Information is commonly referred to as an essential tool in the stock market.
It makes sense that information is so important.
If you have well-presented, useful information, then you can make better investment decisions.
Prior to the internet, access to valuable stock market research was expensive and difficult to use if you were not working in finance or a wealthy day trader.
Fast-forward a few decades, and we have access to more information than ever before – maybe even too much.
If you have spent any time researching stocks, then you are probably bombarded with tons of advertisements for stock picking services and market research newsletters.
So, how do you know if their research is helpful or even accurate?
Today we are going to dive into some of the most popular research sites for stock market information and individual stock analysis.
Before we get started, it is important to understand what type of research you are conducting.
We are going to break these research sites into three big categories (there is always some overlap, but this will help you with a quick reference).
- Investing Strategy
These answer questions like “How do I build the best portfolio for my needs?”
- Stock Research
These answer questions like “Is Apple a good stock to buy vs. Google?”
- Market Research
These answer questions like “What is the stock market doing?”
Let's get right into it!
Investing Strategy (Pick winning stocks)
The Motley Fool is one of the most well-regarded stock picking and investment news sources around.
The Motley Fool was founded in 1994 by brothers Tom and David Gardner.
The company is headquartered in Alexandria, VA, and they have expanded to many other states and countries.
Investors who are looking for…
- The best stock recommendations; and
- Assistance curating their portfolio
…can choose from free and paid resources from the Motley Fool to get ahead.
There are many great resources for investors using the free service, including:
- Stock analysis articles;
- Market trend research; and
- Personal finance articles in The Ascent (the personal finance arm of the Motley Fool).
If you are looking for a premium stock investment service, the Motley Fool offers the Stock Advisor program for $99 per year (often with MAJOR discounts), and it is a fantastic tool for investors of all levels of experience.
Once you join Stock Advisor, you will receive two stock picks every month, a list of starter stocks, access to member forums, and more.
The two stock picks are derived from each of the founding brothers.
Both Tom and David have teams that analyze different market sectors and eventually settle on their top pick for the month.
Once they submit the stocks to each other, they will include them in the Stock Advisor newsletter along with their research and reasons why they chose that company over all the others.
Stock Advisor membership also includes monthly recommendations for other stocks that are poised to do well that have been researched by other Motley Fool Analysts.
One of the best benefits of Stock Advisor membership is the starter stock list for new members.
The starter stock list is a carefully curated list of stocks that have a proven track record and offer exposure to a multitude of different industries.
This list is especially helpful for newer investors because creating a diverse portfolio from scratch can be challenging for beginners.
If Stock Advisor is for investors looking for balanced portfolios with a robust investment strategy…
…then Rule Breakers is for growth-oriented investors who want access to the fastest-growing companies on the market.
Rule Breakers is led by founder David Gardner, and their aim is to find companies that are poised for a potential explosion in growth that can swing widely.
This service is also $99 (again, with potential for MAJOR discounts) and comes with some similar perks to Stock Advisor, including access to members-only forums, stock recommendations, and more.
If you are an investor with some experience who is comfortable with some more risk and is looking for a resource to recommend growth stocks…
…Rule Breakers may be the perfect addition to your research.
3. The Street
The Street is a premium stock recommendation service that is spearheaded by Jim Cramer from CNBC’s Mad Money.
Ever heard of that guy?
The Street has some free resources such as stock charts, market news, and updates from Cramer’s team.
The premium service is called Action Alerts Plus, which costs $299 per year.
It is a stock picking service that is derived from Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio.
Members receive complete access to the portfolio’s holdings, and they receive alerts whenever trades are executed within the portfolio.
The goal of the Action Alerts Plus service is to learn how to build a portfolio from some of the leading minds on Wall Street that employ a fundamental analysis approach.
Other benefits include live chat features, a library of articles and past research, and the capability to download the portfolio’s financials offline.
Action Alerts Plus can be a great option for investors that like to learn by following examples and real-world experience.
Zacks is renowned for its investment research and stock-rating system.
For every stock Zacks analyzes, it assigns an ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) rating that seeks to predict if a stock will beat earnings expectations, and if so, by how much.
Like other portfolio services, Zacks offers both a free and paid premium stock service.
Free members have access to the backlog of articles on the site, custom stock watchlists, and a free #1 stock pick from the premium list every day.
For an annual fee of $249, members can upgrade to the Zacks Premium membership.
Zacks premium is best suited for investors who like building their own portfolios, but enjoy research that offers actionable tips and recommendations.
The most important benefits of the premium membership is the simplified curation of top stocks in different sectors and industries.
Investors can choose from pre-filled screens that have compiled the companies that have the best performance as well as the research and charts behind the recommendation.
5. Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is one of the most popular and authoritative sources of information on the stock market, the economy, and the world of business.
The WSJ offers free and premium resources for investors and individuals looking for detailed news and articles that are written by veteran reporters with many years of experience.
If you are looking for a daily dose of articulate and comprehensive market news, a Wall Street Journal subscription may be well worth your time.
For $19.95/month, you can have an all-access subscription, which includes a free membership to WSJ+ and access to the entire backlog of articles on the site.
WSJ+ is a premium add-on for paying members. Some benefits of WSJ+ include giveaway opportunities, member-exclusive content, podcasts, and more.
The Wall Street Journal provides an impressive package of information for casual investors and seasoned day traders alike.
Barron’s research is a premium investment magazine and digital subscription service.
They focus almost exclusively on the financial markets, and most of their analysis and reports rely on fundamental analysis instead of technical analysis.
Barrons is one of the most comprehensive publications for investors who are familiar with financial terminology and who want to take a deep dive into their markets.
Market sectors include stocks, commodities, and derivatives, and there are dedicated resources for each subset of these categories.
For example, if you are familiar with growth stock investing, and you want to learn about more growth companies, Barrons can be a wonderful resource. Their articles dissect the business plans, financial statements, and the industry surrounding each company they research.
Barrons is one of the pricier publications coming in at $180 per year.
Subscribers can opt for either digital and print delivery or just digital. The weekly Saturday Print Edition provides insight and commentary on all markets for the week ahead.
The Morningstar subscription is an all-in-one resource for value investors that are looking for excellent research and portfolio optimization tools in one convenient bundle.
Morningstar is one of the most well-respected equity research publications, and they have the accolades to prove it.
The Morningstar subscription is $199 per year, and they offer very specialized services along with their newsletter and research tools.
A subscription will give you access to their entire backlog of articles and analyst reports on thousands of publicly traded companies.
Although you should always conduct your own research before you invest in a company, the stock highlights and picks are always supplemented with in-depth reports and track records over time.
The Morningstar service is especially valuable once you plug in your own portfolio’s information.
You can use the Morningstar Portfolio X-ray to analyze your portfolio and provide valuable insight.
It will tell you if you are too heavily allocated in a sector, country, or industry. The X-ray will also provide some recommendations to balance out your asset allocation in real-time, which is quite impressive.
If you are trying to compare multiple stocks to try and select your next investment, they also have a screener tool that compares them side by side to provide clarification for your decision.
Finally, for your retirement and long-term investments, the Morningstar service provides a cost-comparison tool on the top mutual funds and ETFs so that you pay the least in management fees over the course of your investment.
How neat is that?
CNBC is one of the most accessible and wide-ranging market research services available.
One of CNBC’s most significant advantages is their extensive menu of free resources as well as their paid PRO service.
The CNBC app is very popular because it is a free download and provides market and general news updates in real-time.
Users can track a mock portfolio and set alerts for certain news updates.
They cover everything from personal finance to the futures trading markets and everything in between.
CNBC Pro is $299 per year, and it includes unbridled access to the CNBC business news stream as well as a host of other features. Subscribers will enjoy the live updates from the news stream, an exclusive curated daily email, and PRO market research not available to free members.
Whether you choose the free or paid option, CNBC is a great resource for anyone because they take complicated concepts and package them in an easily digestible format.
Traders who download the app will love the market updates, which include pre-market prices, opening bell activity, midday progress, and what the markets closed at.
9. Atom Finance
Atom Finance is a newcomer to the stock analysis block, and they have been blending the fun of social media with the power of a financial service.
Atom is free both to join and use, and setting up an account gives users access to many tools that other services charge for.
For example, you can link your portfolios across a variety of brokerage accounts, and Atom will create a chart that synthesizes all of the data into an easy to read display with charts, metrics, and news for each security represented.
Atom sends members a daily email with general market news and articles tailored to stocks they are following and are invested in.
Atom’s chat feature is where the social component comes into play. Unlike other stock chat services, Atom verifies whether you are a shareholder or not in the chat room so that other users can see that you have your money where your mouth is.
Another unique feature offered by Atom is the Hub section. Hubs are customizable baskets that allow users to create multiple testing environments where the portfolios do not cross over.
For example, you can create a hub called “Small-Cap Tech Stocks” and another called “Negative Beta Stocks.”
In the first hub, you can select as many small-cap tech stocks as you want, and watch how the portfolio performs in isolation.
In the second hub, you can try and compile a portfolio that reacts in the opposite direction of the market.
This Hub tool can be invaluable because it enables users to demo potential investment strategies in a safe test environment.
10. Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance offers everything entry-level stock research capabilities all the way to a robust investment research platform.
Many users will be familiar with the layout of Yahoo Finance because it is built off of the original Yahoo homepage.
The differences begin in the newsfeed, where there is a daily curation of business articles that are written in house or pulled from other investment publications.
When you visit the Yahoo Finance site, you can build a stock watchlist and link your portfolio to track its performance.
As far as quick reference resources go, Yahoo Finance delivers outstanding value in their free service.
Their premium service is called Yahoo Finance Premium, and it is $349 per year.
Premium subscribers receive access to many additional services, including:
- Daily trade recommendations based off of your interests
- Enhanced charting tools for technical traders
- CSV support for historical financial data
- Monthly webinars with interactive Q&A
- Live chat support
Based on the features they offer in the Premium service, it is clear that Yahoo Finance caters to investors and traders who enjoy working with large amounts of data, and the CSV download capability is a godsend for people who enjoy making their own models.
11. Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha is a crowdsourced financial market news and research site that offers free and paid resources for investors and traders.
The goal of Seeking Alpha is to unite individual investors in a centralized space where they can share their research and analysis with the rest of the investment community.
When you visit the Seeking Alpha homepage, you will see a dashboard with market tickers, trending stocks, and the top articles of the day.
Articles touch on topics like Forex, US Economy news, natural gas futures, top stocks, and much more.
Although many of the articles are sourced from community members, authors who post consistently and have a good reputation develop a strong following and provide unique insight.
If you make a free account, you can follow your favorite authors and stocks.
The Premium service from Seeking Alpha is $19.99 per month and provides members with access to quantitative tools like earnings downloads, premium investing recommendations, and a ratings screener for top stocks.
Since Seeking Alpha is community-driven, it is especially beneficial to investors who are looking for different market perspectives from a more local point of view.
Seeking Alpha also has a Pro service for high net worth individuals and professional traders. The service is $199 per month, and it offers access to a short ideas page that summarizes the top bearish positions on the site.
Pro members receive a host of other benefits such as no ads, access to an editorial concierge, and an investment screening service to analyze your portfolio and provide recommendations.
There are many stock recommendation tools and subscriptions available to investors thanks to the development of technology and the internet’s growth.
Since there are so many options, make sure you decide what type of service you are looking for, and then go from there, so you are not overwhelmed when making your decision.
*** SPECIAL ALERT -- Thursday, January 21, 2021 -- MOTLEY FOOL STOCK ADVISOR RECAP–2020 YEAR END SUMMARY (ONE STOCK HAS GONE UP BY 707%!) ****
The year 2020 is finally over. It was tough in so many obvious ways, but if you were a Motley Fool subscriber you are smiling given that 21 of the Motley Fool's 24 stock picks for the year are up; and the average return of those 24 picks is +78% compared to the SP500's 19% meaning you BEAT the market by 59% this year!
We have been tracking ALL of the Motley Fool stock picks since January 2016. That's 5 years, 60 months and over 120 stock picks. As of Thursday, December 31st, five of their 24 stocks picks from 2020 have already more than doubled (NVTA, ZM, SHOP, ZM (picked 2x), CRWD) and another one (TSLA) has increased 707%--all in just the first 11 months of 2020. In addition, 10 of their 2019, 12 of their 2018,11 of their 2016 and 15 of their 2016 picks have also more than doubled. Best of all, over these 5 years, the average stock pick is up 218%. That beats the SP500 by an average of 162%. And that's even accounting for all of this COVID mess that has wreaked havoc on most stocks. BUT, the Fool has done so well because they have quickly identified stocks this year that will perform well in the post-COVID world. THAT is how the Fool consistently does so well--they adapt and constantly pick stocks before everyone else realizes the opportunities.
- Lemonade (LMND) — Dec 2, 2020 pick is up 52%
- Pinterest (PINS) — Oct 1, 2020 pick is up 58%
- Fiverr Intl (FVRR) — Sept 3, 2020 pick is up 79%
- Crowdstrike (CRWD) — June 4 pick is already up 112%
- ServiceNow (NOW) — May 7 pick is already up 48%
- Shopify (SHOP) – April 2, 2020 pick and it is already up 238%
- Zoom Video (ZM) – March 19, 2020 pick and it is already up 228%
- DexCom (DXCM) picked Feb 20, 2020 right before the market crashed and it is still up 18%/li>
- Tesla (TSLA) picked January 2, 2020 before the crash and it is up 707%
- HubSpot (HUBS) picked December 5, 2019 and it is up 163%
- Netflix (NFLX) picked November 21, 2019 and it is up 71%
- Trade Desk (TTD) picked November 11, 2019 and up 393%
- Zoom Video originally picked Oct 3 and it is up 428%
- SolarEdge (SEDG) picked September 19, 2019 and it is up 251%
- Wix (WIX) picked May 2019 and it is up 99%
** If you had been a subscriber, then you would have these profits as of December 31st, 2020
Now, no one can guarantee that their next picks will be as strong, but our 5 years of experience has been super profitable. They also claim that since inception, their average pick is up 570% and now we believe them. Many analysts are saying that we have passed the bottom of this COVID crisis and "certain" stocks will recover quickly and be the new leaders. So make sure you have the right stocks in your portfolio.
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FYI -- Updated as of January 16, 2021 -- Thank goodness 2020 is over and we look forward to life returning back to normal in 2021. But the one GREAT thing about 2020 if you were a Motley Fool subscriber was 21 of their 24 2020 stock picks are up; and EIGHT (TSLA, NVTA, ZM, SHOP, ZM (re-recommended), CRWD, CRWD (re-recommended), and FVRR) have now at least DOUBLED! The average return of their 2020 stock picks is now +95% compared to the SP500's +19%. Their top performer was TESLA which is now up 860% since they recommended it in January 2020. In addition, their 2019 stock picks were awesome too and they are now up 121% beating the SP by 87%; and their 2018 picks are up 209% beating the SP by 165%. Now for 2021, with a new President and a COVID vaccine, most analysts expect the market to continue up, but make sure you have the right stocks!
In fact, over the last 5 years the average Fool stock pick has more than tripled (up 214%)! This time period covers the 2016 election, the Trump administration, the China trade negotiation, COVID, and now the Motley Fool is getting ready to release their stock picks for 2021 and the Biden administration. Don't miss out on the Motley Fool's next stock pick. Here is the schedule for their next TRADE ALERTS:
- January 21, 2021 - David's New 5 Best Stocks to Buys Now List
- January 28, 2021 - David's New Stock Recommendation
- February 4, 2021 - Tom's New Stock Recommendation
- February 11, 2021 - Tom's 5 New Best Stocks to Buy Now List