The Wall Street barons of yesteryear are usually depicted standing next to a stock ticker, reading prices off ticker tape in what passed for real-time. Today, even small-time investors have access to an overwhelming amount of financial news and information, in real-time, all the time. Fortunately, there's software that can help you sort it all out, such as DTLink's Personal Stock Streamer. It delivers streaming stock quotes, multiple streaming charts containing a wide range of technical analysis indicators, automatic portfolio updating and recalculating, e-mail alerts with third-party software support, and more, all in real-time. It does a lot for freeware, but to take full advantage of it, you need to subscribe to a financial data service, which starts about $15 a month for DTLink's partner services.
While the program's interface is certainly busy, it won't be unfamiliar to anyone who reads the financial pages in the newspaper, and the subtle use of color helps differentiate the various graphs and charts and keep it all in order. Stock Streamer is easy to use, despite doing so much.
DTLink Personal Stock Streamer supports data transfer with major financial software packages like Quicken and MetaMoney, and it now supports real-time collaboration via CollabInvest and live trading through TD Ameritrade, if you have an Ameritrade account. It does a lot and it's free, mostly, but it leaves folders behind after uninstalling, should you decide not to keep it. There's a paid version, Stock Streamer Gold; it includes support for international markets and currencies, among other upgrades.