Did you know that the average American checks his or her smartphone 150 times a day?

But what if, instead of chatting on Facebook and playing bird-slinging games, we used our smartphones to become better investors? There are some great apps available now for doing research, getting the latest news and economic indicators, trading and more.

6 free investing apps for your homescreen:

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ALSO READ: The 10 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds, And Why

Here are some apps that’ll help you stay on top of your portfolio and get the information you need to make smart investing decisions.

FRED investing apps
How It Works: This is the mobile version of the FRED database, ever-popular with traders, analysts, journalists and others for its huge range of economic data (FRED stands for Federal Reserve Economic Database). The app gives you access to nearly 210,000 economic data series from 61 regional, national, and international sources.

Why You Need It: As well as tracking your own stocks and industry news, you need to keep up with the broader economic indicators. A minor change in jobs or housing data can sometimes send stocks on a rollercoaster ride, so it pays to have all the relevant data at your fingertips.

Versions Available: iPhone, Android

Daily finance investing apps

How It Works: This is a good basic stock tracking app, with real-time stock quotes and charts, as well as market news and analysis. You can see the most active stocks traded today or the biggest gainers and losers, and enter your own stocks to keep track of price movements.

Why You Need It: You could clutter your phone up with apps from different news sources, but if you’re interested in a particular set of stocks, it’s better to use an app like this one to digest more than 3,000 news sources and feed you the stories that are relevant to your portfolio.

Versions Available: iPhone, Android

Seeking alpha investing appsHow It Works: You can choose from a suite of apps, each focused on a different area of investing. One app lets you enter your own particular stocks and get real-time news alerts, while the others focus on broader areas, like energy, technology, ETFs and dividend stocks.

Why You Need It: The industry focus is the draw here. The way SeekingAlpha presents its articles means that you’ll get not only news on your own stocks, but ideas for stocks you might want to buy, along with general industry commentary and forecasts. If you have an interest in a particular sector, this android investing app will help you stay informed.

Versions Available: iPhone, Android

Think or swim investing apps

How It Works: Most brokers now have apps that let you trade on your smartphone. One of the best is thinkorswim, from TD Ameritrade. It comes with a huge array of charts and data, and you can even watch a live stream of CNBC.

Why You Need It: If you’re a frequent trader, you don’t want to be flipping back and forth between apps all the time. This app lets you do all your research in one place, and then quickly make a trade.

Versions Available: iPhone, Android

Bloomberg investing apps

How It Works: Bloomberg terminals have been a standard feature on professional traders’ desks for decades now. A free smartphone app can’t include as much detail as those professional screens, but it’s still pretty sophisticated. You can customize it to give you data not only on the stocks that matter to you, but also on bonds, futures, currencies and commodities. And you can watch Bloomberg Television Live, listen to audio interviews with leading experts, and catch up with the latest news.

Why You Need It: Investment research consists of two main components: looking at data and keeping up with news. The Bloomberg app covers both of those areas with a slick, easy-to-use interface. The audio and video options, along with the colorful charts, make it an engaging experience. Still not as much fun as Angry Birds, mind you, but definitely more informative.

Versions Available: iPhone, Android

Mint app investing apps

How it Works: Investing, of course, is only one part of your financial life. The Mint app lets you bring it all together, integrating data from your investment accounts, bank accounts, credit cards and more. You can plan your investing, spending and saving, all in one place.

Why You Need It: Many apps do a good job of helping you track a portfolio of stocks, but smart investors take a holistic approach, viewing their stocks as just one part of a larger portfolio that includes bonds, bank accounts and other savings accounts. Using the Mint app helps you integrate your investing with your overall financial planning – you can see, for example, when you might be able to invest more in stocks, and when you need to prepare for a withdrawal.

Versions Available: iPhone, Android, Windows 8

Got some other favourite investing apps we didn’t mention here? Let us know with a comment below!

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