I use Microsoft Money 2000 to manage my home finances. It’s old (read out of support) and a bit confusing when it comes to investments, but it suits my needs and I don’t see any need to upgrade to the latest version right now.
One of Money’s many features is the ability to download stock quotes from MSN Money but mid-way through last year this stopped working properly, resulting in the following message when attempting to update online quotes:
Online Quotes and Exchange Rates:
Money was unable to retrieve a quote for FTSE (London). The symbol $US:FTSE is invalid. To correct an invalid or expired symbol, go to the Details for that investment from the Portfolio and correct or delete the symbol.
The problem is that versions of Money up to 2001 do not allow the investment symbols to be edited. A search of the microsoft.public.uk.money newsgroup turned up some useful information (along with lots of ranting about how Microsoft should fix this – they should, it’s easy enough but hey!) but with help from the advice in one particular thread, I got things working again.
- Firstly, I backed up my money data file (*.mny).
- Then, I downloaded a hex editor. The evaluation version of the one mentioned in the thread only handles 10MB files (mine was 13MB), so I used Cygnus Hex Editor (v2.50).
- Next, I used the Find Data function to search for the old symbol of 55 00 53 00 3A 00 46 00 54 00 53 00 45 (U.S.:.F.T.S.E.). In my data file, this appeared twice.
- I replaced both instances of the old symbol with 47 00 42 00 3A 00 55 00 4B 00 58 00 00 00 (G.B.:.U.K.X…) and saved the edited data file.
- After relaunching Money, I was able to successfully download FTSE data.
The less technical method of tracking the FTSE is to create an investment to watch, using the $UKX symbol. Whilst this works, it is quoted in pounds (not pence), so is inaccurate by a factor of 100, and doesn’t seem to allow comparisons (for instance, it is often useful to compare a stock against an index).
Now all I need to fix is that investment I made in March 2001, just before the markets took a tumble…