Tracking ASX listed ETF’s with data visualisation tools

Tracking ASX listed ETF's with data visualisation tools

Note: The following is not investing advice but it does take a look at investment data and pieces it together in a more interactive way than is available from just looking at the data online. If you are after investment advice then contact a financial adviser.

You can access the app here: LINK

A few weeks ago I created an analytics app that explores ETF related information from the ASX. I did this because the format that is provided is slightly limited in that it is individual Excel files representing data for each month. Whilst this can give good insights into what happened in the latest period of April 2020, if you want to compare prior months for a security or visualize how the performance moved over time then you need to download multiple Excel files and create some visuals yourself in Excel or other tools. There are a variety of data visualization tools out there but in this example I’ve used Power BI to extract, transform and visualize this data from the ASX.

The first step in doing this was to pull in the data from the ASX and explore what’s inside. You can do that on the fund statistics page here: LINK. Looking at this data I could see there were various sections relating to performance (1-month returns, 1-year returns etc), Dividend Yield, Funds under Management and other sections. In Power BI I could connect to those datasets directly from the ASX website. For each months data I added a tag to give it a date label and then I joined all the various datasets together.

 

ASX Fund Stats

The next thing you’re going to want to do is create some test charts and tables to explore the data and to make sure you’ve brought in the data correctly. You might create a bar chart and see that 2 of the month periods in your data have the same value which could indicate you’ve mislabeled something or connected to the wrong file from the ASX.

All of the above was pretty much the easy part. The harder part was figuring out the layout and navigation of this app. To do this, I looked at how other apps have been designed and with many taking on the main menu being on the left hand side and the top menu in each of those sections as a sub-navigation area, I decided to follow something similar. Initially, these designs are created in Power Point and then translated into Power BI. I then create each page and apply navigation buttons to move between each page. The visualisations are created and they then have backgrounds made transparent to make them blend into the app.

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The choice of colour is important here too and whilst I don’t like applications that overload with colour there are some choices being made here to create differences in some data in the app. Firstly, we see colours change for positive and negative percentage performances. I decided against building a changing scale for the colours or using green/red because data like that can be seen subjectively. The point of this app is to be subjective since it’s impossible to know what the user’s threshold are for performance. To one person a 10% 1-year annual return could be good whereas to another it is considered mediocre. As such the apps bar charts only show performance differences if something is at or above 0% or below 0% (as per below).

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Interactivity in this app is paramount. It was built so users can use drop down filters and change dates. Additionally, users can click on elements in bar charts to see how they affect other visuals on the page. They can also hover over the bar charts to see more detail about progression of performance (which is something that bar charts do not convey on their own).

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Creating all of this was meant to make it quick and easy for anyone to see performance of various ETF’s and Funds listed on the ASX. By doing this, we are democratizing data that is made available to investors and hopefully driving them towards making more data-driven decisions.

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There are still some next steps to do with this app and feedback so far has been great. One of the first bits of feedback from the original app was a request to have a way to make comparisons between different ETF’s. I implemented this not long after. There are also considerations as to what sort of data should be added or removed and best ways to visualise some of this is also under way. 

Anyway, it’s been fun for now but make sure to check back into my app page to see more on this in future. 

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