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beancounter 0.8.8
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	BeanCounter -- A stock portfolio performance monitoring tool


1. Introduction

   Ever wondered what happened to your portfolio on a day the market moved
   500 points?  Ever wondered what your portfolio returned over the last
   (odd) period?  Ever wondered if there was a simple cron job to report
   portfolio changes on a daily basis?  Ever wondered if you could database
   the (public) price, volume, ... info on dozens of stocks for further 
   analysis?

   BeanCounter does all this, and provides a convenient command-line tool as
   well as a Perl library that can be used by other applications.

   Beancounter support stocks from exchanges in the US, Canada, Britain,
   France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, HongKong... as well
   as Australia and New Zealand. Tested patches for other markets are always
   welcome. US mutual funds are supported, as are foreign exchange rates and
   some precious metals.

   This is still somewhat beta in the sense that the command-line options and
   function interfaces might change. The (initial) release number is kept low
   intenionally. However, similar code has been working here since the fall
   of 1998. 


2. How to get started

   You need Perl and PostgreSQL, or MySQL (as of version 0.4.0). Plus a host
   of Perl modules such as DBI (Database independent interface) with either
   the DBD ODBC or the DBD Postgres driver (i.e. DBD-Pg) or the DBD Mysql 
   driver, LWP networking as well as Date::Manip and Statistics::Descriptive.
   All of this is readily available for Debian; or else in source code at
   www.postgresql.org and www.cpan.org. 

   Upon opening the .tar.gz archive, run 

	$ perl Makefile.PL
	$ make install

   and everything should be fine. Run

   	$ beancounter --help

   for a quick check.

   Run 'setup_beancounter' to create the new database and tables, and to have
   them filled with example data. This even runs a first portfolio report on
   the (example) portfolio. The 'setup_beancounter' script has a few sanity
   checks to ensure that Postgres (or MySQL) is running, that the current
   user is a valid database user, that it is not called by root, and that the
   database hasn't already been created. 


3. How to use it

   Beancounter's --help options shows the main functionality. This currently
   comprised the following operations:

   o "addindex index sym1 sym2 ..." fills the indices table with info on 
     stocks comprising a market index.
   
   o "addportfolio sym1:nb1:fx sym2:nb:fx ..." fills the portfolio table with
     the specified quantities (eg 'nb1' or 'nb2' in the example above) of the
     specified stocks. Additional attributes of the holding can be specified
     as well. These are 'type' in which one could store the tax
     classification of a retirement account, eg 'rrsp' in Canada or '401k' in
     the USA, 'holder' which can carry the name of the account holder so that
     one could e.g. differentiate between spousal accounts, 'cost' which 
     stores the purchase price and 'purchasedate' for the time of the purchase.
   
   o "addstock sym1 sym2 ..." to  add one (or several) stock(s) to the
     database by filling both the 'stockinfo' table with general company and 
     stock info, as well as the `stockprices' table with the most recent
     price data. Its purpose is to initialise the database for new stocks.

   o "backpopulate sym1 sym2 ..." backpopulates the database for one (or 
     several) stock(s). It can be used to extend the database with historic 
     prices. Limiting dates can be supplied via the --fromdate and --todate
     arguments. 

   o "dailyjob" which combines 'update' and 'dayendreport'

   o "dayendreport" runs a report summarising day-over-day changes

   o "destroydb" removes the database entirely with not further warning.

   o "plreport" runs an end-of-day profit/loss report on the portfolio.
      It can be run automatically by cron(8) via an entry in crontab(5) 
      such as 
	 15 17 * * 1-5	  beancounter update && beancounter plreport
     It can be run from cron(8) just after 'daily_update.pl'.

   o "risk" runs an risk analysis with parametric Value-at-Risk (VaR) 
     calculated via the standard Delta method (a.k.a. RiskMetric (TM)),
     a non-parametric VaR (using the 1% quantile) as well as marginal VaR
     analysis.

   o "quote sym1 sym2 ..." retrieves price info from the Web and displays
     it without touching the database. This is useful for verifying a stock
     symbol as well the network status.

   o "status" computes a holdings value and (annualized) return summary 
     which also shows how long a stock has been held.
 
   o "update" updates the database with day-end information. It can be run
     automatically by cron(8) via an entry in crontab(5) such as 
		 15 17 * * 1-5	  beancounter update 
     (but also see about combining this with a call to beacounter plreport')

   o "warranty" shows a brief statement about the GNU General Public License

   The shell script 'setup_beancounter' initialises the database, creates the
   tables and fills them with initial data.

   The shell script 'update_beancounter' changes, if necessary, the database
   table to bring an older (0.1.*) installation up to speed.


5. To Do

   More error checking. More performance analytics. More markets. More
   documentation. Maybe a GUI.

   See the TODO file.


6. Disclaimer (taken straight from the GPL)

				 NO WARRANTY

     11. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY
   FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW.  EXCEPT WHEN
   OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES
   PROVIDE THE PROGRAM "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED
   OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
   MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  THE ENTIRE RISK AS
   TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU.  SHOULD THE
   PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING,
   REPAIR OR CORRECTION.

     12. IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW OR AGREED TO IN WRITING
   WILL ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY WHO MAY MODIFY AND/OR
   REDISTRIBUTE THE PROGRAM AS PERMITTED ABOVE, BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR DAMAGES,
   INCLUDING ANY GENERAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING
   OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE PROGRAM (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED
   TO LOSS OF DATA OR DATA BEING RENDERED INACCURATE OR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY
   YOU OR THIRD PARTIES OR A FAILURE OF THE PROGRAM TO OPERATE WITH ANY OTHER
   PROGRAMS), EVEN IF SUCH HOLDER OR OTHER PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE
   POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.


   In short: if it breaks, you can keep the pieces.  This is Free Software,
   use it as you see fit, but don't come running or screaming if it doesn't
   work as intended. 



Dirk Eddelbuettel <edd@debian.org>

$Id: README,v 1.6 2001/10/12 01:47:53 edd Exp edd $