Both MarketWatch and Bloomberg offer home pages that provide market updates, news, and stock quotes, and information on savings and lending rates. MarketWatch provides a better portfolio tracking tool, while Bloomberg has more robust features around stock sectors and advancers/decliners.
MarketWatch has an estimated 19 million unique monthly visitors making it the 11th most visited business website. These visitors come to MarketWatch because of its massive backbone of news from the Dow Jones & Co. news organization (best known for its Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the Wall Street Journal). MarketWatch offers compelling features such as the MarketWatch News Viewer, which allows users to click through to webpages focused on news from different markets and geographies. The Economy tab provides economic information, such as guidance from the Federal Reserve. Other features include:
- Markets: Allows investors to choose the geographic market and includes market commentary, movers and shakers, and trending stocks. It also includes the all‑important earnings calendar, other market data, and a unique feature—a listing of private issuers going to the public market (a feature not found on Bloomberg).
- Investing: Coverage on popular vehicles like mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, options, bonds, commodities, and futures. The investing section is very comprehensive and provides a great starting point for most investors. Unlike Bloomberg, MarketWatch also covers private offerings in its investing section.
MarketWatch describes its tab, The Trading Deck, as “features opinions on trading and investing written by market professionals, not staff journalists.” These market professionals provide real-life insights that some traders may prefer to journalist-generated content. The remaining three tabs include Personal Finance, Retirement, and Real Estate.
Investors who register for a free MarketWatch account can access more tools, including one of the most comprehensive portfolio tracking tools on any finance website. Its performance in both percentage and dollar basis is an extremely useful feature, as is the asset allocation chart. It also offers an account tracking ability by tax types—an unusual and intelligent feature.
With 28 million unique monthly visitors, Bloomberg is more popular than Marketwatch. Bloomberg possesses legacy brand recognition, particularly among finance professionals, because of its Bloomberg system and its finance media news and wire service organization. Its website is a nice adjunct to its other services, with a strong concentration in the public markets. It does not venture into the savings and loan market on its homepage.
Unlike MarketWatch, Bloomberg has both a free public site and a pay subscription site for professionals. Bloomberg tends to have a more targeted focus on the markets than MarketWatch, with more details on specific sectors. For example, it has a direct tab into tech investing that covers everything related to technology investing, from deals to specific global insights. This content most likely is born from the advantage it has from the Bloomberg L.P. media empires for original content and news.
The Bloomberg homepage contains overall market commentary, which can be further broken down by geography. It also dives deeper into sectors, featuring heat maps of sectors, including advancers/decliners.
Bloomberg offers news stories broken down by geography, industry, markets, and other news of interest. Because it is such a tremendous compilation, Bloomberg offers the Quick webpage tab. It boils all the news down into a more targeted offering under different headings, listed on the left side of the page. The Markets tab covers stocks, currencies, commodities, rates, and bonds, and each is further broken down into geographies. The Personal Finance tab is similar to MarketWatch’s personal finance section.
Bloomberg offers some unique characteristics, such as what is found under the Tech tab. Here, investors can find general information on factors influencing the tech sector as well as specific information on tech stocks. The tech section further breaks down the tech sector into industries with dedicated news related to social media, mobile and wireless, web, enterprise, television, games, and movies.
Other exclusive features include tabs for U.S. Politics, Sustainability, and Luxury that pull in-depth feature stories from Bloomberg News (a newswire service) and Businessweek. The Sustainability tab leads to industry-specific articles on energy, natural resources, and health. The Luxury tabs lead to articles on autos, real estate, and travel. Lastly, the site offers the ability to connect to streaming Bloomberg radio.
The Bottom Line
Bloomberg and MarketWatch are both strong financial websites. Bloomberg offers targeted tech sector information, and massive independent coverage on politics, sustainability, and luxury from Bloomberg L.P.’s Businessweek and Bloomberg News. MarketWatch offers a comprehensive and user-friendly personal portfolio feature that incorporates the Wall Street Journal and Barron's content into what may be the best free portfolio tracker.