there was no sign of a split.  So I looked at my transactions.  I had manually put in my splits before as purchases with no cost.  They were there still, but my initial purchases were wrong for some reason.

I soon realized:  Google is now taking into account splits automatically, which means my added split transactions were just adding more shares to my actual number.  For some reason Google had, for all of the split stocks, modified the purchase number of shares and purchase price, lowering the former and raising the latter so the overall cost-basis was the same.  I had to remove my added split transactions and then look up the data for the original transactions so they were correct.

Everything is back to normal now, my returns are back to a mere 60%.