by John Sweeney
Obscuring one end of the STOCKS & COMMODITIES functional test group work area in its new quarters are a pair of constantly whirring IBM-compatible computers (one the datafeed and the other ProfitCenter
itself) taking data off a satellite feed and stuffing it into a huge database with prices on everything from
the price of the shares of the Australian-New Zealand Bank on the Bombay exchange to Tokyo
International Financial Futures Exchange Eurodollar interest rate futures. If it's traded somewhere in the
world, be it cash, futures or options, a number of systems—Reuters, Bloomberg, Telerate or
Knight-Ridder—is likely to have pricing on it. ProfitCenter is Knight-Ridder's package entry in the
institutional trading sweepstakes.
What Knight-Ridder offers is a turnkey package that does nearly everything with no installation or
support worries. It can't replace custom in-house analytics, especially involving the arcane mathematics
of probability and derivative valuation, but should you seek anything other than that it's all here for a
• 24-hour, world-wide datafeed
• Huge historical database on your desk and/or available by download
• Immense variety of quote screen displays with fairly fast switching
• Flexible, vivid charting
• Complete array of publicly available studies
• On-screen formula definition of new symbols.
While Reuters and Telerate are undoubtedly the world's leading datafeeds, they historically have provided
"pages" — fixed-format displays with no capability for customization. Both have been slow about using the power of the personal computer to rearrange and display data in a format that customers want. Now
all the major data services are also trying to provide hardware and software to reprocess the data they sell
you. Count on $1,000 to $2,000 per month per terminal for this level of service.